Suitcase and World: A final farewell.

Monday, July 6, 2009

A final farewell.

fter my hutong cooking class, I headed back to the hotel to rest a bit and shower. 7pm, I met Bernd and Mairead in the lobby. Both of them had decided to stay an extra day so we all agreed to meet up for dinner for one last time. Bernd had mentioned going for Indian food and that was just up my alley....a much welcomed change after 3 weeks of Chinese food.

In the hotel lobby, we checked out the restaurant call cards that were on display at the reception desk and lo and behold, there was one for an Indian restaurant.

According to the map on the card, we had to needed to take the subway so we hit the street and walked to the Wangfujing subway stop. We bought out tickets and boarded a train for the 3 stop ride to Yongali which happens to be the stop for the Silk Market....I noted that down as a visit to the market was on my to-do list.

Bernd had been to the area around the Silk Market just earlier that day so he led us to the street we needed to be on. Maps in Beijing are very deceptive as they make distances look a lot shorter than your legs will tell you they actually are. On the restaurant call card, it looked like we only had to walk a couple of blocks and so every few minutes, we kept thinking the restaurant was just steps away.

Half hour later and we still didn’t see anything that looked like the restaurant we were looking for. Then, we came to a large shopping mall and the street address of the mall matched that of the restaurant so we figured the restaurant was inside the mall. We stopped and asked for directions and were told the restaurant was in the basement level so onto the down escalator we went.

As we got off, the restaurant was right in front of us. We were seated a table dressed with real linens. What a treat! For a change, I ordered tandoori fish for my meal. Taste wise, the fish was wonderful. Unfortunately, the filets were chock full of teeny bones and so I spent a lot of time and effort just trying to get to the meat. I lost my patience before I finished eating. Oh well. Luckily, I had had the huge lunch.

After dinner, we looked for a place to have some ice cream. I was craving something cold and creamy to counter the hot, steamy Beijing weather. On our search for an ice cream place, we passed under the ceiling that overhangs the outdoor part of the mall. Looking up, we could see a set of GIANT display screens on which all sorts of images were being shown. It was quite something to look up and see what must have been well over 100 continuous feet of jumbotron style screens, all connected and all running portions of the same ad.

Sadly, we came up empty handed in our search for ice cream so we decided to retrace our steps back to the hotel.

In the lobby, I hugged Bernd and Mairead goodbye and wished them well on their journeys. It was a bittersweet goodbye as I had grown fond of all my tour mates on this trip. Luckily, I would get to stay in touch with a few of them. It had been a long day and I was tired. A quick shower and straight to bed. Tomorrow would be another busy sightseeing day.