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Old Beijing, Hutong -Day 3

December 27, 2012

So today started off with rare ally good Buffett breakfast at the hotel, as usual with your choice of pretty much anything!

We then met up with Jing again who took us through to Hutong, known as Old Beijing, as this is the oldest part of Beijing where there aren’t too many high risers yet, most house here are one or two stories and are now under government protection. We spent the day out and about, starting off with a rickshaw drive around the area and learnt about the old houses. Apparently if a house was built with two pillars at e entrance door it denoted a middle class family, four pillars a government officials house, eight beams meant a member from the imperial family and twelve beams was for the emperor himself. Anyone not sticking to those rules would most probably behave been beheaded – make one wonder how many beams Mr Zuma would have gone for if he would have gotten a Chinese architect to do up his plans…

Then a vital thing that we learnt, most houses are built with quite a large beam or plank across the bottom oground entrance door, this was done so that the evil demons ( who had no knees, so couldn’t jump) wouldn’t be able to enter the house. However, apparently as a man you need to enter the house stepping over the beam with your left leg first, and as a woman with your right. Why this is the case I can’t really tell you, other than the fact that woman are always RIGHT!

We then decided on our way to lunch to head to the loo… This was a highly entertaining experience for both Lauren and myself, firstly, china gives communal toilets a whole new meaning, when they say communal toilets, they MEAN communal toilets. So there are six squat holes in an enclosed room, you literally great the person next to you, whip you pants down (well in Lauren and my case, 3 pants!) and do your business, wipe, flush and leave. If you lucky, it just you in the loo, if not, you can have a local doing a number two… I’ll let you guess what option we had…

At least we had the most awesome lunch… Yes if you haven’t guessed by now, chinese food and me and a match made in heaven! We went to a family house in the area who cooked us a selection of local cuisine with loads And loads of veggie options, the best meal to date!

Then it was off to the Drum temple, where we watched a super performance of drumming. We’ve got it on film, so ill try upload it to you tube when I get back. It was spectacular, and if any of you are like me and love that deep sound of drumming this would definitely have suited you. The team performed with such dedication and style it was a joy to watch. Would be fabulous if everyone would take pride in their work like these youngsters did. The view from the top of the temple was fascinating, you could see the flat housing of Hutong, and then a few meters further all the tall high risers of the rest of Beijing.

We then headed off to a local spa where we went for an awesome foot and leg massage, definitely well worth it after all the eating, walking and sight seeing.

Then it was back to the hotel via rush hour tram for a Christmas eve hot pot at the hotel and then I headed off to a club with Justin. Not thinking that I would be clubbing in freezing China, I looked awesome, me in my thermals and tight middle layer, black hiking socks and takkies and a long sleeved top… I looked more like I was heading to a yoga class in Beijing not a night club, anyway, they did let me in at the door albeit with few weird stares, but then again, apparently it is one of the worlds top clubs… So what was I thinking!!! Banana Club, was a lot of fun in the end and I definitely managed to dance all those dumplings off my ever growing hips! And after a count down to midnight and swaying to techno beated jingle bells we decided to call it night and head back to the hotel – not after mistaking a police car for a taxi on our way out (and no mom, we weren’t drunk!)

sending you all lots of Christmas cheer!

x nina

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