Beijing and more friends
Day 123: Country #15
My friend’s feet were hurting from a blister due to walking around all yesterday so we decided to take it a little easy. We got on the subway and headed north toward Olympic Park, but got off at an earlier stop so we could see a few more sights.
I wanted to visit the China Science and Technology Museum, but it was closed for reconstruction, so we continued on to the China Ethnic Culture Park, but it didn’t look that interesting. Along the way, I caught eye of a mall labeled “Chinatown,” and found it extremely amusing that Beijing would have it’s own Chinatown!
This older style mall felt a lot different than the big modern malls I saw on the first day near Wangfuijing, and my friend pointed out some interesting features that I didn’t notice before like the scalding hot water machines, which are commonplace like water fountains (bubblers) in the west..
Next, we made it to the Beijing Olympic Park and explored the facilities, including the National Aquatic Center, which converted the pools into an indoor water park, packed with people.
As we walked through and took breaks in the few shady areas of the park, her friend replied to confirm dinner plans at his university, so we headed to the East Gate of Peking University to meet him.
He suggested a tour by bicycle, so my friend checked one out for me. Apparently, tourists try to sneak in so entrance security was high, but we got in easily as guests. I followed along as he biked through the campus. We stopped to walk around a beautiful pond and see historic buildings.
He then took us to dinner at a fancy restaurant on campus where we had some amazing dishes. He definitely went overboard with his hospitality, but it was delicious. Afterwards, we finished with another bike ride through a different part of the university.
As it got dark, we said goodbye to her friend, but since we were so close by the Summer Palace, I wanted to take a look, and hoped for a small chance it would still be open. It wasn’t, so with my friend’s feet starting to hurt, we made our way back to Qianmen.
Invest in a good pair of running shoes before a long trip. They tend to be lighter weight and breathable which will keep your feet dry and healthy. Also, they have more cushioning than walking shoes, so if you’re on your feet a lot while traveling, you’ll appreciate the extra padding. Most running shoes are designed to last up to 500 miles (800 km), or roughly 6 months.