Wandering a city of 20 million on our own.
14.06.2012 - 14.06.2012 75 °F
After everyone had his or her fill of The Wall we made one last stop back in Beijing at a silk factory.
The women at the factory demonstrated how they unwind the silk and what they do with a cocoon if it has two worms instead of one in it. The one-worm cocoons are for clothing and such. If a cocoon has two worms inside of it, they use it for the stuffing of blankets and pillows.
The ladies at the factory demonstrated the process and then we were led into the gift shop. (“Of course,” said Dan.) I talked Dan into purchasing a King sized silk comforter. He grumbled a bit but I think he will be happy about it once he sees how comfortable it will be to sleep under.
Our guided tour was over after the silk factory and we were dropped back at The New Otani and left to our own devices. We decided to venture out and try some Malaysian food at a restaurant about 10km from the hotel. In Beijing, the taxi drivers look at the address of your desired destination and then tell you if they are able to find the destination. If they do not know where it is, you have to find another taxi driver and hope that he knows where to go. We found that our success rate was much higher if the hotel bellhop flagged the taxi and communicated the destination. When we tried on our own, our success rate was about 50/50.
The restaurant was a Malaysian style eatery called Samala Café. The taxi driver stopped when we were in the general vicinity and asked a local person for help in locating the business. He dropped us off at the mouth of a very narrow alleyway. When we reached the front door of the restaurant, it had a note on it saying that it was undergoing renovations and the kitchen was relocated at another restaurant around the block. At this point, I could tell that Dan was frustrated and very hungry. It took forever to convince the taxi driver to take us, we had to get clarifying directions along the way, and now the restaurant was not even where it was supposed to be! And in the back of our minds we were wondering if this place was going to be worth the potential upset stomach that could come from eating food in a local restaurant. We finally found the restaurant and ordered our meals. The décor was really quaint. It looked like an opium den/teahouse and French pop music played softly over speakers. The crowd was comprised of young Chinese professionals around our age. The meal was delicious (and sanitary!). I was glad that we stuck it out and found the new location because it was down a narrow little alley with other restaurants and one-room apartments. The occupants had the front door open and I got a little peek of how some people live in Beijing.