Today was a bit of a down day. Taking a little time to recharge now that the school trip part was over and we were heading out on our own. The first thing we did was change hotels. Not far, just a few blocks. I know that sounds silly since we already spent 4 nights at the other hotel, but I had my reasons. First was cost. I saved a lot of money changing hotels. The one the school booked for us was a little pricey and by using a travel website that I earn rewards with I was able to upgrade my room and use a credit that I had. Second, the hotel, based on the pictures online, looked more like our style when it comes to hotels. Looking at pictures of the lobby and facilities I could just sense we might be happier there. Sometimes I change hotels if I am staying in a city for longer than a few days. This gives me a change of scenery and some new places to frequent in close proximity to the hotel. This was a change just a few blocks away but it was still nice to have a slight change in scenery.
The new hotel was Park Plaza and I was absolutely right. This hotel was wonderful. We knew the second we walked in that it was a step up from the previous place. We checked into our room and and looked around. Loved this room!
The view was also so much better than the last location. And there was a Starbucks right out front! Now, keep in mind I live nowhere near a Starbucks. I know that is hard to believe, but seriously, Starbucks is 45 minutes away from me, so it isn't an everyday thing. One part of vacation that I like is easy access to "home". At the last hotel the only thing I could find for coffee was McCafe, which wasn't terrible, but it wasn't Starbucks.
Did you notice that our room had this very nice floor to ceiling window and we could stand there and get a nice view. Loved it! I highly recommend this hotel if you are in Beijing. The staff was friendly, the breakfast was pretty good, and they were overall helpful with meeting our needs, whatever those may be.
They gave us these fun mochi treats.
We needed to grab some lunch before it got too late, so we headed out to the same pedestrian street we had gone to the past few nights. On our way we walked by a hotel where there were window washers literally dangling. Quite a few of them too. It looked very unsafe but of course we couldn't stop looking. At least they looked like they knew what they were doing!
For lunch we tried out Bellagio, one of the restaurants in the mall. I read a review for this place in a tour book, although it was another location, and we had passed by a few nights before, so we thought this would be as good as any to try out. Plus everything looked really good that we saw people eating the other day.
The decor was nice and I liked that the restaurant was open along the mall. It was fun to people watch!
Ordering a drink here was probably the most difficult experience ever. I tried to order multiple beverages but they were all sold out so I eventually had to settle on distilled water. No regular bottled water and no Coke zero. Just distilled!
I also decided that the watermelon juice with coconut milk and sago sounded too goo to pass up. I was right! I first discovered sago when I was in Malaysia. It's very similar to tapioca and common in Asian desserts (some Asian countries, more like Southeast Asia I guess).
I started off with the celery, carrot and yuba dish I had at the hospital the other day. It was good, but I had hoped for more vegetables.
At least my shrimp entree came with some more veggies. This was also very good.
Ryan had a noodle dish for his entree.
Plus some gyoza since he has a hard time passing those up these days.
After lunch we walked around the mall for a little but and were interested in these cheesecakes. Lots of people were walking out with cheesecakes and we are never ones to pass up a cheesecake (remember the Sapporo incident?) so we hopped in line too.
No clue what these are, but they sell them too. These are not the cheesecakes, although these are the only cakes on display in the front.
Off we went with the cheesecake back to the hotel quickly because it was hot outside and the little ice pack inside was only good for 15 minutes. When we got back to the hotel one of the employees saw the bag and asked where we bought this because he had never heard of it. Turns out he was so curious that he asked another employee later in the evening and when we came back to the hotel that night he told us he heard it is a very good place and he wanted to go get one to try.
The cake was good, but it wasn't really cheesecake. It was more like a soufflé. Very light and fluffy. Very eggy. Not as cheesy as you would expect but it was still good.
That evening we headed to see The Legend of Jinsha acrobat show. I am not sure which one I saw last time I was here, but checking out the acrobats when in China is always a good choice. They have some very impressive acts put together.
Here is the theater. By the time we arrived there were many tour buses already packed out front. Thankfully we got there early enough that we were comfortably in our seats before the place was completely packed.
Unfortunately I didn't get the best pictures of some of the more intense action taking place on the stage. The show opened with male tumblers flipping around and doing somersaults through hoops.
Next were some very impressive contortionists. They bend in some pretty unnatural ways.
I definitely wouldn't want to be the person on the bottom of this stunt!
It's a little hard to see but she is balancing something on her foot.
And now there are two of them and lots of balancing going on. They are also balancing in the air from their mouths.
Again, hard to see here but there is some impressive balancing here. He is on a board that is rolling.
Lots more balancing.
This guy is standing on this hands on poles and just kept making the poles higher and higher.
He also did some balancing while he was up there.
Here he managed to get all the way up to the ceiling.
And then he did a split while he was all the way up there!
Next were the girls twirling plates.
As you can see this was an extensive act and they were spinning those plates the entire time. I got some pretty good pictures of them.
Next were two guys that twisted around on ropes and went up in the air spinning around together. They were good, but not the best act of the night.
Next up were a lot of girls all riding a bike at the same time. I have no idea how they all piled on there! I liked the fans out as they rode around the stage.
The finale was the motorcycle riders in the cage. This act always makes for a good final act. The motorcycles lit up and they kept the lights dimmer to make it more dramatic.
It worked, this was a pretty heart racing act. Eventually they had 4 guys in there all going around and chasing each other in circles.
They had a 5th person enter, it was a female, at the very end, but she didn't stay in for long. Ryan said she had engine trouble and that is why they let her out very quickly. I am glad that they had safety in mind and she was able to get out without anyone getting hurt. In other acts I noticed safety devices in use, which was good.
The show was good and I liked that it was about an hour long so we had enough time to go back to the hotel and have a relaxing evening with dinner and drinks.
We got back to the hotel shortly before happy hour ended. With part of our upgraded package we were able to enjoy complimentary snacks and drinks during happy hour. It was nearing the end by the time we got there, but we were able to still get a little food and a few drinks. Here are some of the food choices.
I mostly had fruit.
Eventually we made our way to the hotel lobby lounge for some dinner. Ryan had a pizza.
I had the shrimp curry laksa. Laksa is a Malaysian dish but can be found in other nearby countries. I first had this while in Kuala Lumpur last year. The hotels version was pretty good, but I was definitely worried I would end up staining my clothes as the broth was splattering everywhere as I slurped my noodles. Oh well, no messes were made and it was well enjoyed!
QUESTIONS: Have you ever seen an acrobat show? Have you ever changed hotels in the same city? Have you ever tried laksa?