Thursday, November 19, 2009

Beijing: Day Two

We woke up early on our second day in Beijing, bundling up to head out to the Great Wall (where it was a chilly 20-something degrees.) There are several stretches of the Wall outside of Beijing to choose from. We decided to go to one of the closest, Badaling, which is the most photographed section, and usually the most crowded. However, going in cold weather meant that fewer people were out. We took a public bus to get there, which took a little over an hour. Once there, we spent as much time as we could bear on the Wall, rushing to a noodle shop to warm up after hiking around for a while. It was incredible to see the Wall covered in snow (and ice!) and bathed in blue sky and sunlight. The Wall itself is steep and at some points, it was easier to slide down than to walk (look for pictures of Jeff doing that in the album.) It would have made for great sledding!
After heading back to our hotel to warm up, we headed out for a dinner of Peking Duck, Beijing's most famous dish, at the Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant, one of the most famous places to eat it. When ordering, you're given a choice between a whole or half duck - we opted for the half. The duck is then wheeled out to you and carved on the spot. The skin, which is crispy and sweet, is served first with sugar to dip it into. The meat is then served with "pancakes" (similar to warm spring roll wrappers), slices of cucumber and scallion, sugar, minced garlic, and a sweet sauce. To eat it, you roll the meat and goodies up in the pancake. Delicious!

From there, we headed to Wangfujing Snack Street, famous for its various street foods on a stick (including locust, starfish, scorpions, silk worms, etc.) Feeling full and not super adventurous, we stuck with banana-filled deep-fried beignets. To finish the night, we walked back through Tiananmen Square to see it all lit up. Another successful day!

Pictures here: