The thing I'm looking forward the most to in China is the food. It's that simple. Great culture, extended family, a new world, all worthy of attention, but nothing captures all categories of China like its food. Therefore, I feel completely fine when saying Chinese food is equivalent to American football. You just can't escape it, so why not embrace it.
Honestly, Chinese culture also puts the most effort into food, more than practically any other major country. An early practice from years past was food brought the fun in parties, not Netflix. Obviously, it is quite a Chinese thought process, which is why this only applied with Chinese get-togethers. Further evidence of the ingestion power is the sheer amount of restaurants you will find in any shopping mall in China. They might as well rename malls 'food centers' because multiple floors would be filled with all varieties of restaurants.
Now, complimenting so generously always means there is a catch. In this case, it was the airplanes. By no means am I critiquing the plane service or flight experience. In fact, Air China was surprisingly good (mainly because of the food). However, up until this point in my traveling career, not once did I have a canceled flight. Ever. That's very lucky of me. And especially since the first canceled flight wasn't a major transatlantic flight. But eventually we would have a canceled flight somewhere, and why not here? A small, two-hour flight from Beijing to Nanjing got canceled due to a massive typhoon in the East China Sea, so we stayed overnight at a 'local' hotel, located an hour away from anything interesting.
After sounded waiting for luggage at the canceled flight carousel, to waiting for new tickets at the domestic flights desk, to waiting for a guy to pick us up for the hotel bus, to waiting for the bus to the hotel, we finally arrived at the hotel, which was alright. It included all meals... which sucked. Unfortunately, we made the mistake of eating, so when mom's old college friend came around to give us a Beijing food education, we already felt relatively full.
So far, China has yet to throw us a bone. We've waited, and waited, and ate terrible food. All things I wasn't looking forward to. But that could all change, which it did. We drove to Beijing Hualian Shopping Ctr. in the District of Shunyi, the one where it's more of a giant ingestion festival of restaurants. And there was so much food! I understand I just ate (my stomach let me know), but all the flavors wafting through the air in an enclosed mall really made my mouth water. We found Xibei Oat Noodle Village that had a small line and ordered (the adults did the talking) and boom! Suddenly a bunch of buckwheat noodles and sorghum soups were at the table, mostly Northern tradition. And like I said, we made the mistake of eating before, but we still made good progress on most of the dishes.
Returning to the hotel in high spirits, I felt satisfied at the food selections and their taste. The only thing missing was a long night's sleep, which occurred an hour later. Most of all, I felt relaxed, understanding that although things didn't go as planned, sometimes the gray areas of travel are also the best moments.
(Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing
the UNESCO Heritage Site)
(Beijing Intl Press Photo Week
National Museum of China 01/22/1989)
(Long Time No See over 20 Years 08/16/2018)
(Glazed Pagoda in Fragrant Hill Park 10/22/1985)
春游(Spring Outing 04/05/1986)
(Buckwheat Noodles & Sorghum Soups)
北京小吃(Authentic Beijing Flavor)
(Interior of Hualian Shopping Ctr., Shunyi)
(Underground Parking Garage of Hualian Shopping Ctr., Shunyi)
(Lobby of Beijing Capital International Airport)
(Terminal 3 Station of Airport Express)
(Entrance to Shunyi, Jingping Expressway)
(Rush Hours on the Jingping Expressway)