Monday, January 5, 2015

Beijing - Day 1 continued...

After our tour of Tianamen Square and the Forbidden City, we were taken on a rickshaw ride through Old Beijing. 

This was one of my favorite things we did in Beijing! It was so interesting. I imagined there to be pagodas, lanterns, and colors. Instead it was gray one story homes connected together. There were people sitting outside in narrow alleys, dogs and cat roaming the streets, laundry hanging from wall to wall, and bicycles everywhere! 

We were taken to one of the houses, where a local family prepared a dinner for us. 

The food was amazing! They brought dish after dish of savory meats, stir-fried vegetables and rice. We sat and enjoyed the food and the company of our travel group. It was such a nice time away from the crowds of Beijing and getting a taste (figuratively and literally) of real China!

After our tours, Byron and I decided to check out the streets of Beijing. Next to our hotel was this beautiful cathedral.

Byron saw the cathedral when he came in 2005 and has a picture in front of it - so we replicated it while we were there this time!

The cathedral was amazing at night, too! Like a light on a lamp stand!

We passed by the cathedral and went down to the famous "Snack Street"!

There were things on snack street that I can't believe anyone would want to eat. I mean, who would want to eat scorpions  - really, how much meat is in those? 

Or centipedes, tarantulas, and take a look at the fried snake on a stick in the upper left corner...

There were kids eating starfish. 

Or - you could choose a whole raw frog and wait while they fried it for you...

Shark and sea urchins, too. Yum! (Not.)

 Oh - and the smell of snack street! Wow! It reminds me of menudo gone sour. Really - China had some weird smells...mostly it smelled of urine and BO. I don't think I could ever get used to the smell  - but after awhile I could tell where I was according to the smell. Right outside our hotel had a very peculiar urine/nicotine smell. I knew we were almost "home" when I smelled it! LOL!

So....we decided not to get anything to eat on Snack Street. Instead we went to the mall across the street and had some Chinese Dumplings. They were very good. 

While in the mall we saw these shirts...

Who knew you could get a Fort Worth, TX t-shirt in Beijing, China!?!

Beijing was really something to see at night with all of the buildings and stores lit up. 

This is our hotel: The Sun World Dynasty.

Inside was beautiful!

Next up - our visit of the Great Wall and a Jade Factory!!

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