Holiday Time in Beijing! Take 1

Here in China there is one big festival – Chinese New Year – and lots of smaller festivals that may or may not rate a day off.  For school children and their teachers, there is about a month of vacation to spend.  Many have gone home to visit family and friends, while others are exploring this corner of the world.  And me?  I’m hanging around Beijing, learning Chinese, eating out a lot and spending too much time on the computer!

The first weekend of the break was COLD – very, very cold by Beijing standards with a wind chill of -28 degrees C.  I did not bring enough layers to deal with that kind of cold, so I stayed indoors.  I didn’t even venture out to the garbage cans.  Instead I knit, played games, practiced my Chinese and made a fabulous pot of Chicken Soup – a great broth with those easily obtained chicken feet, and chicken hearts (which I really, truly do like!)

If you are planning to live in Beijing, do bring along a warm jacket, especially if you wear plus-size clothing.  I do, so buying a heavier jacket is something I haven’t tackled yet!  I do layer up, and my weight loss has allowed me to still feel comfortable in the jacket I brought.  More about that another time!

Monday was fairly warm and not too windy so I took myself and my garbage out for the afternoon.  I was chasing after a frying pan, but found out too late where I should go.  I went to the Silk Market instead.  It’s pretty easy to get to on the # 1 line, but still requires me to do two transfers.  Switching trains isn’t usually a quick switch, so you have to budget time for it.  However, the station (Yonganli) exits directly into the Silk Market.  Next time I’ll take the long way and go in by the street!

The first floor is all bags, purses and luggage – and they all want you to come into their store.  I was a friend, lady, dear lady…. but everyone seemed to want me to give up my MEC back pack and get something from them.  I didn’t even look at prices really, I was so eager to get away from them.  Almost every store was like that, but the eating area was worst, I think.  People pushing their menus in my way, not letting me look at the displays and suggesting things I should eat.  I ate nothing, even though I was getting a bit hungry!

If your time in Beijing is limited, then the Silk Market can be a one-stop shop for souveniers. However,  if you have time, I would recommend spending it elsewhere.  I may go back to buy some very colourful sheets, or dresses for the girls, but fortunately I do have time on my side.  Not everyone does!  (Side note, there is a geocache a little walk from there, but go at meal times as the Bleu Marine is closed in the mid afternoon.  I took a picture of the tiling around the trees.  I don’t know what they are like in the spring, but I thought it was cool that they were included in the design!


Today was a quieter day.  I ventured back to Sanlitun (accessable from the #10 line) for the Tuesday afternoon gathering of the Beijing Guild (knitters, crocheters, crafters… ) a diverse group of people that take over restaurants to eat, drink and make things.  It is a lovely way to meet people and have fun.  Today I met people from Mexico, Venezuela, Germany, Taiwan and Denmark, all helping each other and encouraging.  So much fun!  Today we met at The Woodhouse, a smallish restaurant (Western style food) that is conveniently attached to the Page One book store.  For a reasonable amount I enjoyed a delicious salad, Spaghetti Carbonera and dessert.  Yum!  Gotta go back there sometime!  It’s good to know places where you can get a good salad!

I started this post because I was reflecting on the difference five months has made.  I have way more confidence about finding my way around (and getting lost)  even though I prefer doing that during the day!  The subways are still full, but my walking sticks help me get a seat when I need one.  And I don’t always need one –  I’m much better able to stand for an hour if needed!  Beijing has been kind to me and I am enjoying it much more each day!

Thanks for sharing the journey and enjoy exploring the place you call home – there aere always surprises to find and share with your friends!





About Marcia Stehouwer

I have a great life (most days) and a small budget, so being frugal is one of my favourite hobbies. I started this blog after procrastinating for 3 months, on April Fool's Day. I knit, I read, I knit, I work... I am also about a quarter of the way through my goal to lose 100 pounds. So between knitting, working, reading etc., I also do some walking! EDIT: 2021. I am not closer to my weight goal, but moving forward. The budget is still small. We are renting our homestead and progressing towards our family dream!
This entry was posted in Life's Work, Teaching In Beijing, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Holiday Time in Beijing! Take 1

  1. I love your blog Marcia. Having been to Beijing twice, I can reminisce through your words and experiences, bringing back very fond memories. Thanks for sharing and letting me journey with you.

  2. Ponnie says:

    I am so happy for you sis! And maybe just a tad bit jealous. You have worked hard for this time…God bless you! ❤

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