Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wu Dao Kou, Laowai and the Street Markets

This will be my last post about Beijing, since I need to start researching stuff for Ukraine and Peace Corps soon. So just fyi, I'm going to throw a bunch of random photos from around Beijing together...

While we were at Tsinghua University, we lived in dorms near the Northeast Gate (Dong Bei Merrrrrr). The closest subway stop to us was Wu Dao Kou, on line 13. There are a lot of great restaurants and street vendors around that area, especially for foreigners like us. There was a KFC, Pizza Hut, some French cafe, Lush (burgers) and Laowai (southern food!). This what the Wu Dao Kou area looks like at sunset. Its always busy there, no matter what time of day or night.

Laowai means foreigner in Chinese, in case you were wondering. It was a little taste of home, in the middle of China! The owners are from Louisiana, so they serve southern food like pulled pork and chicken and biscuits, but they don't have sweet tea (yet).

They had a few pool tables, foosball, and shuffleboard. The guys got into a really intense game of foosball. Andrew (on the left, with glasses) is one of the Singapore students who came with us to Beijing and hadn't played foosball before!

I had actually never played shuffleboard before, but some of the guys from our study abroad group taught me how to play. This is Travis' game face.

Nik taught us how to play a game called cutthroat, where you have 3 players and you each get 5 of the pool balls. But I still don't really know how to play, except you're supposed to try to knock out the other players by getting rid of their balls.

Here is the new poster that they put up, featuring Obama. Christine and I got a kick out of it :)

There is a chalkboard there, directly in front of you when you walk in. So of course we kind of took over with all the GT logos and fight song :)

Mark decided that he would try to use the pool cues as a giant pair of chopsticks. It was relatively unsuccessful haha.

Annie is practicing her chinese squat, its like the default position for all native chinese. But as you can tell, she is cheating by using the pool table for balance. Chinese people tend to just chill and squat while they talk on the phone, or smoke cigarettes.

Joe and Bill made friends with one of the local guys, who had a very unique haircut.

We ended up going to Laowai multiple times a week, mostly because they had half off food and drink specials for their grand opening week and because I was craving cheese. This tomato and mozzerella salad was my favorite thing there, followed by the grilled cheese and chicken pot pie. Om nom nom!

Lindsay and Alex are extremely excited to have mac and cheese :)

I actually got the chance to try my hand at fuyen-ing (working there as a server) on their grand opening night, when they hired a DJ and turned the tables into a dance floor later. This is me with the two full time servers, Sarah and Skyla.

Here is Christine with the owner of Laowai, Brett, and the famous Green Dragon.

You can buy almost anything at the street markets around Wu Dao Kou, from food to fruit to clothes to shoes to hats to jewelry... to pet bunnies. Well, at least I think they are pets, perhaps people are shopping for dinner haha.

And only in China, you can get a tattoo or piercing right on the street. This is the sketchy tattoo van. I checked out their tattoos but they only had things like dragons and scorpions, no pretty butterflies or buzz logos. Just kidding, I would be terrified to even go inside this van.

Our first week in China, we biked to Walmart. Nik looked it up, and said it only looked like it was a few km away from campus. Wrong... we got lost so it took us about an hour to bike there and find it. And then later we learned that its just the next subway stop over from Wu Dao Kou, epic fail.

We randomly biked to this little food street one day for dinner. It was actually just down the road from Wu Dao Kou, but I didn't figure that out until later.

They had a few outdoor pool tables, which was something that I've never seen before. I've only seen pool tables inside restaurants and the like. But then again, I hardly ever play pool because I'm terrible at it.

Here is one of the standard meat-on-a-stick street stalls, they put raw meat or vegetables on kabob sticks and just grill it right there for you. Its probably really dirty and unsanitary, but usually tastes great and can be found on streets almost everywhere. Sometimes I wonder how those street vendors make a living, but I suppose that they don't have to pay rent if they just bike up and set up their grills on the streets. This picture is of an actual stall, but most of these vendors are on the edge of the sidewalks on the streets. And the raw meat is probably very cheap in bulk quantities. Then since they make cash, they won't have to claim it for taxes. Actually, I am not sure how China does income taxes or how that works in their political system.

And this is me and Hi Bao at the airport in Beijing. Hi Bao is the mascot of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. I love my Hello Kitty shirt, it was a birthday present from my friend Michelle :)


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