A day trip to Shichahai, and an evening of music

Trip Start Sep 01, 2010
Trip End Jul 31, 2011

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

I began the day by recovering from the night before. The night before was Dee's birthday party at Dao, and I had some prefunk action going on before hitting up the club. I went to Touch9 with Leng and her friends and had plenty of fun before heading off to Dao. Most of the night was a blur, but I do remember nearly losing my phone and I did leave my scarf at the coat check, but I can always buy a new one.

Since I normalyl enter the hangover phase once I get home, I waddled around the dorm room looking for some food to eat. I wolfed down some raisin bread from my favorite local bakery, 金凤成祥。It's like 1 USD for 8 slices of breakfast, holy cow such a good deal. I ended up leaving later than planned at 12:30 for Shichahai with Jeff and Leigh. We were mobile and packing cameras for nice day of photography.

As a continuation of my quest for pho, I arranged the trip in order for me to sample the tastings of "Le Little Saigon." The restaurant had many reviews from previous patrons and I wanted to see what their pho broth tasted like. The ambiance and the presentation of the restaurant was very welcoming, a mix of a French and Vietnamese fusion. The menu itself was very creative, each item was photographed and stuck into the book with some family photos in between each item. We ended up having a bowl of pho each and Jeff and I split the springs and had Vietnamese coffee. It was on the pricey side and the broth just did not cut it. I like my pho, but when you have broth that is not very flavorful, the rest of the meal will be a chore to consume.

After leaving Le Little Saigon, we worked our way south on 鼓楼大街 until we ran upon the Smoke and Tobacco street where Sam had brought me earlier in my trip to Beijing. This time around, the weather was much cooler as instead of wearing sandals and a tshirt, I was layered up with a heavy winter coat and thermals to boot. The street still retained the same charms as my previous visit, with many tourists boasting what cameras they brought to record their time at Houhai. When we approached the lake, we had noticed the lake had frozen over due to the brisk and cool morning we had been experiencing in Beijing for the past month. So much so, the lake water had frozen over into a diabolical representation of ice sheets, beer bottles and garbage all frozen in to one slick sheet of ice.

We spent the afternoon wandering around the hutongs of Shichahai without any sense of direction at all. For Jeff and I, we had an evening appointment with a concert at the Forbidden City Music Hall, so we left the Shichahai area to meet up with Forrest, Linda and Liz. For our second go around with concerts, we planned ahead and gave ourselves plenty of time to eat dinner and to enjoy the sights. We returned to the same restaurant where we ate at for our previous concert and this time, we were upgraded to a private room on top of the restaurant.

After consuming dinner, we made our way over to 中山公园 where the concert hall was located. Since it was a public park directly next door to Tiananmen, there was a heavy security presence. We entered the park under the night sky without much light to guide us to the concert hall, but eventually tailed behind fellow patrons and it led us to the music scene. The program was quite pleasant with Beethoven, Mozart and Tchaikovsky. The music hall itself was also beautiful as our seats were no longer obstructed by an overhang. However, my sole compliant was being unable to see the performers behind the pillar given the location of my seat. It was nice way to end the day with my mind and ears entertained with classical music after sightseeing through hutongs of Shichahai.
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