Sunday, November 13, 2005

Another great day today. Before I talk about that I thought I'd put on a photo of a wonderful fruit I found yesterday at one of the markets. I picked it up just because it looked so strange but it turns out to be utterly delicious. I think it's called a dragon fruit though I'm not completely sure, so if anyone knows better, please tell me.

So today four of us went to a place called Xiangshan, which is a hill/small mountain which in the autumn has incredible displays of red leaved trees. Unfortunately we missed this by a couple of weeks but next September if anyone fancies coming to visit, that is when it is most spectacular.

The trip wasn't wasted though and though it took over two hours to get up, the views were awesome. You get a real feeling for how big Beijing is. The answer is utterly unimaginably vast. We climbed about 600m above Beijing and looking over it, the city reached the horizon and presumably some way beyond. From up there the smog is pretty easy to see as the city is in a haze even on a blue sky day. It's been very cold today but apart from when we came down on the chair lifts, it's been just right for a brisk hike. Anyway, here are some photos from the day:

This one was taken before going up. It's quite a way to the top:

Once at the top, this was the stunning panoramic view on one side of the mountain (Click on it to see it in more detail):

This is the four of us who went to the top. On the left is Feng, the Taiwanese guy who's been helping me out. To my right is Bo Hu who is a visiting professor from another province and to his right is Ling-Mei who is another postdoc in my group.

If you want to know where they fit 14 million Beijingers and me, the answer is up a mountain:

and finally this is us taking the easy way down:

After this we were all feeling pretty tired so went to a tea house and ordered three different types of tea. I find it tough choosing food and drink because given several options, I'm generally none the wiser as to what I may end up with. Anyway, the teas arrived in elegant glass tea pots and were refilled constantly for the next hour.

After this, we walked for another half an hour before finding a Cantonese restaurant were we had a hotpot. Each person chooses the base for their stew which comes with a little gas heater. You then choose a selection of meets and veg to cook in the soup/stew and dig in together. Again I had no idea what we ordered but when it arrived it was delicious. Stop reading here Joanna and anyone else who isn't into offal.

It turns out that the most delicate, tasty thing we ordered was pigs brain which is absolutely stunning. It's extremely soft and a very subtle flavour but supremely tasty. So here's a selection of some of the things we tried, the pigs brain being the pink one in the middle.


Michelle said...

yup, thats dragon fruit. yummy, isn't it!

Jonathan Shock said...

absolutely stunning, though shouldn't be eaten in one sitting I've just found to my detriment.