Beijing, China

Another BFG of a Chinese city. Actually no, it’s more of a Big Un-friendly Giant, traffic and manors wise.

The exception to this a nice little ‘Hutong’ street (medieval narrow alleyway). With posh cafes, funky boutiques, the old remains of 1950’s communist posters on the walls. Also home to the culinary highlight of China so far, my rah rah ingredient salad. Mozzeralla, rocket, balsamic vinager, avocados, artichockes. I paid about a million yuan for it but it made me happy. Believe me, it’s probably the only meal for a month that certain didn’t contain secret meat. China is not really veggie heaven. Here is what else I got up to in my 6 days here:

  • Yonganli Silk Market – Tourist trap hell. Screaming banshi girls flogging knock off Gucci and Vic Beckham jeans. These chicks are spoiling for a scrap, when you bargain to low they actually hiss, spit and launch themselves at you. I’ll buy my clothes in Thailand thanks.  Although I did hack it long enough to by some ace high top Converse All Stars for £10. I’m in love with them.
  • The Forbidden City (I wish it was). The city centre palace of many an 1400 century Emperor. It’s an symmetrical, dull, million acres of extravagance. I felt like I was in a dream where you open one identical door after another. Yes it’s scale is impressive, but it’s the same problem as Tianamen Square; it’s kind of hard to feel anything. China sites are vast, dispassionate, and as a result quite hard to photograph. You can’t get across the idea of scale, only ugliness/blandness. This is perversely kind of their appeal. You have to be there. Although in summer ideally, not in the Siberian winter temperatures I am enduring. Where are my beloved Llama jumpers when I need them? Oh yeah, reaching the final few weeks of their three month sea voyage from Melbourne to Doncaster. Hopefully.
  • The Summer Palace – yes in bleakest winter. Yet the frozen lake and stone statue of a ship with blue stained glass windows made it worthwhile. This is the Chinese version of New York’s Hamptons for the Ming dynasty, and I must say i’d live here too rather than the Forbidden City.
  • Scorpion Alley (Not it’s official name) but a street in Wangfujing which serves up scorpions, crickets, donkey penis, grubs, tarantulas, seahorses and a whole insect world of delights on deep fried sticks. Will (Gets constantly mistaken for being Chinese but is in fact English and talks in wide boy London accent) is the man of the match, and sets the bar high by gobbling a seahorse. Brian, Graham, Andi and I all nibble on the tiny legs of a scorpion, whilst talking it up for the cameras. We then all shortly come to our senses and head off to the all you can eat/drink buffet for $50 yuan (£5.00).
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An.an.tas.in : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

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