Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Day 2 - Beijing - Peking Duck and Welcome Reception

I'm really going to try to make these recaps as entertaining as possible.  There are so many crazy stories and interesting parts, that it shouldn't be too tough.

This is the view from our room the morning after we checked in.  

We started our day with breakfast in the hotel.  Kevin's company was so kind to comp this for us even though we came in a day earlier than everyone else.  Basically the quick version of that story is that we were flying American no matter what and the only way to get there in time for the welcome reception was to go the day before.  I had to fly American because of my status and this gal wasn't flying some random airline to Asia for a 14 hour ride each way with some terrible seats.  Hey, if you flew every week, you'd feel the same way.

So this was breakfast....welcome to CHINA!   

Beneath the hotel was a fancy schmancy mall.  Check out these fresh flowers.  We walked that while we waited for our friends Benjy and Sarah.

And there was also an ice rink below the hotel.

Finally, the four of us started our trek around Beijing.  Think about how you would get around a city where no one spoke a lick of English.  Like how do you tell a taxi where you want to go?  How do you go on mass transit when you can't read Mandarin?  Well, it's hard.  But you also get the concierge to give you a business card of the hotel where you are staying (spelled in Mandarin) and also the back of it says "Please take me to..." and then has a list of places...all of this in their language.  So that's what we did.

First stop, the Silk Market.  They didn't only sell silk here.  This was 5 stories of junk.  I bought a pearl necklace and Kevin got a couple of cheapo things.  

They also did massages and I can't believe their menu was written in English.

See how the shops just line the halls.  Kevin clearly was stoked about his Optic shop.

Then we hailed a cabbie and showed him the card of where we wanted to go - the best Peking Duck restaurant in the world.  

Getting there was a bit tough for Mr. Cabbie so we walked about 2 miles.  But we didn't have a map in English so we stopped about every 100 yards and showed someone the card and they pointed in the general direction of where to walk.  It was interesting to say the least.

But we got there!

And the VIP room had a 15% service charge versus the commoners room was 10%.  Where do you think we chose?  VIP by all means!

The waitress poured the beer into wine glasses.  You should have seen Benjy ask the woman if we could just drink it straight from the bottle.  I bet they were making such fun of us crazy Americans.

We also got this chicken dish.

She was kind to show us how to use chop sticks.  I got taught by the dude sitting next to me on the plane ride over.  Laughter is universal!

The chef brought out the duck and carved it right there!

Look at that head on the right of the tray!

He served us duck skin first.  It was good.  Kevin refused to try it.

He did have the actual duck though and this is how they served it.  SO good.

Our first Chinese lunch.

This is the entrance to the duck place.  I'm still not clear on what the name of the place was.  But see the line in the bottom left corner of the picture?  People line up to get a duck to carry out.  Oh my...

Then we walked the streets.  It's all the same junk.

Benjy is not right.

Benjy and Sarah are more adventurous than we are.  Kevin and I would have paid the $4 USD to get a cab back to the hotel.  They wanted to ride the Subway.  Hey, at $0.20/person USD, we didn't want to break the bank.  But we did it anyway.

That was interesting...trying to figure out what station was closest to our hotel.  I harassed the subway attendant for about 5 minutes to make sure she knew what I was asking.  I did a lot of pointing and holding my hands up like I was asking a question.  It had to be a scene.

But we made it back.  Sarah, barely.  Her ticket wouldn't work for her to get out of that place.

Baskin Robbins...in Beijing.  Sure.

Our hotel was a familiar site!

We got ready for the welcome reception that evening.  They had transformed the hotel ballroom entrance to be like the streets of Beijing.  It was all too real!

Fancy food.  Fancy entertainment.  No detail missed. 

This calligrapher would write anything you wanted.  We got one for each of our sets of parents and Kevin went up there again and I wasn't sure why.  He came back with one that said "Happy First Anniversary."  He said this is paper and you kept telling me that our first anniversary was paper.  So cute...I loved the thought!

Kim and Bryan.  PS - I love how Blogger won't turn these pictures correctly.

Kev and I.

They let us dress up!

My old last name, our last name and happy first anniversary!

It was the perfect welcome party to get the two weeks started!


  1. What a fun and busy day! I'm surprised that things are not written in English though/ people don't speak it. Maybe I'm being a stubborn American, but I just assumed they'd speak it over there. At least the hotel had that little card! ha

  2. That food, wow! I think your names on the paper are a great little Souvenir.

  3. Looks like a blast! No detail spared, for sure!

  4. "Laughter is universal" -- truer words were never spoken!!!

    I also had a big AWW moment when he got you the paper since 1st Anniv. is paper :) What a sweet husband!

  5. HOLY MOLY! I would have starved and lost weight over there!

  6. Aww so sweet of him about the paper anniversary! Love the last picture! So neat!

  7. I am loving this recap! food looks delish, I love Asian food and am pretty adventurous about trying anything! However, I've never been a place where there was so little English communication (or communication of at least some language whose alphabet I understand!). Pretty crazy!

  8. The food looks amazing! I can't believe Kevin didn't try the duck. But, I will pretty much eat anything! Looks soooo good. Such an amazing experience. Imagine if you had gone on a budget :)

  9. What a fun first day!!! I've only done Europe I can't imagine not even recognizing the letters. Must be so much tougher. Its a fun experience on the subway hopefully and what an incredible price!!! Can't wait to read more!!! And seeing others comments too - yes I'm surprised english isn't more common!

  10. Wow, what a trip!! Can't wait to hear about the rest of it! Isn't Asia wild?! So different than the US and Europe!!