Recap: Beijing, China

While we were traveling in Beijing, we always came back to the hotel completely exhausted. So I thought I should recap on everything that happened. AND I raided my sister-in-law’s pictures–y’all should see some of the pics she took. I love the panorama’s that her camera takes. Note to Self: Next camera needs to have a panorama feature.

My roommate recommended this company: Beijing Downtown Backpackers Accommodation. We didn’t stay there BUT I can tell you that I think it would be an excellent and affordable accommodation, they have these nifty cards that can help you get around the city with all of the main attractions (and with the aid of taxi’s), they also have different attractions that you can sign up for. For example, we were looking to go to a Beijing Opera House and see a performance but we had a little trouble finding the right one — they had a list on their wall with different events like the Opera, Acrobatics Shows, and Kung Fu Performances. And in addition to these things they offer a unique experience at the Great Wall. We all wanted to go to a part of the Great Wall that had remained relatively untouched. “Jinshanling Great Wall and Simatai Great Wall are the two most ruined, precipitous, original, preserved sections of the Great Wall in Beijing. The hike from the west Jinshanling to the east Simatai is the most challenging Great Wall hike in Beijing. The 6-km hike takes about 3.5 hours passing 22 watch towers…”

This was my patch-work job of a panorama picture… it just doesn’t have the same effect. Come on Photoshop!

Ah yes, the Summer Palace. If you have to decide between the Forbidden City or the Summer Palace —  I recommend the Summer Palace. A. It’s beautiful. B. There are still A LOT of people (b/c it’s China) but they are much more spread out and C. You won’t be looking at the same thing everywhere you look. I could definitely stay at this Summer Palace. Bring your walking shoes. It covers around 3 square kilometers and most of that is water that you are walking around. There are also a lot of amazing building/temples on top of mountains, so get ready to climb as well. Beware: It’s still very touristy and you’ll probably get ripped off one way or another. But if you are looking for souvenirs, you’ll definitely be able to find them here. But something else that is cool is that you can find more locals, water calligraphers, and other cool stuff. This place is huge, outside of the city, and you could easily spend a week here and still not have seen everything.

Check out this Youtube video I took while at the Summer Palace!


This is the Dong Hua Men Night Market. Now they call it a night market but it closes around 9-9:30. I like a night market to be open till about 4 am. Not that I would be awake to go to it… but all the people still at drinkin’ could. If you are in Beijing, this place is a must see. They have some of the strangest things that you would have never ever though edible. But I think their theory must be similar to certain parts of The South — anything can be deep fried. This image is relatively tame — but they have everything from fruits and veggies, sugar drinks, seafood, meat, organs, and bugs. GROSS. But oh-so interesting. We saw sheep penis, sheep testicles, and sheep kidney–all on a stick. The place reeks of an organ smell. I don’t know how else to describe it. It was so entertaining.



Today I am thankful for: my free Krispey Kreme doughnut (just for walking in) and a free Coke under a Coke promotional tent. I guess I’ve had enough sugar to last me all week long. RUN TOMORROW.

Note: Pictures other than the night market (unless otherwise specified) were taken by my sister in law and have been given an identification marker when you scroll over the photograph. Her pictures are marked under “JECC” in the header. 

Sichuan Folk Restaurant

A sweet coworker took my roommates and I out to eat at a restaurant that serves food from his hometown — which is near and dear to his heart — he is from the Hunan Provence. Have you ever eaten Sichuan food? It’s HOT! Well…. it’s a different kind of hot — regardless, it was hot for me (which isn’t saying much). My lips felt like they were bright red and on fire. Luckily, I ordered a Lg. Pepsi to go along with my meal (I know, I know… there was no Coke). This is unusual for me — I’m not going to talk about the meal I ate that night… although it was both delicious and interesting (one dish was Pig’s Foot Soup…), Nope, I’m going to share with you my entertainment that evening…

Watch the video above or check it out here! This was great. The audience was treating this character like he was a Hollywood Star. While the music was still playing he came out into the audience and shook people hands and posed for pictures… and some of the people in the audience were interesting as well. I just had to get a picture of the guy sitting behind me.

Okay… I know I’m being ugly… but… the 80’s called and they want their shorts back! And what y’all can’t see that I tried so desperately to capture, is that the back of this guys shirt said SLEEK. It’s really difficult taking sneaky pictures of people. Anyway… he really made me laugh whether it was intentional or not. I will say, you’re pretty ballsy if you’ll go out in public wearin’ this get up. (look Mom, I spelled wear correctly today :)) I have a feeling y’all might not think that this guy was as funny as I thought he was… but that’s okay.

