Incidentally, I didn't race last weekend due to wintry mix. I'm not too worried about running the race itself, but driving 45 minutes to the race in icy condition is just too much of a risk.
Next weekend though, I'm planning to run the Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis 5K. Looks like there's a bunch of these runs going on this weekend.
I'm really disappointed with running right now. I'm not motivated, injury is still a limiting factor, and my mileage totally sucks! My lack of motivation stems from fear of failure. Basically, I'm afraid of starting a run and not knowing when my IT band will cramp up. It varies too. Last Monday, it was at 4 miles. Today, it was at 2.5 miles.
So in order to not dwell on the negative, I decided to switch some focus on my other passion - travelling. :)
Anyways, without further ado, here are a few pix:
Is that cute or what?
Some odd dishes at the Night Market (wonder if they're BFL-friendly? ;)).
Apparently, they eat these. I'm guessing grilled? They even have silkworm cocoon. I tried looking for their famous scorpions on a stick, but we came too early and not all the stalls were open yet.
Great Wall of China
Temple of Heaven
It was an awesome trip! My overall impression of Beijing is that it's big and new. The buildings are all new and gigantic and the roads are unbelievably wide! The primary mode of transportation there is still the bicycle, but there are also a lot of motorized vehicles. China is clearly in the middle of an economic boom.
Other things we did:
- We stayed at an awesome 5-star hotel throughout our stay there I can't believe how nice it was considering what we paid for the trip. Truly a bargain!
- We had a tour guide and a driver all to ourselves! Just for the six 6 of us family and friends! Like I said, a bargain of a trip! This made things easier since especially hardly anybody spoke English! It's going to be interesting when the Olympics come around next year.
- We caught an Acrobatic Show our first night there.
- Saw some Olympic venues in passing but they were still under construction.
- Saw what was supposed to be a Disney amusement park but is now a ghost town. It was abandoned when they decided to build Disney Hong Kong.
- Went to the Silk Factory where they demonstrated the life cycle of a Silk Worm and how they make their famous quilts (Mom bought a whole bed set - $$$)
- Went to a Jade Factory in the mountains where they make REAL jade figurines and jewelries. Typically, the ones you see in the markets are not guaranteed 100% jade (just some jade materials injected into glass). Real 100% jade changes color with time - turns much shiner and darker green the older it gets - which makes it a great heirloom piece. It is also also really hard and requires a lot of force to break. I bought a nice jade bangle as my one big souvenir. Set me back a few bucks but so worth it! :)
- Had a foot massage (apparently a must in Beijing). They tried to sell as herbal medicine by having "doctors" (quacks in my opinion) diagnose your condition through your pulse and tongue. As someone who works for a pharmaceutical company, I didn't feel right purchasing any of their "medicines". ;) One of the ladies in our group bought $300 worth of medicines which she later regretted. I think she got pressured and just couldn't say no!
- Went to their famous Pearl Market for some serious bargaining. The trick here is to start with a 1/4 (at the most!) of the price they ask for and then eventually you meet in the middle. If you're into fake designer goods, this is the place! I'm not into it though, so I didn't buy any. I did score some good deals on a couple pearl jewelries - those I believe are real. :)
- Went to a tea house where I had the best tea! They sell the highest quality tea which requires a lot of preparation in my opinion. I asked for tea bags and I think they kind of got offended. ;)
My one disappointment was the food. As a fan of Chinese food (esp. the ones you get at China Town), I had high expectations going in. There were some good dishes, but most of them didn't agree with me. We did have THE BEST Peking (or Beijing) duck for our last meal in Beijing! OMG, I'm still dreaming of that! LOL
My next trip will be Portugal next year. I already put in a deposit! I can't wait!