The Sheraton Dongcheng is actually feeling like home these days, and we were happy to get settled into our new room, for our third check-in here. This is the Saint Jude Medical preferred hotel, so we are staying here while in BJ, since Tom is working most of those days. This is the new view from our hotel:
We had a fun lunch outing with several of Tom's colleagues. The kids and I took the subway over to meet them at a place that everyone loves. The place was packed and for good reason...some of the best food yet!
Thumbs up from Eli.
We loved the noodles with eggplant and peppers, and it was fun to chat with Tom's co-workers. Unfortunately, since it was such a little place and the line was out the door, we couldn't all sit together, but we meandered back to the subway together, and had an ice cream along the way. They helped us find some saline solution for contacts. We learned that contacts aren't as common here, so it was a bit hard to find. There is no saline at the grocery store and we had to go to the eye doctor's office to find it! The kids and I stayed at the mall looking around, and finally made our way home in late afternoon. They of course needed to get their hour of swimming in, so I got to lounge and read while they swim. Here is the view of the plaza from the 7th floor pool:
It was a lovely, but rare, blue sky day! We have seen many more blue sky days on this trip, I hope that's a sign of progress environmentally. When we got back to the room, we noticed a huge fire in the distance. It seems that a storage warehouse started on fire. It was on the news and actually ended up being part of the adventure we had in the evening.
There is a rule in BJ that there can be no more than five people in a cab. So tonight, when our family and Chai set off to meet his auntie and cousin for dinner, we split into two cars. Girls in one, boys in the other. Chai told the driver where to go, but he didn't know the area exactly, so we were going to follow them.
Well, traffic was horrible on the Third Ring road due to the fire, so our driver veered off trying to find a quicker route. Em and I got nervous right away, but I was trying to play it cool so she wouldn't get too worried. After driving for about 20 minutes, I turned on all of my cellular options and started trying to text, WeChat, call, message...but nothing was going through. At about 40 minutes, the driver started asking us, if we knew where to go. Luckily Em could translate for us, but we had no clue! The driver pulled off by the bridge Chai had mentioned and told me to call them. But still, nothing was going through. The driver then tried from his phone. At this point, I realized that Tom probably had his cellular options turned only to Wi-Fi (since it's expensive we usually have them set like that when we are together) and I only have Chai's phone from the States programmed in, and he is using his Chinese phone. We sat there looking at each other wondering what to do and in that miraculous moment....bbbeeeeeeeeeppppp....their taxi came cruising down the road past us, horn blaring.
What a relief! We were then able to follow them a few more blocks to the restaurant. Em and I decided we would have just had the driver take us to the nearest subway station and we would have gotten back to the hotel, but luckily they found us.
Needless to say, all phones and phone numbers have been stored, reset and tried out so that we know we can reach each other if that ever happens again!!
Our dinner was delicious and it was great to see Chai's auntie and cousin, whom we had met in 2012. They will be in the US in a few weeks, so we will also get to see them again.
We had some yummy seafood and also, some Peking duck, which we love!
Luckily, the taxi ride home was uneventful but Em and I took Tom with us, just to look tough in case we needed him!