Today is a fun day indeed because I just checked my email and I have fun mail! Normally, I reserve this term for snail mail like cards, postcards, letters and magazines. But I got a great “thank you” email from Kal who received the adorable little Babes in Black tee that I sent her daughter, Pilot. And I got a surprise email from a dear friend, Pablo, who I have not heard from in about a year. Yay fun mail!
In other good news, China has relaxed restrictions on internet access. My blog and all others are still off limits. 😦 But we have been able to access Facebook, CNN and a few other sites that were previously blocked.
Yesterday’s recap: A low key evening was in order after our climb up Mutianyu. I opted for a reflexology foot massage while Mike enjoyed the sauna. It wasn’t until much later in the evening – around 9pm – that my little tummy started to gurgle and demand food. I was keen to stay in the hotel and grab some dinner at the cafe. The quality of the food is quite good for the price and I wanted to stay close by. Mike suggested we check out what was near-by. We had already eaten at Pizza Hut and The Pizza Company. All I wanted was some pasta. So we inquired at Big Pizza (people here really love their pizza!) as to whether we could get spaghetti with just tomato sauce instead of tomato and meat sauce. There are few vegetarian pasta options which I think is weird (the same is true for salad). At any rate, we were told it would be possible. But since we are never sure how well we are understood, we knew some risk would be involved.
Let’s just say that Big Pizza is “the wanch” of restaurants. The restaurant was in bad need of an adult. All the staff were quite young and while they were very sweet and wanting to help us out, they were doing things like washing floors, tallying up sales and behaving in ways that are better left for after hours and not while customers are still eating.
None of this was too bad but we were in for worse. I, much to my later regret, suggested that Mike also order a minestrone soup. It was tepid. We half expected that two plates with spaghetti Bolognese would be presented to us. No. What arrived were two plates of plain spaghetti, a bowl of “tomato sauce” which we call ketchup and another bowl with a few teaspoons of salt. Whoops! This is what happens when you are upside down on the planet.
I had remarked to Mike on our last day in Shanghai that we hadn’t acquired too many funny stories to share. I couldn’t understand why since our European vacation last summer had given us at least a year’s worth to tell. It was last night at Big Pizza that I realized why our funny stories had only begun in Beijing. The reason is because here we are alone – completely on our own to get into trouble. When we were in Shanghai, we spent all of our time with my uncle (who has lived in China for 7 years) and his wife (who was born here). They prevented and protected us from doing the stupid things that we are so naturally inclined toward. Ha ha! At least we got a good story out of it. 🙂
So back to today: We are off to Summer Palace and then a quick peek at the Bird’s Nest (Olympic Stadium) and Olympic Village. Must wear loads of sunscreen.