These were my left over plates after dinner. Notice that the Pigs Foot Soup is the only thing still standing…


Today I am thankful for: seeing my roommate push someone out of the subway train. This jerk was shoving people so that he could fit into the subway and this time… there really was no more room. So my roomie just shoved him back and the doors closed. Ha. Okay– that’s a crappy thing to be thankful for… hmmmm… I’m thankful that it’s Friday. There ya go.

Long Beach, MS: Darwell’s Café

So there is this awesome cafe that my dad took me to when went and visited Gulfport, MS. I think it’s actually located in Long Beach — but that’s neither here nor there… He told me that this is the local hot spot and they serve the best food… EVER. And guess what ?? They have even been on Diner’s, Drive-In’s, and Dive’s.

The Place: Darwell’s Cafe

The Mission: To serve Bad Ass food to all who seek it.

The Menu: see below

Darwell's Cafe Menu

I never saw this menu when I walked in the door. I just saw a bunch of things on old-school neon colored Poster Board.

So we ordered our food, (which you’ll see a bit later) and then we go to get our drinks. And who serves them up? None other than Young Darwell, himself. My dad gets his typical Styrofoam cup; however, for all of the women who come in get their very own personalized cup that has been drawn on by Papa Darwell — who hangs out at this hotspot as well.  How cool is that? Oh, and this is the best part… they don’t have Rootbeer on “tap” so they serve it ice cold out of the can. Darwell told me that I could have as many as I wanted AND that I could even take 1 or 2 for the road when we left. Ahhhhhh, I love this place.

AAC Darwell CupsYep, you have to be jealous.

AAC Blackened Dish

My dad ordered the shrimp, crabmeat, and blackened beeftips. It was a special and maybe one of the best dishes I have ever had. I, typically, don’t order anything blackened because all too often chef’s seemingly think that blackened means burning whatever it is that you are cooking. Well well well. Not at Darwell’s. The beef was absolutely de-vine and it was seasoned to perfection (Oh, Mr. Darwell — tell me your secrets). The crab meat was perfectly tender and the shrimp was literally to die for. YUM.

AAC Cheeseburger Club Sandwich

This my friends is a Cheeseburger Club Sandwich. I, unknowingly, didn’t go with delicious seafood but went with something a bit unusual. A Cheeseburger Club Sandwich. It had grilled sliced ham and lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, maybe some bacon (I don’t remember) and a cheeseburger, of course. I was so delighfully surprised. Now, I know, that the best burger is an Awesome Burger. See this post. But this has to be a very very close second. Oh, it was so good. My dad and I split our meals so that we could share … somewhat equally — he’s a good sharer. I. Am. Not.

The atmosphere is great. They come and find you when your food is ready. It’s both indoors and outdoors. We ate indoors. But in both places you’ll find your share of really great Kitche Artwork. And outside you’ll see some sign that were left over from when Hurricane Katrina passed through Long Beach, MS.

AAC Darwell's Indoors

AAC Darwell's Outdoors

Ok now a video that you will just want to see so that you can go down to Darwell’s with more than just my word. Let’s go with someone famous… like Guy Fieri. You have to believe him, because I say so.

I guess Anthony Bourdain said it right —  and these guys listened. A big thank you to Darwell’s from me and my Pop’s. It was lovely. Check them out here!!

Roll Tide

Everyone has been trying to make sure that I have seen this commercial. So now it’s my job to educate all of you.

My friends and I have seen tons of Alabama fans when traveling and you instantly know that you can go up to them, say “Roll Tide” and then suddenly you’re with instant friends. My mom and I have actually met an Alabama fan when traveling to Nebraska. He was talking about how he always keeps a broken TV on his porch so that he’ll always have a broken TV to throw out into the road when Alabama has really done something awful. Particularly during any Alabama vs. Auburn game. I think he got tired of throwing his perfectly good TV out the window. Oh, only in Alabama. It was absolutely hilarious hearing this man talk.

I hope y’all are having a great Christmas Holiday. Roll Tide y’all. PLTW.

The Invisible Man

Liu Bolin

“Liu Bolin, the 35 year old artist from Shandong, China has mastered the art of camouflaging himself against virtually any background.

The talented Liu Bolin says his art is a protest against the actions of the Government, who shut down his art studio in 2005 and persecutes artists. It’s about not fitting into modern society. Despite problems with Chinese authorities, Liu’s works are appreciated at an international level.

Liu often works over 10 hours straight on his art to achieve masterful perfection.”  (Quoted text borrowed from this website)

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