Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Where A Potentially Disappointing Situation Becomes A Most Pleasant Outing

So after a nap, a delicious (albeit expensive) run to Mickey D's, and an hour of coloring pictures (which was more fun than my adult self cares to admit) we finally started watching for signs of an incoming plane from Istanbul. It was very exciting when we found out that the plane was landing almost 45 minutes early, and we rushed to the gate so we could find the perfect spot to greet the family.

And we waited.

And waited. (No, this is not the Potentially Disappointing Situation. Patience.)

We should have known better. Almost an hour and a half later they FINALLY emerged! So much for being ahead of schedule.

But we were SO EXCITED to see everyone. It was so crazy that we were all in CHINA together. And it was especially great to see Brigette. For those who don't know, Brigette and I were roommates before I ever met Spencer and were really close. I LOVE this girl. And I hadn't seen her for almost two years because she left to serve an 18 month mission for our church just over a year before we left for China. So I was one seriously happy camper.

We got to our hotel faster than anticipated, and were happy to find that it was located right next to the impressive Beijing train station. The hotel was clean, spacious, and the beds were only kind of hard. If you haven't been to China (or any Asian country for that matter), beds are generally rock hard. They have mattresses, but it literally feels like you are sleeping on a wooden block. So kind of hard is fantastic.

Now for the source of this post's title. After checking in our plan was to go out for Peking duck for dinner. Spencer and I had looked up a well-known restaurant and had a google map printed out for one of the listed addresses so we could find it easily. We knew we would be hungry (which we were) and exhausted (which we were) and we wanted to be able to get there quickly so we could eat and then get back to the hotel and in bed at a reasonable hour. So for the first leg of the trip we introduced the family to the metro...

Brigette was REALLY tired...

And then walked to the address for the restaurant that we had found online. It was a commercial building. Surrounded by more commercial buildings. Spencer asked a few people on the street...the restaurant wasn't there. Sadness commenced. It had already been a longer walk then we thought it would be, and we were hungry. We finally decided to just start walking back and find something else to eat; Peking duck would have to wait for another night. We walked up and down alleys, and I had a horrible sinking feeling that the dirty, scary street shops that Spencer and I had grown accustomed to were not going to cut it that night for our weary group. I felt helpless and discouraged and disappointed in the less than ideal beginning of our trip.

Oh me of little faith. Almost in a double take, Spencer saw a small sign in front of a hotel-looking building that said they served...Peking duck! Cue a MAJOR sigh of relief from me.

Peking duck is not just a dish, it's an experience. A whole roasted duck is brought out and carved right in front of you. It is served with a thin steamed pancake (kind of like an egg roll wrapper), hoisin sauce or something similar, scallions, and cucumbers and you create your own yummy wrap.

The fixin's

Demonstrating "proper" assemblage.

Small package of goodness.
Oh.My.Delicious. I don't think I am the only one who would say that it was the favorite meal of the entire trip. We scarfed it down along with some other awesome dishes, enjoyed being together, and then drowsily made our way back to the hotel. It was a late night but we were full and happy. A Most Pleasant Outing.

So if you are ever in Beijing, be sure to find Peking duck. It is so very very good. And Spencer and I have been craving it ever since we got back to the States. So if you know somewhere we can get good Peking duck, let us know!

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