Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A Chinese Guy Speaking Russian to an American...How Weird is That?

Yabao Lu is the heart of the Russian district in Beijing. It is also where you'll find a healthy dose of Uighur culture and cuisine. Uighurs hail from the western province of Xinjiang. (Look it up. Pretty much every US story on the Uighurs contains the phrase "the restive Xinjiang region.")

All in all, it makes for a really strange mix, totally different than the Imperial history like Beihai Park and the Confucius Temple (both of which we visited this week). An entire block of pelts and fur coats for sale. Markets with, shall we say, more generous sizes in clothing. (Maybe you haven't noticed, but the typical Russian woman is proportioned differently than the ordinary Chinese nu ren.)

The only real attraction for Desi and I was the Xinjiang Muslim Restaurant. This was where we chowed down on some chuanr (kebabs) and, at last, dined on da pan ji. The direct translation of this dish is "big plate of chicken." That pretty much sums it up. We hardly put a dent in the thing!

Which brings us back to that Chinese guy. Strolling around after lunch, we came upon a street hustler peddling pedicab rides, Great Wall tours...you name it. He was doing all of this in Russian, a reasonable assumption given the surroundings. A great example of the Beijing that is lurking just beneath the surface...

~Steve

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