Saturday, August 12, 2006


I woke up this morning with a head cold. Nothing like venturing into a muggy Beijing morning stuffed up and sneezing. I think it's the extremes of going from my air-conditioned room to the heat outdoors.

This morning I went to the Summer Palace, essentially a big-ass summer cottage resort built for China's emperors in the 1700s, complete with a massive man-made lake, islands and causeways. A lot of the buildings were closed for renovation as part of the great fix-up for the Olympic games. It was also another smoggy, cloudy day so you couldn't see far.

The highlight was lunch. My host took me to a little restaurant that does Mongolian hot pots. Awesome. They put a big pot and burner on your table. The pot is divided into a spicy chili mixture and a more savoury liquid. Once it's boiling you plop in the food to cook -- things like strips of raw beef and mutton, vegetables, and shrimp. Oh, we also ordered cubes of gelatinized pig blood. It's much better than it sounds, especially when you dip it in the accompanying sesame sauce. It was one of the tastiest meals I've had since I got here.

Today I'm doing some planning for the next leg of my journey -- India. Interviews are finally falling into place for Mumbai. But it's a pain in the ass to get from China to India, let me tell you. I might end up flying Air Ethiopia! There are no direct flights from Beijing to Mumbai, so I'll have to fly to Delhi, then catch a connector.

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