China Day 2: Beijing Zoo, Olympic Stadium, and Houhai Bar Street

Sorry for the long delay in between posts. I had everything almost ready, then there was news of Typhoon Bolaven headed towards Korea. Needless to say, I’ve been juggling between freaking out, buying water and flashlights, and taping my windows. For some crazy ass reason, I still had to come in to work today. Not sure what the logic is behind it, but…..yeah.

Anyways, on to more posts about my trip to China!

The second day of our trip to Beijing was slam packed! I heard all about how awesome the Beijing zoo was, and I knew I wanted to see the pandas, so we headed there later in the afternoon, hoping to avoid the crowds.

Sadly, the Beijing zoo was probably the most crowded place we went to during our time in Beijing. But the pandas were worth it!

They were adorable! Pandas are my favorite, so I was really excited to see them. They just look so big and cuddly!

SIMBA! (that’s what everyone kept yelling)

This guy had the bright ass idea of jumping over the fence to get a better look at the tigers. UM WHAT?! Shortly after, 3 more people decided to do the same thing.

Sadly, the pandas, the lions and the tigers were the highlights of the Beijing zoo. All of the other animals were kept in really close quarters, and sometimes just a concrete cage with nothing resembling a natural habitat at all. So many of the animals looked visibly stressed. The elephants in particular were kept in a very, VERY, hot and humid concrete room, with just enough room to move around in a small circle. One of the elephants kept tugging at his gate, clearly looking miserable. As an avid animal lover, seeing the animals in these really terrible conditions just broke my heart.

After the Beijing Zoo, Johnny and I decided to take a short subway ride to the Olympic Park. Since the London Olympics were still going on, everyone else seemed to have the same idea. Luckily, the streets are so wide and spacious, you truly didn’t notice the crowds at all.

Really random plaque at the Olympic Park, but I loved it!

Aquatic building!

The stadium is huge, much bigger than I expected it to be. The energy in the air was palpable. There were several big screen projections around the park playing Olympic coverage. The McDonalds at the park had really awesome rooftop seating with flat screen TVs. It was perfect for sipping on a mocha and people watching.

Sadly, after this, my camera died, so pictures from my favorite part of the day are from my camera phone. I apologize for the low quality!

After a long day, I just wanted to get a drink. After a quick Google search, I found out that Houhai Bar Street in the Shichahai area of Beijing was the perfect place to go. And my gosh… I have no idea on how to get there. We took subway to the closest stop, then used the GPS on my phone to lead us there. The GPS lead us through traditional hutongs, alleyways and all sorts of craziness, but it was so cool to see a completely different side of Beijing.

The Houhai bar street is situated around Houhai lake. It was a Sunday night, so I’m not sure how it normally is, but Houhai bar street was perfect. All along the lake there are little bars with outdoor patios that were great for couples and small groups of friends, no loud music or anyone trying to get you to buy something, and no tourists (except us). It was the exact opposite of Sanlitun bar street (more on this later).

Like I said before, excuse the shitty camera phone pictures. I just wanted to give you a glimpse of what it looked it. After a long day of sightseeing, we settled into one of the bars, ordered some Tsingtaos and watched the US vs Spain Olympic basketball game. It was the perfect way to end the day.

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