Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Playing Tourist


Let's see what has been going on in Old Peking...

A timeline is in order here.
Mom arrived last Saturday... I arranged transportation from PEK to the hotel...
I still had 2 days of tournament play to deal with, plus breakdown and shipping of my equipment, and packing and checking out of LongTou and checking in over at the other hotel...

So... Saturday... For me it was business as usual at the event, and Mom getting settled at the hotel and recovering from the flight.
On Sunday it was finals day...
Play started at 4:00pm, so I went over to Mom's hotel and we went to Panjiayuan, the Dirt Market to look at the goodies... We had a great time looking at all the doodads and crap on sale- then headed back to the hotel about 1:00pm.
I headed for the event, and got there about 1:30...
I did alot of pre-planning and packing, dressing cables to make breakdown easier, etc.

I won't bore you with the trials and tribulations of the event... Let's just say it was somewhat of a disappointment for fans and event organizers alike.

(You, you clever Internet traveler, can search out the details of this event if you choose to type in the appropriate search string on a search engine... Altavisa, Metacrawler, you know. One of those things. If that is too much of a burden for you, drop me a line and I'll send you a link. No doubt you'll need me to come over and move your mouse around and click on the link too...tsk.)

I finally departed the Beijing Tennis Center about 12:00 - midnight, that is...
The Courtside Kids were just getting out of the volunteers party...they gave me a rousing send-off as I hailed a taxi, they were just too cool.

I moved in over at the Days Hotel and Suites... Sightseeing is now the priority.

In the lobby of the restaurant at the hotel there are tanks of sealife- shrimp, lobsters, fish, sea scallops, and uh.. turtles... And a tank of seals, 3 spotted seals... They are very cute. But since they are among the tanks and containers that are used to store the fish & critters that are served in the restaurant, I'm afraid we'll come in and find one of them missing and a big wedding feast going on...and discover they weren't just ornamentation.
They are very funny- every time the fish guy goes to a tank to get a fish to take to the kitchen, they line up at the side of the tank looking for a handout.

So- We've hit the Silk Market- always a winner. Picked up some goodies for friends and neighbors. A nice lunch at a restaurant down an alley across from the Silk Market... We were able to order from a picture menu and had a great meal of soup dumplings and wonton soup.

We took it easy the rest of the afternoon after a horiffic cab ride back to Huawei...

Dinner was another story...
I have been trying to get a real Peking Duck dinner while I was here, and we finally got there on Monday night.
We went to Qianmen Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant. One of the premier roast duck restaurants in Beijing.
Qianmen (Front Gate) is the main drag that runs due south from Tian'anmen Square... It's 300 or 400m south of Qianmen Gate on the east side of the street.
We didn't have a reservation and the 20 or so people milling about the lobby of the restaurant didn't deter us- We took a number and waited. It was a relatively short wait- only about 5 minutes or so, then we were seated... I'm not sure if it was because it was natural turnover, or if it was because I was drooling and scratching at the glass window into the kitchen in the lobby. I prefer to think it was because they were afraid I would stage a frontal assault on the kitchen.


Peking Duck- If you don't know what is so special- let me give you the details:

First- the duck takes about 24 hours to prepare...
Marinated, specially roasted to keep the succulent juices inside, and the skin is red/brown and crispy.
The Chef carves the duck at your table and it is served up with a tableful of delicacies including pickled cucumbers, asparagus and mushrooms in oyster sauce, a sesame-encrusted duck goodie with shrimp wafers, and black tea.
The duck is sliced so it had a bit of the skin and some meat on each piece.

To enjoy- You take a little "pancake" - kind of like a small thin tortilla, dip a small piece of the meat/skin in the hoisin sauce, put in a couple slivers of shredded green onions, then wrap it all up like a little open-ended burrito.
Sink your teeth in and enjoy.

Oh. My. God.

A few years back the Perfect Child and I went to Hong Kong and had Peking Duck there... It was good- but this was amazing.

Let us just say that you have to try it to understand how good it is...

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