Whatever the quality of last nights clubbing it sure felt good to sleep for just another hour, and another. So we skipped breakfast and instead joined the others for lunch at some italian place. Someone was in a spending mood and who was I to object to starting with Champagne and a three coarse breakfast? A decent bill and a really nice latte later we were off to some more markets.
I found a nice lens but the price was a bit steep so I postponed that for later, next stop was Aria, which was supposedly “a nice restaurant”. Taking into consideration the previous places this looked good. The girls mentioned shirts a bit too late so it was sloppy dressing though.
When entering the lobby It looked quite nice, we then found out that Alex had booked us top table we realized that it indeed was a nice restaurant. The food was delicious and the service good as well. This reason for going here was that Rhys, who is a bartender, had read about this place having the best bartender in Bejing as bar manager here, Bruce Li (sic). Rhys mentioned this to the waiter and later Bruce presented himself and gave as complimentary BMWs (Baileys, Malibu and Wiskey, muy nice) and we promised to join him in his bar after our dinner. The waitress who brought the drinks dropped a glass and poured out a few, I felt sorry for her since the glass was probably around a month of her wage.
After having a Strawberry Daiquiri (this guy knew how do to drinks) we went to the bar. It was a nice live jazz-trio and in general a perfect atmosphere. We kept up the class with some Remy Martin XO, the girls then decided to leave but guys stayed for another hour or so. Rhys got another complimentary drink, a blueberry Mojito which beats any Mojito I’ve tasted by far. Luckily for our budget the bar closed quite early, when arriving at our hostel me and Ulf got a meat-on-a-stick each that was sold on our street. When paying we realized how bizarre prices for food and drinks are, we had dinner for about 100 €, drinks for 50 € and final snack on the way home for 1 €.
Uffe and I did some old school blogging while drinking strong stuff from a cheap glass, this time Ulf hade managed to find something that I would rank among the top three worst smelling alcohols. It was absolutely hideous, not that bad taste though, standard cheap oily stuff but the smell gave me goosebumps in the bad way.
Alex, Rhys and Helen were off to a christmas dinner so we were off to our own finding a place to eat for the night. Would it be a shabby place or something more fancy? After some strolling we ended up jumping in cab and calling one of Alex sisters who pronounced the address to Bellagio which we knew nothing about.
It turned out to be an interesting place where all the waiters where women with their hair cut short (very rare here) and humongous deserts. The idea of bringing in starters to start with and then main course to follow had not reached this place though and as we were finishing up they served the rice.
Rhys joined us later for beers and we decided to try some local spirit as well. We should have sensed something was wrong when the waitress couldn’t hide her smile and double-checking that we wanted that. Also the usual interest from neighboring tables (chinese do not find it at all strange or embarrassing to literally glare at you, be that you eating, shopping or just existing) increased at that point. It tasted and smelled rather bad, what’s worse is that it wasn’t strong. We actually gave it up after a while and decided to find a place called Angel which was supposed to be a nice club.
A lovely 10 € entry fee and me not being allowed to bring my camera got to indicate how good the club was. Or not, the music was awful, the drinks tasted water when we finally got them (despite some guy “taking care” of our orders). We were nice and had some shots, some beer and ordered some shots again. This time they mixed the shots with ice and water and gave us in cocktail glasses. The drinks wasn’t cheap either. Well well, at least we gave the club a chance.
We’ve seen a lot of people spitting in a way that would gross out most people and after breathing the fresh air of Beijing I’m starting to realize why. Apparently they are going to temporarily shut down all factories in Beijing for the upcoming olympics in order to fix the air (among other things) since the athletics never could compete in this.
Luckily one can hide from the smog by going to markets; we started early by going back to Yashow for some tailoring. It ended up me leaving my coat for repair, ordering two three piece-suits, two extra vests and three shirts. Since I left my coat I’d to buy a winter-jacket. Alex’s knowledge of prices again proved invaluable when it was time to haggle. I bought a nice warm olive green Peak Performance parka for 35 € and the last 5 € was since the seller could pronounce the price in swedish. Starting price was 85 € after we revealed that we where guided by a local, usually the price was 120 € (but of course).
After that we went to some student-market, there was less yelling and most buyers were locals (which was reflected by the lack of english skills for the sellers). However most of the clothing was for ladies so the guys got tired rather quick of the shopping. I managed to get a nice white shoulder bag though. The last market for the day was “black market” where electronics, stolen goods or power tools were to be found. Nothing that caught my eye here though. Now back at the hostel writing this and trying to organize some photos.