Beijing Travel Blog› entry 20 of 22 › view all entries
This morning we were able to sleep in, eat a French toast breakfast, wash a load of laundry, and read our books on the hostel balcony. We didn't leave the hostel until just after noon, on our way to Liulichang, supposedly a lively hutong of the old Chinese quarter. Unsure of excactly where the district was located, we exited the subway and began walking in what we assumed was the correct direction. We had walked for approximately twenty minutes when we were able to actually locate the street on our city map, so we corrected our current route and headed in the proper direction, searching for our next street to turn onto. After walking for a while, and consulting the map once more, we realized that we had overshot the street by a sizable distance, so we found another route and were on our way again. I was in workout mode and was enjoying the rather long walk, but Jason was dragging behind and having difficulty keeping up with my fast pace. After walking down the same street for a while and still not coming upon the desired street, we once again consulted our map, and we once again realized that we had somehow missed our turn. Jason, exhausted by now, mapped out a new route, and, believe it or not, missed the next turn. By the time we actually arrived at the street, which was located adjacent to a subway stop that we should have used, we had been walking in the heat for over an hour. To make matters worse, we found Luilichang to be rather boring, and far from the lively quarter we were promised by the travel guide. Therefore, we spent to more than twenty minutes wandering the lackluster street.
Frustrated from wasting so much time, we grabbed a taxi and drove to the southeastern edge of the city towards Panjiajuan Market, which we read is an interesting flea market to visit. We entered the enormous outdoor market, but were dismayed to see that many of the vendors were already packing up their merchandise, loading the boxes onto rickety carts, and maneuvering past the crowds in the direction of the exit. After traveling all of this way, and already feeling frustrated with the events of the day thus far, we continued into the market and browsed through the remaining stalls, bypassing the exiting vendors. We slowly walked down the crowded, smelly aisles as vendors called out, "hello," "take a look," and "cheap for you." Some of the vendors even reached out a grabbed our arms as we walked by, forcing us to pry ourselves apart and continue on. Feeling the need to buy something, in an attempt to turn this day into a more productive one, I purchased a small tea set that includes a pot and six small tea cups. By this time, we could barely move past all of the carts, piled high with disheveled bags and boxes, so we exited the venue, vowing to return before our plane ride home.
We took a taxi back to our hostel, since there were no subway stations within a comfortable walking distance of the flea market. By the time we arrived at 9 Dragons, it was five thirty, so we headed to the hostel restaurant for a ceasar salad and chicken sandwich, both of which tasted nothing like they should. Following dinner, we went to recover our drying laundry from the side alleyway of the hostel, only to discover that half of our clothing was no longer where we left it, and most of the missing appearal belonged to Jason. As I took off the remaining laundry, Jason went off in search of the clothing and a suspect. Luckily, the clothing was discovered mixed in with other laundry on a sofa on the upstair balcony. How it got there, we don't know. We were just relieved to have it back.