My first day in Beijing was a little rough: having reached the hotel at 2 a.m., after taking a local bus from the airport because the trains had closed for the night, I had gotten not quite as much sleep as I had hoped for. Armed with store-brand Imodium and Trumpet-brand little balls of what seem like shoe polish (a Japanese remedy for nausea), we set out for a restaurant in a hutong. Hutongs are the back alleys of Beijing, some more residential, some way more touristy and commercial. This one was pretty residential. The restaurant’s sign proclaimed a health rating of C, but I was too hungry to care. Besides, it seemed pretty popular with the locals.
Dan ordered pork with garlic and something that looked like egg rolls.
I really liked the pork, and it got devoured pretty quickly. That’s when the nausea set in. I’m not sure if it was the C-grade food or the fact that I hadn’t eaten in ages, or the fact that I was still so jetlagged, but I started feeling decidedly sick. You can see that in the picture I took in front of the restaurant:
You can also see the hair hat that Dan bought me. It’s not made out of hair, silly–it just looks like hair.
I slept off the nausea and jet lag for the rest of the afternoon, and then Dan and I ventured out into the bracing cold for some hotpot. I think hotpot (in addition to chicken feet–more on these later) may be my food nemesis. I always lose the meat somewhere at the bottom, and I never get the veggies to cook properly. That said, it’s still pretty tasty, and it’s a good choice if you’re really cold, since the steam coming off the pot will settle on your face, turning your enviably matte complexion into that of a drunk, red-faced German Businessman who has just closed an Important Business Deal with the Japanese (‘Abgemacht!’).
Then we went back to the hotel and I passed out. And that was Day 1.