Man, it's taken me so long to finish all of our China posts....but I really did want to get it done, so here it is.....
It was pouring like crazy when we left the Wushan fish restaurant, so we decided to take a cab. During the drive back, the Missus talked the cab driver into stopping at a location where She could take a photo of this:
Upon first leaving Beijing, the Missus had Her mom talk to Mr Li. We wanted to thank and pay our respects to all the great folks who took great care of us during our time in Beijing. So we decided on having everyone together for a banquet. Mr and Mrs Li picked us up and drove us through the streets of Beijing, where "he with the most nerve has the right of way." And after going through a series of stops and gates ended up on the second floor of an empty restaurant. But this wasn't just a restaurant.....it looked like we were on a military base, and this looked like the VIP/Officers club. It was nice to gather and have a meal with all the wonderful folks whom we had the pleasure of meeting in Beijing.
Once the dishes started arriving, Mr Li asked the Missus why I hadn't brought out my camera....sheepishly I had the Missus explain that "tonight is for friends....no pictures". Which didn't last very long. I did restrain myself and only took photos of two dishes that Mr Li and Mr Doo explained were very special. The first was a very tasty deer tendon dish.
The second this delicious fish and beancurd dish.
It was another wonderful night. I really am indebted to these folks for welcoming me and really making me feel welcome.
The Missus and I didn't sleep much that night. We spent much of the night reminiscing......we'd done so much in our time in China.
From arriving in Beijing and hiking the Great Wall.
And my love for Suan Ni (sour milk - yogurt) and Lu Rou Huo Shao(donkey meat):
And of course the Forbidden City.
The Missus' soul may reside in Beijing; but Her heart remains in Her hometown of QingDao.
It was a great time revisiting all of those places that the Missus held in Her memory.
I was amazed and touched at how the Missus' family just welcomed me into the fold, as if I'd always been part of this wonderful clan. And of course, there were all those banquets...even two in one day! But what I remember most fondly is the soulful cooking of Fifth Aunt.
We had a chance to visit Jinan and meet relatives whom the Missus doesn't even remember.
I got a chance to meet some serious foodies, as the Aunts and Uncles here are really serious about their food.
In Hangzhou, I had a chance to visit West Lake(Xī Hú) which looked post card perfect.
And had a couple of chances to taste what is arguably Hangzhou's most famous dish Dongpo Rou a couple of times.
Suzhou remains one of the places I'd like to revisit. There's an amazing air of delicate artistry to the city. The Missus tells me, even the accent is rather delicate. The canals and gardens are studies in aesthetic design and beauty.
Nanjing, the "Capital of Six Dynasties" was our next stop. A proud city, with it's own unique beauty.
And it's own special dishes.....
There's a saying in Chinese that "two places ten miles apart don't share the same habits". We found that true of food as well.
There are times when grand descriptions of places really don't live up to expectations. I'll say this much, the Army of Terracotta Warriors exceeded my expectations.
As did the food!
I appreciated the the stick to your ribs flavors of Qin Cuisine.
In Chengdu/Jiangyang we met my Father In Laws family. Though we didn't have much time in the area, we managed to have a memorable dinner, with a dish that tasted like no other I'd ever had before.
We didn't know what we ate until we came home and the Missus saw the restaurant's sign.....
But hey, those Pandas at the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base are really cute.
The Missus thought this was really funny.....at my expense:
Which led us back to where we started...Beijing.
There was so much we had done....so much we had seen.....we dozed off and before you knew it, the sun had risen over Beijing, morning had broken. The ever gracious Mrs Li took us out breakfast before we left for the airport....the new Beijing, pumpkin porridge.
With the more traditional youtiao.....
In my mind, this is the China I visited.....so much is changing, so new, so quick, and yet, the backbone of tradition exists. I hope that history, the pride in declaring where you came from, the sense of identity, never goes away.....