We took a taxi to Baita Si Dagoba, the white stupa in Beihai Park, which is surprisingly tranquil, lush and beautiful in the middle of Beijing’s chaos, dust + endless construction. Our driver used his two sentences of English on me (which is more than the Mandarin I know). Then he started to sing Chinese songs. Then hum. After walking around Beihai Park + crawling up rocks, we ate Japanese food at Ajisen Ramen inside a fucking mall in Xidan that had the worst service I’ve ever received in my entire life (China or elsewhere), then we tracked down a café that LB had marked in one of her Beijing guidebooks where we realized it had gone out of business a long time ago + nothing had taken its place since then. We also almost got mugged/ripped off/scammed by a Beijing “artist,” + the worst part is, we were already familiar with the art scam. We honestly believed this dude was an artist about to visit Berkeley until he tried to drag us to his sketchy “art exhibition,” which had been hand-painted on the wall of a cell phone store. That’s when I told him we were leaving. We just walked away, quickly, back to the subway + got the fuck out of there. Finally, now masters of the Beijing subway, we took the train to Chaoyang Qu, ate unhealthy fake meat dishes at Loving Hut + then came home + watched Greenberg on HBO in our hotel room. This was one of the first truly relaxing days we've had since we got to China.
Here are the pics: