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Scrubs in Beijing Fourth year medical student from Houston, traveling to Beijing to study Chinese medicine and Chinese beer

Sunday at Silk Street Market

CHINA | Sunday, 6 April 2008 | Views [1167]

Sunday morning started out slow, which I like. I went to breakfast at the same old restaurant, then home to work on photos. Then, I went with a group to Liulichang Street, an arts & crafts/antiques area. It is basically a hutong, one of the old alleyways of Beijing which are being torn down en masse to modernize the city, partly for the Olympics and partly as a grand scheme to make the city new and shiny. The hutongs are fascinating places where people can live their whole lives; the alleys are narrow and most won't admit cars, though Liulichang had the occasional driver honking loudly and trying hard to plow through the flocks of people.

We went to an art store, where I purchased two beautiful silk paintings (plum blossoms and birds), then a tea shop where I got jasmine tea to give as gifts. We passed booths where we could get words written in Chinese characters, chopsticks, "antiques", and other cheap tourist junk. Then, we walked a few blocks to try out the Beijing Subway.

The subway was fairly clean. Even on a Sunday afternoon, it was packed with people. There are little hand grips hanging from the bars for persons of shorter stature (like myself) to hang onto. We caught one train, switched to another, and ended up at the stop for Silk Street.

Another meal at McDonald's (a Big Mac this time--I'm not really counting calories here), and then into the gigantic market. Similar to Hongxiao Pearl Market, it is 5 stories tall, with thousands of little booths hawking their wares. "Lady, please, cashmere?" "Lady, look in my shop." "Lady, you want Gucci Prada?" "Pretty lady, you want jacket? Dolce Gabbana, I give you cheap price." It was a dizzying array, but fortunately I was with girls who were tough bargainers. I came out with a pair of "Seven" jeans, a pair of "Puma" walking maryjanes, a "Coach" purse, and a short red trench coat of which I am especially proud.

We spent too much time there, so we were pressed to catch our cab home, dash upstairs to put away our merchandise, and hurry to the Tourist Restaurant, where we ate yet the same old thing. The food here at this restaurant is saturated in oil, largely peanut oil. We have had a very hard time convincing them that we like vegetables at all, let alone ones that aren't drowning in oil. Fortunately, with a little Yan Jing beer (4 RMB for a large bottle; each table usually buys 4 at a time), it's easier to eat the food, but I'm starting to totally lose my appetite for this.

Not much to do on a Sunday night but get ready for Monday morning.

Tags: first week, shopping, silk street

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