|Entrance to the Forbidden City|
Across the road from the exit was Jing Shan park, which has a happy story of an emperor hanging himself in it! The hill in the park was actually constructed from the soil excavated during the making of the moat around the City. While walking up to the top Jen attracted the attention of a large group of photographer with telephoto lenses trying to discretely take her photo. The tower at the top of the park contained a large Buddhist shrine and offered great views back over the Forbidden City. The park also offered a better second toilet experience than that in the City.
|The Forbidden City from Jing Shan Park|
|Mao's mausoleum in Tianamen Square|
We walked down Qianmen street and went for a pot (well many refills of a pot) of tea at Haos Tea House. We'd not eaten since breakfast, so also had an ice cream from the Hagen Das across the street. After passing a shop for London Olympic merchandise (presumably a reassignment of a previous Beijing Olympic shop) we found a physics-themed footbridge at the bottom of the street. Around this area our guide book had said there were Hutongs (the narrow alleys and courtyards where people would traditionally live) that you could walk round, so we attempted to find them. But, they seemed to have all been flattened for new buildings (we did find some others over the next few days), so we just walked back to our hotel.
We booked dinner at the Pure Lotus vegetarian restaurant, which required us to take our first subway journey. We had to use two different lines, but it was very simple and cheap (20 yuan each). The map we'd brought with us didn't quite extend to the restaurant location (and we hadn't even noted down the address!), so we had to wander around slightly randomly for 30 mins before we found it. It was a rather fancy place with a huge wooden door at the entrance. The food was all served in very elaborate dishes and it looked rather impressive. There was a huge wooden menu that was very confusing. This confusion meant we ordered far too much including a chilli and fake "chicken" thing served in a huge banana-shaped dish (which we didn't really ask for, but just got told about and accidentally brought). But it was all very nice albeit very spicy (given the large amount of chilli). At the end we got complementary fruit served in dry ice!
After dinner we went to find bar we had found on the beijinger website, called Q bar, which was supposed to be good for ex-pats. After a 20 min walk we found the bar, which was above a slightly dodgy looking hotel - it was packed, but a bit odd and we couldn't get drink! We left with the feeling that we'd stumbled across a special singles, or swingers, night!?
It was now too late to get the underground home, so we tried hailing a taxi. Eventually one did stop for us. We had a card from our hotel with its address in Chinese script, but the driver had very thick glasses and didn't seem to be able to read it. The driver did seem to have understood the card though and got us back to the hotel for a fee of about £2.40.