DAY FOUR (Free Day)
We started our last day in Beijing with a bit of a sleep in (always great on vacation) and then we asked our hotel to get us a few taxis. We hopped in and headed out to the CCTV tower. This was potentially not the best choice for the day as it was the ONE cloudy day we had the whole time but it was fun to look out as far as the eye could see (not far) and gaze down at the wedding below with a really cool tent that sorta looked like a flower. Also being up there allowed us to espy the park across the street so we took off in that direction when we finished acting like news anchors and weather people.
In the park we decided the best use of our time would be to rent an battery powered boat (a nice follow up to our battery powered car ride). We spent our time trying to get as close to things we weren't supposed to and trying to position the boat for a perfect background.
Next we hopped cabs over to the Lama temple. (one L, not two). It was gorgeous. Favorite parts? Gazing at the three story buddha carved from ONE tree while listening to the the monks chanting drift in with the breeze. wow. Beautiful.
After this we decided we wanted to wander back into Old Town so we found this really cutsey cafe on a side street. Dutifully occupied the two chairs oustide and drank a lunch of beer while reading the English Newspaper and trying to ignore the seven old men staring and talking about us.
After finding the fun Art Section with every other closet sized store selling some homemade art/food/clothes we made our way back to Hotel area.
Hotel and Birthday Party
We had a fun shopping district near our hotel so we wandered there for a bit for a few end of the night beers before finding a restaurant near out hotel for dinner. This was a great find! There happened to be a birthday party happening and one for them 8 young men "LOVES foreigners!" and convinced the restaurant owner to go out and buy us noodles because they didn't have any in the restaurant. Then he ordered us cold beef (delicious) some amazing chicken dish and some fried dumplings. Finally they gave us two beers, shared their cake and left us with more food than we could possibly manage between the two of us. It was a pretty awesome end to a great trip!
Exciting things about Beijing:
Chopsticks: Chopsticks are larger-both in length and width. The end doesn't really taper to small. I found I was not so proficient at chopsticks in Beijing.
Bikes: In Beijing, they have bike lanes on all the major roads, and we're not talking tiny little bike lanes where you're afraid of passing someone. We're talking like a full lane of traffic full of bikes. And it is FULL of bikes. People of all ages, clothing styles and bike maintenance.
Traffic Management: There's lots of cars in Beijing as you can imagine so in an effort to limit cars on the road they have certain days when different cars can't drive. It's organized by the last digit (or maybe the first) of your license plate. For example, on Mondays 1 and 9 can't drive, on Tuesdays 2 and 8. and so on. However, our tour guide pointed out that most people get around this by owning two cars.
Subway: Which we unfortunately managed never to ride-only costs 2 yuan. Pennies.