yesterday i decided to visit sights close by, i.e., walking distance from the hostel. i went to the Forbidden City, Jingshan park and Beihai park and that took the entire day. since everything is pretty far apart, so i must have walked around 15km easily! by the end i was dragging myself down the street and was really tired of being surrounded by people. see, Tokyo has a population of 30 million and it was really easy to handle. but Beijing has 10 million more people, and it makes a *huge* difference with everything.
i got to the hostel, thank god, and sat down, and didn’t want to move. people joined my table and in the end we were having this lively conversation about everything. it was great! then i had to go eat, and went to this cute and old restaurant down the street from here. eating alone in china is really a shame, because the portions are so big.. anyhow, i ordered the chili beef and it came covered with chili peppers, like I’ve never seen. the waiter decided to watch me eat because he didn’t think that i could eat it! i sure showed him. i ended up not eating alone though: 2 cockroaches (small ones) joined my table. it was OK when they were far away but one started to head for my plate, which wasn’t too cool. so i started gesturing at it but it wouldn’t move. i started hitting it with a napkin and it took many times before it slowly walked away. i guess roaches here just don’t care about people.
then it was back to the hostel, where the conversation was still going on strong. we decided to go out to a club, so we grabbed a cab and ended up at a fancy club that was playing bad techno. everything was expensive but it was an experience. back at the hostel at 3am, we decided to go eat and found a dumpling place down the street that was willing to cook, so we sat outside in the street and ate yummy food until 4am.
today I’m going to the Temple of Heaven (“walking distance”) with a nice guy from France i met yesterday. should be great! and then, it’s one more duck dinner. because, why not!