Natalie Goes to Japan

40 year old very married blonde woman having a midlife crisis who heads to Japan alone to follow her dreams. Be careful what you wish for ... you just may get it.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A Palace, a Temple and a Dive

A very young, sweet, busty girl from the hostel and I went sightseeing together. First we caught a taxi and headed for the Summer Palace. This being a lovely retreat for the royals, when living in your standard palace and being considered a god got to be too much for them. A lovely lakeside cottage the size of a small city, where they could fish and read and catch cool breezes under the trees. The architecture and artistry and landscape is fabulous, those royals might have been despots, but they had some good taste. It was pretty chilly, but it was still nice to walk in the sun among all gorgeous buildings. My companion for the day was very chatty, and I learned all about her love life, including how it was probably coming to an end shortly, and that she had come to Beijing in part to run away, and hopefully tick him off. We were getting pretty hungry, and these places never have restaurants in them, and we hadn't seen any place to eat around the entrance. So we hopped in a taxi and went to the next place on my list of places to see, that being the Temple of Heaven complex. Outside ToH there were a couple of restaurants, but neither of us were thrilled by them, so we got a recommendation from the coffee place to head about a block or two down. Turned out to be a dive, but great food. Miss Perky has been living in Shanghai for a few months and most of the Chinese she has learned is about food. So she ordered us four dishes to share. However, Shanghai dishes are about twice as small, so we ended up with a table covered in food, that we couldn't possibly eat in a week. But, damn it was good. And the total came to about $4. We waddled into the complex, and man was it swamped with people. We stood on the alter, which is the center of the earth, according to the Chinese. And since I am actually the center of the universe, and I stood there, so it was true for about 30 seconds (long enough to get a picture). We were herded past the two temples, and went through the park and saw the people singing and dancing, but not nearly as cool as the first morning at Jangshan Park. We grabbed another cab back and hung out in the common room drinking tea and chatting with other guests. About that time she calls previously mentioned boyfriend to remind him to pick her up tomorrow at the airport, while he tries to talk her into staying in Beijing for another day or so. Long story short, another 2 phone calls and 20 text messages later, she has broken up with snobby boyfriend, told him to move out, and is on the verge of throwing her other 2 roomates out as well, as they are friends with snobby boy. I had mentioned shopping earlier in the day, and she suggests we go shopping together as she could use the therapy that purchasing useless objects provides. I was unable to find anything I wanted, but she was able to find several things to throw her money away on. We end up eating dinner at a very fancy Pizza Hut. Yes, I said fancy, with a waiting list and a cool decor and everything. And the pizza was thick and gooey, just like it should be. And by then I was very tuckered out, watched a little Sex in the City with an older Italian lady in the common room. I love meeting all these various adventurous people from all over the globe.


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