The Tourist Life: Beijing -> Xian: August 28

Stop 1: Hutong Exploration

Our hotel in Beijing was situated in the hutongs – the alleyways and courtyards of the pre-revolution style housing. We explored the winding roads to find breakfast and other goodies – my favorite being a tiny postcard shop that was packed wall-to-wall with racks of postcards and notebooks and adorable stickers. They had the classiest postcards I’ve ever seen in my life, and even a little table at which to write, stamp, and send them.

Stop 2: Peking Duck Lunch

We were on our own for lunch, and a friend and I decided to go to a restaurant that served Peking (Beijing) duck. It consists of roast duck, a sweet sauce, onions, and cucumbers, all of which you roll up in a little pancake yourself and devour. It was incredibly delicious, and the shop owner was so tickled that an American was eating there – he asked me if I was enjoying the food numerous times. I always responded with a thumbs up!

Stop 3: Overnight Train to Xian

After gathering all our stuff, our whole group took the bus to the train station and the train to Xian! After a near-fiasco in which one group member lost his ticket and almost didn’t make it on the train, we settled in  our cabins – two, with two sets of bunk beds crammed in each. We made lots of jokes about being on the Hogwarts Express before settling in to sleep away the 11-hour ride. It was my first time on a train, and I wholeheartedly enjoyed the experience. Falling asleep to the rocking and humming of the train speeding along the tracks was much more calming than one might expect, and waking up to views of rural China whipping by the windows certainly wasn’t bad either. 


2 thoughts on “The Tourist Life: Beijing -> Xian: August 28

  1. Hi Ellen, Yes, I can relate to the soothing feeling/sound of a train: I love them. Do you know “City of New Orleans” by Steve Goodman? “… Mothers with their babes asleep go rocking to the gentle beat and the rhythm of the rails is all they dream…” Classic folk song from about 1970 about the train from Chicago to New Orleans, and trains in general.
    Couild you try to include pronunciations of some of the words/place names? I have no idea how to pronounce them, and I would feel closer to the stories if I knew.

    Love, Bill


    • I tried to include some pronunciation/tones in my last post… It’s hard to explain tones without actually being there to speak them for you – we are spending the first two weeks just on pinyin pronunciation and tones in my language classes here, so that gives you an idea of how difficult it is. Hopefully I can give you some sort of an idea in my posts!


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