Jim Samples Food around the City
Saturday 5/17- It goes without saying that I slept through the time I had planned my Tiananmen Square visit. I have this time woken up at 4 am, and again I am not the slightest bit tired. It is still too dark to go for a stroll, so I decide to have a quick workout before starting my day; I make the best use of the space in my hotel room. After a shower, I head out into the city for breakfast; I want to see what fast food is like overseas. The idea came to me during my time lost in the streets of Wangfujing; I am intrigued by the very concept of McDonalds and KFC even existing in such a place. My experience, in short, was this: McDonalds is McDonalds no matter where you go, and KFC was surprisingly wholesome and tasty. This was far unlike the American KFC I have come to know. After finishing my meals I emerge onto the main drag of Wanfujing to find that it has become more populated in a very short amount of time. I make my way through the filling streets back to my hotel; I must checkout, and switch hotels today.
I must travel with my belongings from the metropolitan shopping district of Wangfujing to the Silicon Valley-esque Haidan district just outside of Peking University. The trip yields another adventure onto the
well-kept-yet-crowded subway system. While I am nestled amongst the throngs of people I can’t help but feel yet another intangible similarity to the experience of an American city. There seems to be a unique, discreet beat the general public secretes; the train cars, the walking, how everybody’s talking- it all seems to contribute to a distinct, rhythmic expression of the human condition. Finding my new hotel proves to be a lot easier, as I had strategically placed my subway stops to make my walking trip consist of one-road journeys. I settle into the new hotel, the Furama Express, and though it is not as nice as my first hotel, it still far succeeded my expectations. The whole hotel is highly stylized in a monochrome gray color scheme which is accented by things like they white leather and red velvet couches I find in my hotel room. There’s also the soft-glowing, color-changing LED’s- those are everywhere. After settling in, I decide to venture out in my new surroundings to find a place to eat dinner. I hit the jackpot. I found a small, take-out joint selling various cooked meats; from chickens feet to octopus. I hastily order chicken wings, mini squids and octopus. The manager was elated to have a foreigner in his shop, and seemed surprised with my order. At this point I was very hungry, and decided to eat at a bench right outside the restaurant. The manager watches from the window, but I don’t really mind; I’m sure it’s not every day a foreigner comes into his place, much less decides to eat octopus. Everything is mildly spicy, and the manager comes out and offers
me some plastic gloves to keep my hands from getting spice on them. Overall, he was incredibly accommodating, and this is not unlike the other locals I have interacted with so far. Once I finish my meal, I start making my way back to the hotel room; contented, and with a full stomach.