I left Raleigh Durham International at 7 am on Friday, May 13th, and landed in Beijing, China at 4:30 pm May 14th. Slept for most of the trip. Taxi to Amanda’s apartment, another nap. 8pm dinner, 10 courses of traditional chinese food. Duck liver, salad, beef, vegetable pastries, barbeque duck, rice and shrimp, mushroom soup, some type of cherry/sesame flavored desert, sweet and sour fish, roast pork – lots of food. Then out, met some cool British folk, hung out with Emily and Tom for the most part, fun people, drank drinks, including baijiu – I’ve had bad experiences with baijiu before but this went ok. Bar was a converted buddhist temple, from there we went to Bed, a very fashionable establishment located in one of the neighborhoods organized along alleyways, they have a specific name but I can’t remember at the moment. On the way from the temple to Bed we managed to stop and get more food and beer. Barbequed mushrooms and Kung Pao chicken. The Kungpao chicken was incredible, as were the mushrooms. Stayed at Bed briefly then back to the apartment.
Today went to the Silver Mountain and the Pagoda forest. About an hour and half north of Beijing. Strenuous hike up, a couple thousand feet of elevation in a little over 2 miles. Gorgeous, ancient trellised and terraced hillsides, continuous walnut and chestnut farms for four centuries or so. The hills echo history, its a tangible sensation. Ravens and crows battling. Stone stele with vivid mandarin script dating back some 800 years – or, if you’re inclined towards comparative melodrama, roughly 3 times longer than the land of my birth has been a unified country.
Traffic in Beijing does not play, it makes other, less grown-up traffic nightmares found in LA or the Northeast Corridor look like desolate, lonely freeways. Now I’m just chilling, day drinking Taiwan Beer beers.