Day 14: Beijing

April 24, 2010

We slept in this morning, then decided to have lunch at Huang Ting, the Peninsula’s Cantonese restaurant. We took advantage of their weekend dim sum buffet – nearly 40 items, as much as we wanted – and enjoyed a great lunch of spring rolls, dumplings, fried noodles, and more.

Delicious dim sum lunch at Peninsula

Finishing our shopping was the goal of today, so we took a taxi to Panjiayuan Antique Market, an enormous open-air flea market with over 3000 vendors. Furniture, jewelry, statues, trinkets, silk, you name it – it was here, and we had a great time walking around and bargaining some good prices for a variety of items.

Panjiayuan Market in southeast Beijing

Quite an assortment of statues

Waiting for customers

The amount of stuff for sale was staggering; there were marble lions the size of small cars, a ton of Mao paraphernalia, beautiful Tibetan furniture, a huge book bazaar, and piles of beads in every color imaginable. Around 5:00, the market began to close down, with vendors boxing up their wares and loading them onto the backs of their bicycle carts. This was one-stop-shopping at its finest.

Lots of Mao-themed items

Don't try to pick these up - you can't

This kid was ready for the camera

Endless stalls

We managed to hail a cab among the departing bicycle carts and dropped off our purchases back at the hotel before heading back out for dinner. We stopped at a department store where I bought a Chinese-style cleaver similar to the one we used at the Yangshuo cooking class.

Walking to dinner

Then we headed back to Da Dong, where we had a reservation for one more delicious roast duck dinner. This time we sat by the open kitchen, watching the roasted ducks come out of the fire. Our meal was as good as it had been the other night, and this time we ordered a dessert we’d seen at another table: fruit “dandelions”, sugar-coated fruits surrounded by a “fluff” of cotton candy.

Roasting the world-famous ducks

One last great meal in China

Cool fruit "dandelions" for dessert

We walked back to the hotel to start packing and see if we’d bought so many souvenirs we’d need another bag. Tomorrow morning is our last chance to shop, and Matt swears he saw someone eating a McDonalds banana pie, so we might have to go check that out, too… 🙂