A while back, I visited one of my top 10 favorite places in the capital. OK, I'll go out on a limb and say top three. Hotheaded hyperbole in the opening sentence tends to make even-keeled readers make a beeline for the business or sports pages.
I am referring to the Temple of Heaven. It's among my three favorite places to visit in Beijing, sharing the upper stories of the totem pole in my mind with Houhai and Wangfujing.
Houhai is a perennial favorite for the many summertime rented electric boat trips I would take with friends and colleagues — two relationships that are sometimes not always the same thing, as in, with the latter, sometimes you get to hear: "Hey! I heard that. Wait till I tell HR on Monday!"
The lake-centric park is one of three similar bodies of water within sight of the Forbidden City, and during the hot months it's the perfect place to unwind aboard a nearly silent motorized boat with lots of "heart attack in a bag" deep-fried midnight snacks piled up on the poop deck along with stuff to wash down all the saturated fats and trans fats — if we're still allowed to say, much less consume, the latter, despite the intentions here purely being of a culinary definition.
Another top three favorite of mine in the capital is the dedicated downtown pedestrian and shopping street of Wangfujing. You can get everything to tide you over while strolling back and forth — from KFC to more expensive and fair fowl in the form of Peking roast duck thanks to a flagship location of famed franchise Quanjude. If you're looking for something with more of a sting — scorpions on a stick should do the trick, which can be found on a side street.
Interesting historical tidbit: adjacent Beijing Hotel once was the temporary home of English soccer great David Beckham, whose hotel bath towels were reportedly sold to adoring fans for prices that would mop up most savings accounts. Verification pending on this "terry-ble "towel tidbit, but interesting to ponder nevertheless.
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