After spending a day getting burned in the forbidden city and the summer palace, where of course we were the subject of much interest and photography from children and adults alike, we headed back to the hostel and gave Jeff Trinh, a recent transplant to Beijing, a call to see if he wanted some dinner. We found a restaurant that had duck, a task that requires very little of us as throwing a rock down the street will likely hit some form of duck restaurant, and had a traditional chinese meal whose dishes were based around duck, the waitresses recommendations and a group effort of pointing at pictures and saying, “that looks good!” We were not disappointed.
After dinner, we struggled to find a cab, something that is much harder than finding a duck eatery, and eventually walked several blocks before having some sanlunche guys say 30 kuai for a ride. We hopped on, got taken a couple of blocks and then let off nowhere near where we wanted to be, at which point the guys insisted that they meant 30 american dollars which, via some mathmagic, comes to 300 kuai. They appealed to our deal that american money is the gold standard (it is not), the guy had pedaled very hard and was sweating (he had not and was not), that americans are rich (we are not…not really) and that etc etc. I pointed out that they were trying to rip us off, gave them a hundred kuai and tried to be done with. They then asked for a tip so I offered the rest of my beer, which they denied, and took a few single kuai notes from Jeff, who had very long been trying to unload them from his wallet.
We then ventured into Beijing bar territory, which is ground that is untrodden by all of us. The first stop was a bar that had been recommended by the head of Jeff’s cycling group, where it turned out they were having a grand re-opening with a beatles cover band. It took 15 minutes to get any service and everyone there looked like they were trying to get their photos into City Weekend. We left and searched for a place called The Stumble Inn, which happened to be a clean, untraveled place on the third floor of a mall. Evan stole a coaster. From there, our evening wound its way into and out of bars, declaring them unfit or boring, until we found ourselves at the end of the bar street, at which point it became known that it was after midnight and we would be waking up in less than six hours to climb the Great Wall. Finding a cab was much easier on the way back.