Technically I shouldn’t say this but I missed an economics lecture as our host family (a few posts back) met us again that afternoon one last time before we had to leave.
They took us to a hutong that even they hadn’t been to! After 7 years of living there, they hadn’t been so that was surprising. There was this sign/plaque at the entrance (I think it’s the entrance?) saying what the street was and the layout.
The shops were pretty cheap too, probably the cheapest I saw in Beijing, and we did some more shopping (despite being a group of 1 girl and 2 guys) and the host family were great with translation and helping us find some nice gifts. The father took us to this shop selling stones/expensive gems and gave us a bit of history about it.
It turns out we were near a lake which we had visited on one of our first days there. The lake has loads of bars around it (which is why we went…) but I had no idea about the hutong behind it!
The strangest part of that day was what happened next. There weren’t that many seats so we gave a chair to these guys sat next to us, and the little girl sat on her dad’s lap and the guys were setting up this board game. The next thing we know, is that they are trying to teach us, how to play. The language barrier was definitely a problem and this game was so complicated the mother didn’t understand how to play, let alone explain it to us so we ended up just chatting to them for a while. It was bizarre to say the least.
They then took us out for dinner at a different hotpot restaurant. Apparently the one we went to is known for being spicy – which would have been useful to know as I think the first time a few people felt like they were on fire. This one was different though because each person gets their own pot and choice of soup base.
They also gave us this satay kind of sauce which was nice. The host family were really great though because they knew what to order (unlike us) and ordered loads of strange things. Delicious all the same, but strange.
And on the way out, the manager saw us waiting near the freezer and opened it, and gave us an ice-cream each! Definitely made one of the best days there even better!