Try the duck

Today’s mission, amongst other things was to try roast duck.  I found the idea and the restaurant on this website, http://www.time.com/time/travel/cityguide/article/0,31489,1850076_1850078_1849846,00.html, the same place I found pretty much everything else, other than the crazy bike ride.  I decided to go for lunch, thinking that might be less crowded than dinner…that, and I really didn’t want to make a reservation for one.  

Anyway, the cab drops me off and points me in the wrong direction.  I end up in some office building, but luckily I had the address in Chinese and they were able to point me across the street.  I walk in and it looks amazing.  Other than the giant crab on display on a platter of ice that was all alive and moving and stuff – he was kind of creepy, and probably not happy.  Of course there’s a wait, but it’s only 20 minutes, and there’s plenty to look at in the meantime.  But of course, it’s not 20 minutes, and 45 minutes later, I’m still standing there.  However, after I went back up to ask, they did get me seated pretty quickly.

Then they bring a gigantic menu with all sorts of delicious looking things on it.  But, I was there for one thing, and one thing only, to try the duck.  I was a little concerned about ordering a whole duck for myself, but wasn’t sure how else to try it.  Luckily, when I ordered, the waitress suggested a half portion – perfect.  I also ordered the little plate of fixings, I wasn’t sure what that meant, but figured it was something I should have with my duck.

A short while later, a chef brought out the duck on a platter and carved it right there at the table.  I have photos…I felt like a total tourist, but had to do it.  As he carves it, he lays it out on a little plate, all organized with the skin covering just the right places.  Once he finished, the waitress came back and showed me how to make a few of creations with the plate of fixings.  For example, dipping it in sugar – not something I would have tried on my own, but actually quite delicious.  Sweet and savory at the same time.  There was also a little roll that she put some green stuff and some orange stuff and some garlic and some soy sauce in with the duck – also quite yummy.  Last, there were tortilla type things that she put garlic and soy sauce and duck in.  Yum!

After I’d finished the duck, they brought over some random fruit/ice thing…not so yummy, but I did try it.  Then came the dry ice and the letches (which is a fruit, in case I totally butchered the spelling…Chinese google and I are not getting along right now).  I’m not a fan of letches, but decided to try again because it looked so cool…unfortunately, still not a fan of letches.

Perhaps because I didn’t eat the letches they thought I wasn’t done, or something, but it seemed like everyone who had been waiting on my table left…and 30 minutes later, I was still sitting there.  Finally I was able to flag someone down and get the bill and pay it, but not the end I wanted to the yummy lunch I had.  Overall, amazing food, great wine, but not the best service.  However, would still recommend.

Prior to lunch, I had a few meetings at VanceInfo, a company I’m hoping to use in the paper I’ve been working on since November.  Overall good meetings, but still think I have a long way to go on the paper.  When I arrived, they actually had me listed as Professor Nevinger…now that’s something I’ve never been called before.  It was interesting to see the company first hand after reading about it, and also to see what China based companies are like.  Since these meetings popped up after I was already here, I was concerned that I didn’t have anything appropriate to wear.  As I mentioned before, I was going to go the white pants route, but apparently I donated those to the hotel in Sanya, so had to wear my red dress with a black sweater over it.  And of course the hair dryer here only blows cold air, so I was pretty sure I looked like a trainwreck.  I was in desperate need of one of the hair places Jaime and I went to in Shanghai, but of course who knows where one is here.  But, they were actually pretty casual, so I was fine…might have been better if the dress wasn’t somehow too big, but whatever, I made it work.

After lunch, I headed back to the hotel and then ventured out for what turned into a long walk around the Imperial Palace and Tiananmen Square.  Both were closed, but it was nice to see them again.  I was also hoping they might have nice souvenir shops, but unfortunately, I didn’t see anything, other than the touristy stuff you can buy on the street.  And then of course there were all the sketchy ‘I’m a tour guide’ people and peddicabs and god knows what else trying to talk to me.  I’ve gotten very good at just yelling no…multiple times.  They eventually go away once they realize I’m not going to tell them where I’m going, I don’t need a tour, I don’t want their card, and I just want to walk.

I arrived back at the hotel to find the roof bar closed for a private party, so had dinner in the restaurant.  It was fine, just not nearly as fun.  And not nearly enough food.  I miss being able to make my own.

Tomorrow’s adventure – great wall part 2.  And I’m not going to lie, I’m slightly afraid of being with a guide again.

Until next time….

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