Sleep well all night. Wake up around 9:30. Don’t motivate. Chillaxing in bed for a while. OL wakes up in good mood.
We get dressed and go downstairs at 10:45. Thinking we can have breakfast maybe since the hotel guide says restaurant open all day. Nope. Only open til 9:30 for Bfast. Opens at 11 for lunch. Ugh.
So annoying that they didn’t tell us at checkin. Disgusted I go up to room to eat some Pocky. strawberry flavored Pocky. After 11, we head back downstairs. Restaurant has fixed meals. Price is nice. 30 yuan. Food is not. Mine is too salty with pork and cabbage. OL’s is eggplant that is tasteless.
Upside is the restaurant has wireless so we can check email and find Subway and McDonalds. These are very important activities for us. We decide to try walking to Bell Tower and Drum Tower. Looks walkable on our trusty map and are major sites.
We decide to cut down side street off of Jiefang Lu, Xi yi Lu. Lots of sights and scents. Reminds me of Old Beijing. Feels very real and not anesthetized. There’s a talking parrot that says, “Ni hao.” (Hello)
We see little shops and get water. Turn down wrong street, nan xin jie and stumble on Watsons store (small CVS without the pharmacy) and Taiwan bakery. Weird mall where the escalators don’t run to the next floor.
Double back to Xi yi Lu. Walk until hit Beida jie. Then follow it to Bell Tower. Using underpasses to get to it since it’s in the middle of a rotary. Weirdly all the escalators are shut down.
OL finds ticket booth, we get Drum and Bell tower double ticket for 40 yuan.
Bell tower is very cool. Worth checking out. Ornate ceilings. Nice view but for the serious smog situation.
Take underpass to Kaiyuan mall but nowhere to sit. God we hate Asian malls. No benches.
Wander to Haagan Dazs where 2 scoops is 9$ but you can sit in a plush chair with air conditioning.
I have green tea double scoop. OL sits with me.
Then we journey to drum tower. Get a couple souvenirs.
OL loves drum tower, I prefer bell tower. We see a long swath of trees and head into it after exiting the drum tower.
Get sidetracked into long mark
Go on 2 hour shopping spree. Intense. OL gets 3 sets of chopsticks. I get a couple tshirts and a name chop.
We have no idea where we are and we don’t care. It’s fun.
See a guy doing finger painting. Much cheaper than Shanghai temple purchase. OL loves these paintings. We each get two.
We did well on the bargaining situation. Not getting sucked into going higher than we wanted. However, the I can’t make a profit argument annoyed us. If you can’t, don’t sell it. That simple.
Finally we rein ourselves in and realize we are in Muslim quarter on Bei yuan men. Check out the food stalls and a restaurant but aren’t hungry yet.
So we wander back to hotel along da pi yuan. Came back to hotel and looked at booty.
Then went in search of restaurant for dinner. Hit Renren on the side street near hotel. Delish squared. OL had cashew chicken and I had sweet and sour chicken and egg drop soup with corn in it. Everything was fresh flavorful and delicious.
The waitresses were amazing. Went out of their way to make sure we got everything. Super helpful. Decided to leave a tip but they raced after us and refused to take it.
We got water and came back to room to rest.