Friday, September 19, 2008

Beijing Trip - Beijing Day 7 (part 2) & 8

This is my final morning in Beijing. I am heading off to the airport in about 40 minutes for my 11:30am flight to Chengdu. It's been a hectic week in Beijing, living with 9 strangers in a two bedroom apartment. Other than the crazy "showlet" (shower + toilet) bathroom (I never got the chance to buy a shower curtain) and my sore ankle, it's been great.

Last night was our farewell dinner with the DreamArts team. We went to a hot pot place where you share one pot in the middle of the table instead of having your own mini-pot. I usually get sick afterward so I didn't eat too much, especially from the spicy half of the pot. The highlight of the evening was the hand-tossed noodle demonstration where they toss and stretch some dough into noodles to be cooked in your hot pot. After the restaurant guy did it, Brian wanted to try and it was pretty hilarious. I'll upload the video later.

Plaza where the hot pot restaurant was located. It's not as Irvine-like as the other place we visited but it still had some western stores. The hot pot restaurant was huge; it took up the entire 4th floor on the right side.

We were originally going to eat here, at the Love Feast. Not sure what type of food they serve.

Noodle tossing

More noodle tossing. It turned out the guy wasn't even the regular noodle tosser. The restaurant was really busy and one of the managers had to substitute.

Brian and the temporary noodle tosser

Brian rolled his noodles into a ball and we tossed it in the pot. It never cooked all the way through. After reviewing the video, we also saw that it touched the ground. I hope we got rid of that piece before cooking... :(

Team picture with DreamArts staff after dinner

As we were walking home, two of the DreamArt staff (Sarah and Elim), came with us on Sarah's bike; Elim had her bike stolen this morning. Most of us haven't ridden a bike in China so a few people were taking turns playing with it. It had a "seat" above the rear wheel so people were riding double as well.

Steve and Brian on the bike

As with a lot of things in China, the bike wasn't very well constructed. As Brian was riding the bike, another team member tried jumping on the back seat and totally crushed the rear wheel. I've ridden a lot of bikes and the rear wheel should not have bent like that. As I type, Sarah's bike is here in the guesthouse apartment; we're going to take it to get fixed this morning, hopefully replacing the rear wheel with a stronger rim.

We saw this on the way back from dinner. Not even sure what happened since it looked like the Audi in the photo hit another car parked along the median. Maybe a bit of drinking was involved.

Instead of going to KTV as originally planned, we went back to the guesthouse after dinner to debrief and talk about our experience this week in Beijing. For everyone, it was a very positive experience. Since most of the team is young, i.e., under 30 years old, many were still not set on a career path and considering what this trip meant to their future plans.

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