Simply being in a foreign country like China has given me opportunities to experience things I would never otherwise get a chance to do. Here are some of the more recent and favorite ventures from last weekend:
Giggle: My co-workers and I stopped at Giggle Bar and Restaurant for lunch on Friday and I instantly fell in love. I couldn’t resist the charm of the random Chinese cartoons painted on the walls, a [fake] tree in the middle of the room, plush white and black leather cushioned chairs, which were comfier than my bed, and even the broken English statements on the menu. And with a name like Giggle, how could I not love this place? Okay, so this isn’t the most adventurous or authentic Chinese experience, but I loved it anyway.
Snack Street: Having heard about a “snack street” that allows us crazy foreigners to try cuisine like donkey, scorpion, and lizard, I decided this was a must-try while I’m here. The little street is crammed between a large, western shopping area (Forever 21, Zara, Sephora, heaven!) I guess the picture speaks for itself: among other things, like yogurt that is in a glass container that Chinese people drink like milk and some barbequed squid and octopus, I tried scorpion!
Karaoke: Karaoke is huge here. Huge! Every Chinese person I have met sings at the drop of a hat and isn’t afraid to belt out a tune when I request it (and I have). Because of this, karaoke is a common bar-time activity. This past weekend I got to partake in karaoke with some friends from my program. The Ibiza KTV was ridiculously lavish, with the lobby decked out in gold couches and crimson wall decorations.
Moon Cake: Yesterday was National Day, which celebrates the day the People’s Republic of China was founded on October 1, 1949. Along with having this entire week off from work, people celebrate with moon cake.
Now, I really don’t enjoy moon cake. I have tried, unsuccessfully, to enjoy it, but it’s just too dry for my liking. Even though it’s not my favorite, I was really excited that the company I work for gave everyone a big box of moon cake. Even though I don’t love the stuff, and have no intention of eating it, it made me feel like part of the celebration.
Summer Palace: I took advantage of my free Monday and went to Summer Palace with a few friends. The tourist attraction was originally constructed in year 1122. Hundreds of years later, it became a summer resort for Empress Dowager Cixi who blew a ton of money on its reconstruction and enlargement. The day was perfectly sunny and mild for walking around Kunming Lake, which surrounds the palace. It’s usually during tourist-y moments like this when it hits me; I’m in CHINA! Sometimes it’s nice to stop and just be amazed at where I am.