Hutongs, drum show & a Starbucks strangely out of place

We had one goal today, to take Ms Selma on a cultural event, far away from iPad & Shopkins or tsum tsums. It didn’t start off well seeing she started to complain at breakfast already but we were determined. We wanted to take her to the Drum Tower to see the show and believe it or not, we made it (with a few stops on the way).

The morning started off with me having a date with Ms L for some feet/hand pampering that was waaaaay over due (read I haven’t been since I left Kyiv..) So we headed off in the direction of Lily’s – famous nail chain here in China. We ended up in a different place but with the same result – mine blue & Ms L went miles out of her comfort zone & went for pink. Now that’s brave! 😉 And I would be lying if I didn’t say it felt divine to be pampered and it seemed like we provided them with a good laugh in the morning. Not really sure for what exactly but have a sneaky feeling it had something to do with our difficulty defining what a nude pink really look like. 💅🏻 What can I say, we aim to please.  

With the glamour part done, the exploring part of the day began. We took the scenic route, meaning the Beijing subway. And that’s no joke. It’s not everywhere you get to ride the subway while watching TV-commercials swing by outside the window. Talk about a digital ride. We stepped out of the subway in the beginning of the Hutongs. The hutongs are residential neighborhoods which still form the heart of Old Beijing. They’re basically alleys formed by lines of siheyuan, traditional courtyard residences, and many old neighbourhoods were actually formed by joining one siheyuan to another in order to create a hutong. Today though, there are not many left & too be honest, the ones that are left, are cluttered with tourist “treasures”. That’s not saying they’re not worth visiting…Just be prepared to share them with a lot of others. Sharing is caring after all. And as it’s been one of those hot ones again today, drink breaks were plentiful. We also tried finding a place to have lunch but with a fussy 7-year old, that’s not an easy task. This place had no food but good drinks and the clientele was quite nice looking… 😉Like I mentioned earlier, the Hutongs have become a bit of a tourist haven of small kitschy shops but it kind of works. Even this one. Recognise the sign?No matter the shock and amaze of finding the green/white twin-tailed mermaid in the middle of the Hutongs, it must be one of the most beautiful Starbucks around. It was hard to catch it’s beauty inside as it was kind of cramped, you just have to trust me. The tiles in the ceiling & the carved entrance alone would be worth paying for. After a couple of stops in various toy stores along the way we finally made it to the Drum Tower. The Drum Tower was built in 1272 during the reign of Kublai Khan which is kind of cool when you think about it. We get to experience things you’ve only read about in books or seen in movies.. Originally it was built for musical reasons, it was later used to announce the time and is now a tourist attraction.

The road up to the drums consist of a very steep set of stairs so my thighs received a complete workout today. But it was well worth it. One of the drums up there is an original from the first 24.. Remember when it was built? That’s kind of impressive. And equally impressive was the view over Beijing, the city of contrasts indeed..As well as the show we were treated to when we arrived up the stairs. The guy in the middle must think he’s rather cool. I know I would.​

After the show it was done, it was time to head home.. Ms Selma is having her first sleepover at our apartment. With a boy. Not sure yet how I should feel about that. But I’m sure I’ll let you know when I’ve figured it out… 

Until then, have a great Saturday evening friends.

Love from Beijing ❤️

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