Beijing for 2013 Chuseok
Alex and I purchased last minute tickets to Beijing, to take advantage of the Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) long weekend. Chuseok is one of the biggest holidays of the year in Korea. Since Alex had Wednesday through Sunday off, we figured it would be a great time to visit Beijing again. Plus, Chuseok coincides with the Chinese mid-Autumn festival, so we were able to spend more time with my family, who also had the holiday off! And we were able to see my mom for a day, since she had a meeting in Beijing.
The last time we were in Beijing, we were there right after the 2008 Olympic Games (during the Paralympic Games). We never thought it would take us five years to go back! Since we did (almost) all the touristy things in Beijing the last time, our mission for this trip was to EAT. The Korean food in Korea is pretty cheap. You can get a bowl of noodles or a bibimbap rice bowl for 6,000 won (around $6). But there’s usually very little meat (if at all) included, and not many vegetables either. (Kimchi, in my opinion, doesn’t count as a real vegetable.) And, we haven’t found any reasonable Chinese restaurants in Korea (we’ve seen Chinese restaurants asking 30,000 won for one dish!).
So we made it our mission to eat as much good food as possible. And eat as much meat and fruit and vegetables as possible. We must have been so hungry because I actually didn’t get a chance to take any pictures of the food- we ate it too quickly! We had Peking roast duck, spare ribs, cumin lamb skewers (my FAVORITE!!), assorted dumplings, watermelon smoothies, and super cheap but good cafe lattes! Just typing the words is making me hungry again!
We did manage to do some things besides just eating… On Thursday night, my cousin Ryan, who was visiting from California, treated us all to a show at the Bird’s Nest. The show, called “Attraction”, was very flashy, with lasers and acrobats and people floating on invisible wires. We didn’t really understand what was going on, but it was nice to be in the Bird’s Nest again.
Ryan, Alex and I also went to the Yonghe (Lama) Temple. The place is huge, and there are tons of people who are burning incense, praying to the various buddahs.
Alex and I were able to see my dad’s side of the family during a family reunion lunch. It was wonderful to see everyone again, and to meet the new additions to the family (two of my cousins recently got married!).
We were also able to have dinner with my mom and her middle school classmates. We walked into the courtyard of their school- the school still looks really nice. And it was great to see that even after all these years, these middle school classmates still got together once in a while to have dinner and catch up.
Alex and I had a great time in Beijing and we hope to be back sooner than five years this time!