After a quick lunch, our UNI group reunited with Vincent, our charismatic tour guide from earlier in the week. He took us to a teahouse where a young woman introduced us to the Chinese custom of brewing and drinking tea. Most of the group then went to the Pearl Market for some more bartering/shopping, but since the Temple of Heaven was right across the street, Jennie Kies and I decided to go there instead.
Today, people of all economic levels live in hutongs because they enjoy the community life. The homes have electricity but no bathrooms, so the people who live there use public toilets and showers. Our guide took us inside a home in the hutong where we had tea with a retired gentleman who told us about his life and his home. He is the fourth generation to live in that home.
We finished the evening with a meal at a traditional Chinese restaurant. I’ve figured out how Chinese stay so trim—restaurants give you only one little plate to put your food on and you have to work so hard to get it in your mouth with just two little chopsticks. In this particular restaurant, the plate was smaller than a cup saucer, so I had to fill it up multiple times before my hunger pangs went away. The food was good, but I’m ready to go back to eating Western food with a fork again.