While we were waiting, we decided to explore the shopping mall nearby, and venture into the Carrefour store (read: French Wal-Mart). This store put Wal-Mart to shame! We found a bunch of American granola bars and breakfast foods... needless to say we'll be shopping there again. In the mall we figured we'd have a snack before dinner. It ended up that we had desert first, but we're in China where it doesn't matter, right?
Nathan, Peggy and Zoey took us to a stand called Beard Papa which sells cream puffs. They fill the puff with different flavors of cream, and man I've been craving them ever since. Yum! The dinner we ate was also incredible. It was a bit pricy, but to taste a new cuisine for the first time, I think we did it right. We had pork, chicken, potatoes, fish, vegetables and more. I was so stuffed when we headed home!
Saturday morning, we woke up relatively early to head out to the Ming Tombs. A taxi and one long bus ride (which I slept through, oops!) later we arrived in the foothills of green, lush mountains. The architecture of the park where the tombs are is exactly what people expect when they think China. Rooftops with the edges that curve upward poked through the trees and stone walkways created paths leading from the museum area to the tombs themselves. I was amazed by the forethought of the emperors to begin the construction of such a huge plot of burial grounds long before their deaths.
As we finished walking around the second tomb area, thunder boomed in the distance. Before we knew it, a storm was surging over the mountains and filling the sky with dark, ominous clouds. We walked quickly to the bus, but luckily the storm skirted to the side of where we were. Apparently, though, the storm was a nasty one. In Beijing, torrential rain and hail pounded the area near where we live. By the time we were home though, the storm had passed leaving clean air and blue skies. Guess we timed that one right!
Saturday night I went out to a part of town called Wudaokou, which apparently means "Fifth Rail Station" or something like that, for the first time since we've been here. A few of the American students we met last week joined us and we went to a dance club called Sensation. It wasn't too busy, but man do I miss the "no smoking indoors" law we have in NC. We danced for hours, and had a really good night. I enjoyed loosening up and dancing for a little while. Thankfully, our Sunday plans didn't involve an 8am alarm.
After sleeping in, my first time actually sleeping in since I've been here, I made lunch for myself before heading out to meet up with some of our friends at their university. We met up with Cleaire, Jassum, Branden and Lutong and headed out towards the Olympic park. The architecture of the Water Cube and Bird's Nest are definitely something worth seeing. I was surprised to see that the Water Cube is somewhat sheer, so when the sun was setting behind it, you could see the bolts holding the panels of glass together. We took TONS of photos, goofy, candid, posed. We were complete tourists, but that's ok. Some of the chinese people even took photos of us because we stood out like sore thumbs.
That's all I've got. I'm off to another week at work. I know I'm writing at least one story, but we'll see what else I can drum up.