Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Most Wonderful Shop in the World: The Pearl Market

Yesterday I was able to experience Hot Pot for the first time. I knew it was a big soup, but I didn't know that there were two sides: yin and yang, one spicy, one bland. You order ingredients to throw into the pot, meat, veggies, mushrooms, etc. They give you a sauce (I believe it differs from restaurant to restaurant) to dip your meat and veggies in after you take it out of the boiling pot. Ours was a sesame paste that you tailored to your taste with chili oil, tofu, chive paste, or onions. Most of yesterday we spent relaxing, watching movies and hanging out with Carrie and Jacob's Chinese friends.

Today was very exciting. After a lunch which including Peking duck, we headed for the Pearl Market. Caroline, Carrie's friend from Montana who moved here, led me to a pearl store that was crammed with all different kinds of pearl necklaces. It was overwhelming the number of items to choose from. Caroline once bought a strand of pearls here for 200 kuai (about $40 U.S. dollars) that was appraised for over $300 in the States. So, you can understand the thrill I felt knowing Chris owed me a Christmas present. It was also a good place to buy gifts for all the women I owe Christmas presents. I would come back to China just for this place!

After shopping, we visited Tienanmen Square where we walked around in the freezing cold. We waited until 6 to top the evening off at Night Street where a plethora of vendors sold every imaginable thing on a stick. There were fruits, meats, bugs, lizards, star fish, sea horses, squid, snakes, sea urchins, and fried ice cream to choose from. We sampled the scorpion. It was actually quite good. After eating these odd items, we went into a mall to get warm, and then Carrie and Caroline wanted McDonald's french fries. I'm never one to turn down fries, so we all ordered some.

Tomorrow we will be back in Beijing for Church and lunch.

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