Next week (1st week of October) is the National Holiday. Everyone (supposedly) has next week off. What I don’t understand is if everyone has that time off, who is going to drive taxis? Subways? Restaurants? I guess they don’t mean everyone. But, I have heard that the city is going to be full of tourists and be CRAZY BUSY.
Then again, I’ve heard of so many people saying they were leaving and getting out of the city for the holiday. So how is it going to be crazy busy if the locals leave, and the tourists arrive? Does that not balance each other out? As a newcomer, I’m looking forward to seeing what this National Holiday Week is all about.
With that all being said, our friends Alexis, Pete, & daughter Lauren (14) are arriving from Seattle on Sunday Oct. 2 (just in time for National Holiday). Monique (13) is thrilled to have Lauren come and see where we are living now and what crazy things we do here. I’m excited because I now have even more opportunity to see parts of Beijing that I have yet to see. Thus far I’ve booked some tours, art class and cooking classes and a food market tour. I’m also looking forward to going out for karaoke along with lots of other fun stuff to do, see, and eat (See my extensive list below).
During the past few weeks while I’ve been out and about I’ve been trying to look at Beijing as a “newbie” again but the "WOW" factor is not as vibrant as it was back in March – I don’t notice the smells walking down my back alleyway and the piles of dirt that are being sifted through a screen with a shovel do not seem as out-of-place.
I also find it weird that even though my family and I have only been here for seven months, the "strangeness" of things – i.e. people’s actions and mannerisms – don’t seem as "strange" or leave me “awestruck" as they once did. I still have lots of places to go and visit and experience, but I’ve found that the local people (as of right now) are becoming more “normal” to me. In a way I feel sad that I’m becoming numb to the daily grind, but in other ways, it’s really exciting.
Perhaps the fact that the smells emanating from restaurants or the sight of a small child’s backside hanging out of his split pants does not automatically make me reach for a camera means I’m learning to survive and embrace a totally different culture. I’m amazed at my own cultural growth as well as my family’s since our arrival this past February, and although I still have a long way to go until I feel completely “comfortable” I’m simply excited to show my friends from the States how amazing Beijing really is.
List of some of the sites and flavors to been seen and tasted over the October holiday week (in no particular order):
Mutianyu Great Wall – Also, check out the Schoolhouse at Mutianyu. Read about a family’s experience there.
Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant for Peking duck
Panjiayuan Market (aka Dirt Market)
Boating & eating Chuan er on Houhai
Sanlitun Village & Nali Patio
A pedicab tour of hutongs near Tian’anmen Square and the Forbidden City
Fundazzle play center (of course)
Lao She Teahouse has tea, snacks and history! Its has been recommended to me by local friends.
Baguobuyi Restaurant serves Sichuan food. There is also a mask-changing show.
Wanda Plaza’s Wal-Mart
The “river market” on Xidanwang Lu. From the Dawanglu subway stop southeast corner, walk south and over the canal and you will see street food vendors and a mass of “traffic” that is amazingly China!
A night out of KTV (aka karaoke). Going to try Melody or Party City, which look the most family-friendly! Party City has many locations, but one is: 1/F, Fanli Dasha (near Chaoyangmen), 22 Chaowai Dajie, Chaoyang District (6588 3333) 朝阳区朝外大街22号泛利大厦1楼(近朝阳门)
The morning market, aka the long building in the long park under/next to the Airport Expressway just north of MOMA in Dongzhimen and northwest of Oakwood Compounds.I’ve been told to go early, as they pack up everything at noon!
A cooking class at The Hutong
Tuanjiehu Park and the surrounding neighborhood
Haidilao for delicious hot pot. There is always a long waiting list to get a table, but they give free manicures, free snacks and fruit – while you wait. Also, the Haidilao off of Sanlitun Nanlu has a children’s play room.
Fangjia and Wudaoying Hutong. Also, for Wudaoying Hutong, I’ve been told to try the food at Vineyard Cafeand The Veggie Table. Also, to check out the store Brand Nu.
Jin Ding Xuan Restaurant (by the southeastgate of Ditan Park)