Saturday 16th July
We got, for the first time, some decent sleep today. Finally. No screaming people in the courtyard, no sounds of drills in the distance constantly. We woke up at a lovingly late eight thirty, to another dull (which means refreshing and remarkably cool) and cloudy day, which was as hot as yesterday. Then it was a debilitating routine of switching trains at numerous different stations to get to the place we were eating at for lunch with some old friends of my parents at this traditionally styled Chinese restaurant. Highlights were the fish shaped gelatinous coconut milk and the meat bun-pancake, but it wasn’t all that great to be honest.
The sight upon entering the temple. The temple offers free incense which you can offer to the gods in each of the courtyards and buildings.
Then, we walked to the Yong He Gong Lama Temple. After dying by standing way too close to the hot flames where you place the incense after offering them (they come complimentary with tickets), and kneeling and throwing your hands up into the air madly multiple times, we walked round the beautiful grounds. The sandalwood Buddha at the end is worth it, and you should spin the bells to the left in one full circle for good luck on the sides, even if you don’t really feel ‘enlightened’ by it.
For dinner, we walked over to the modern, experimental expat area of Beijing called Nanluoguxiang, where most of the more learned foreigners (such as yourself of course!) go instead of the uber-expensive tourist sites located directly across main attractions, such as the temple. We went to Ramo’s, which serves delicious pizzas and burgers amongst a couple of other things in this American-owned restaurant. They also have a pretty snazzy drink selection and CD track. Most of the servers are American or expats so foreigners shouldn’t be afraid. It made for a lovely filling dinner.
A delicious chicken burger, along with a frothy cup of hot chocolate and marshmallows at Ramo’s.
Next up: Xi’an in three days. See you on the other side!