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香山 and guten deutschen Essen

Beijing Travel Blog

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Linguistically confused?  Welcome to my life.  And add a dash of Spanish to the mix... I've really got language problems.  But that's okay.  Today I got up early on my day off to go out to 香山 (pinyin: Xiāngshān, English: Fragrant Hills).  In Chinese, is the character for mountain, so whoever came up with hills got something wrong.  Or at least I think so since I think there's a difference between a hill and a mountain.

  *shrugs* That could just be me.  Anyway, I was supposed to meet Catherine (a student, and the woman who was driving) at the footbridge near SiHui metro station at 10am.  I got there around 9:50 to find the area devoid of footbridges.  At almost 10, I texted her such.  And after phone calls and 15 minutes, we found each other.  I thought it odd that were we heading East (this is important later), but said nothing.  I figured she knew where she was going.  So we drove, and talked, and had a pleasant ride.   Then I saw a sign for BeiYuan, which I thought was in the northern part of the city, but shrugged it off, figuring I got it wrong.  Then she points out a sign that says SUMMER PALACE and XIANGSHAN.  And they were only a few kilometers apart.  I was really confused.  I knew the Summer Palace was in Haidian (a district of Beijing in the western part).
Catherine
  When did we turn north???  And more importantly, when did we turn WEST?????  Yup, now you know why I don't depend of my sense of direction.  In that area, I'm senseless (no comments from the peanut gallery).

We got to the park just fine, she found a parking space easily enough and we made our way to the gate.  We passed a lot of little shops, and I noted to myself the lack of laowai, but didn't think much of it.   It was only 10 yuan to get in the gate- wicked cheap!!!  Then we headed to the cable car since it was a long hike up the mountain that I wasn't looking forward to.  Nothing special happened there, it was nice, crowded and only 1 laowai sighting.  And she wanted me to say hello.

me and Catherine, and the scar on my nose that is suddenly so obvious!
.. nope, I didn't.  Getting to the cable car, there was a fountain on one side and a waterfall on the other- and there's pics of both.  The cable car- 50 yuan each way!!!!!!!!  Yes, we paid it.  But I'm still looking for the gouging wound that was left. 

But when I saw the cable car... I laughed.  It was a ski lift!!!  Gotta love it, I so knew what to do.  Though it did feel quite weird getting on it without skiis and poles and a complete lack of snow.  It was a nice ride up, we did have great weather.  It was cool, but it was sunny and the air seemed so much cleaner.  But that could've just been from being outside the city center.  On the way up, we turned back and saw this haze of smog hanging over the main part of the city.

The idiot wearing a thin sweatshirt to the top of a mountain in November
  And we live there and breathe that everyday....

Getting off the ski lift, we took a look around.  It was great!!!  So beautiful, so much to see... still so many people.  We weren't far enough out of Beijing.  We managed to find a place to sit, but there were yellowjackets and I didn't have my EpiPen (for if I get stung, I'm very allergic).  So we moved when we found out that they were close.  She found a bench for us, and we sat and talked until we were both freezing.  So we walked around more, took pictures, I bought some cards with red leaves in them, and we headed back down via ski lift.  The way down was so much colder than the way up, and windier too!!  But we survived to manage to leave from the wrong exit.  We had come in the East Gate and left via the North.  We didn't get lost, it was just a longer walk outside the gates- no prob.

The beer at Cafe Konstanz
  We just bought stuff- she bought something for one of the other teachers that works at my school who was supposed to come with us while I bought something for my Momma and a few things for myself.  Then we made it to the car just in time to see some exercise (Tai Chi or Kung Fu?) in the parking lot.  And then we headed out... and the adventure wasn't over yet.

Somehow in leaving, she turned in a different direction and we got lost.  We ended up following a bus headed towards XiZhiMen (on the 2nd Ring Road), but then she found the entrance to the Fourth Ring Road, which is what she was looking for anyway.  And so we were on our way to Lucky Street for German food.

I'd seen the restaurant before, but I'd never gone in.

  So the first floor is the bakery, called Bodenseestube (Bodensee is Lake Constance).  Upstairs is Cafe Konstanz, the restaurant.  When we were looking at the menus, the waitress told Catherine that we'd have to wait until 5:30 to eat since there was something going on (it was about 5 at the time).  We didn't care, so we ordered.  I got a beer, she got water (she was driving).  We compared pics, talked more and had a good time until our soups came.  Not sure what she got, but my potato and sausage soup was quite good.  Then I got White Sausages with sweet mustard and a pretzel... very good again.  I was going to get Apfelstrudel, but they didn't have any ice cream (WTH?) so I skipped it and we ended up downstairs.  There I got a slice of Grossmutters Apfelkuchen (Grandma's Apple Cake) and something called a Schokolade Amerikaner (Chocolate American) and we left.  At home, I warmed up the Apfelkuchen in the toaster over, got some vanilla ice cream alongside and it was good.

And tomorrow I'm going shopping...

 (BTW, this is being posted on my Facebook page for the people there)

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Catherine
Catherine
me and Catherine, and the scar on …
me and Catherine, and the scar on…
The idiot wearing a thin sweatshir…
The idiot wearing a thin sweatshi…
The beer at Cafe Konstanz
The beer at Cafe Konstanz
the ski lift!
the ski lift!
Going up...
Going up...
Catherine ont the way up
Catherine ont the way up
Looking down...
Looking down...
The closest we came to red leaves
The closest we came to red leaves
The sign at the peak so all of us …
The sign at the peak so all of us…
The sign for all who can read Chin…
The sign for all who can read Chi…
Catherine
Catherine
Yours truly
Yours truly
Catherine getting out some cookies
Catherine getting out some cookies
random people
random people
Catherine, a bit dark though
Catherine, a bit dark though
The idiot wearing a thin sweatshir…
The idiot wearing a thin sweatshi…
Catherine leaning in
Catherine leaning in
Going down...
Going down...
Catherine and the metal pole
Catherine and the metal pole
Catherine without the metal pole, …
Catherine without the metal pole,…
Tai Chi or Kung Fu?
Tai Chi or Kung Fu?
me and my red (from the sun and wi…
me and my red (from the sun and w…
Catherine and the water, hey, no d…
Catherine and the water, hey, no …
Beijing
photo by: Deats