Travel Diary: An American in China, 8

July 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

Holaaaa,

I am in my happy place right now- all snuggled up with the baby in a blanket and waiting for the cousins to come and take me to lunch. I don’t think it’s hit me that it’s my last day here. I haven’t even started packing yet! That’ll be a joy… not! So, I’m putting up a quick lil post before I go on a great adventuuuure…

Quite honestly, I have three favorite cities in China: Beijing, Hangzhou, and Hong Kong. I have a soft spot for Beijing because of all the history and culture. One of my favorite places in the world is the Forbidden City. I can literally spend a whole day in that maze of a place. I tend to skip the main attractions, because they’ve been renovated for tourist purposes (it’s all shiny and museum lookin’ way up there). I go way into the back, by the Imperial Gardens and maybe even further, where everything looks all fragile and lived in. I can almost feel all the history there. It’s quite the experience and I recommend everyone make a visit there once in their lifetime!

So, anyways, my sister’s staying in Beijing for two months and my momma and I went to help her settle in. We skipped the Forbidden City and the Great Wall and all that jazz since we’ve been there so many times before.

Okay, so I just have to say- I LOOOOVE hotels. Like, I really, really love staying in hotels. Even if I stay at one for a night, I think of it as a temporary home. I’ve stayed at a ton of awesome, beautiful hotels with my family, but this one… was top-notch. My absolute favorite up to date. The St. Regis Beijing… what’s up. Due to my seestah’s Platinum status, we were upgraded to a Statesman’s Suite and this is what greeted us:

How sweet (literally)! I had those three little cakes in my tummy before I even sat down, I’m that good.

There’s Miss Platinum herself. Here’s a before shot of the bed:

Annnnddd, 10 minutes later:

I may or may not have holed up in those blankets and watched Land of the Lost and Wolverine the whole trip. Heeha.

For one of our dinners, we headed to the big mall (descriptive, I know) at Wangfujing and went to the basement food court, where we decided on a tiny little Korean restaurant. How cute’s the cup?

This deliciousness is a chicken and curry rice with veggies. You know me- I’m all about the details, so I was definitely so excited that it was served in a sizzling stone pot.

This is what it looks like, all mixed up. I think it may have been one of the most colorful dishes I’ve eaten on this journey. The only way to describe it would be using the words fresh, crunchy, texture-y, and semi-spicy in some context, but I’m hardly eloquent so you can piece it together on your own šŸ˜›

For dessert, we tossed down some of this. It’s yoghurt, but drinkable! This particular brand is something of a specialty in Beijing. You see them everrryyyywhere, but in no other city! It’s definitely tart, but tempered with sugar, so it’s pretty perfect. My momma loves these things. She drank em on business trips way back in the day, so she’s always searching for one to bring back memories.

Then we headed over to a whole street of street food, where we found scorpions and seahorses and…

Can you guess what all this stuff is? Among them are: cockroaches, worms, rats, tarantulas, and other creepy-crawlies. I’m a chicken and wouldn’t even stand near this business, but tons of people were crunchin’ about on this and calling it delicious, so who knows?

Sorry for the blurry pic, but this just cracked me up. We went to the Tianyi Market with my mom’s friend and it’s ginormous. Floors and floors of STUFF! I was set on bringing Dobby home, but when the madre says no, the madre says no.

Here are pretty flowers that my butler left me at the hotel. In return, when we checked out, I left an autographed note saying ‘this is for when I become famous.’ My sister found that pretty amusing?

The view from my sister’s apartment. Pretty, no?

Ha, so um, milk here is served in little pouches. I’m a sucker for the chocolate milk in China. I’ve been pretty mild about it this run, but most years, I drink like three pouches a day. Sluuuuurp šŸ˜€

Another grocery store favorite I always pick up is congee-in-a-can. It’s probably majorly unhealthy, but… what can I say? I surrender to the things that pleasure my belly.

One thing I’ve realized on this particular trip is that I’m obsessed with drinks! I’ve been stuffing myself with liquid items and all the weight I’ve gained is probably due to water weight. The majority’s been milk tea, but I’m also partially overdosing on Coca Cola, smoothies, and the drink you see above. It’s basically really sugary iced tea, but it’s been my go-to bottle drink in China for years. Once again, it’s probably unhealthy as heck, but who gives?

This is the phenomenon known as Beard Papa’s Cream Puffs. I first heard about it a few years ago through food blogs. It was hugely popular in Japan and then went wildfire busy in Hawaii. My first experience with Beard Papa’s was in a Hong Kong subway station. I know I say this a lot about food in China, but this is to die for. The crust is super flaky and thin and the middle is all cream. It’s COLD and creamy and vanilla-y and just really good. You can find these in a lot of mall areas around China. I’ve seen them randomly around. Just a recommendation though- if you ever see one anywhere, ask for an Original Puff. You won’t regret it.

If you aren’t drooling yet, there is something seriously wrong with you.

Anyways, my time in China (for this year) is over and done with. My first flight (to Beijing) is at noon tomorrow and you know what? I haven’t even started to pack yet. So, um, I’m off to cram pack and stock up on some zzzzzz’s.

See you back on American soil!

C

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