I recently discovered the area surrounding a large lake in Beijing called Hou Hai (“ho-hi”). I spent an evening (see pictures) eating and drinking. It was Belle’s last night in Beijing before she returned to Sichuan and a couple of her students took her here for dinner. Christopher (late of EF) lives in a hutong with a private deck (“well, excuuse me!”) in the area and joined in.
I went back a couple of times during the day, culminating in my outing with Madison (see next blog posting after this.) It’s actually fairly close to me (no small deal in a city of this size) and I can be there within 30 minutes on only two subways. Although it’s somewhat touristy (Chinese tourists, for the most part) there are other areas surrounding the district that include Hutongs, the low-slung residences that comprise the warren of alleys and lanes that are usually housed in courtyards that are typical of Beijing before the era of high-rise apartments along with non-tourist restaurants and bars. The entire area is very vibrant with plenty of sights and anyone visiting can easily spend a day in this general vicinity. You really feel you’re in a “real”, original area of Beijing.There are bars and restaurants lining both sides of the lake and the din of canned and live music is all around. Sort of like Bourbon Street minus the jazz and po boys.