That China Girl

{May 23, 2011}   Why oh why Hou Hai

Some of you wrote asking what the big deal was about Hou Hai after I mentioned it in yesterday’s post.  What the heck is a Hou Hai, anyway?

Hou Hai, which translates into “back sea” in Chinese is one of three lakes in this scenic area of Old Beijing. (It’s the lake in the back, btw.)  Guidebooks will tell you it’s a big bar scene.   No doubt that’s part of the temptation for the kids I go to school with, but if drinking were the main attraction, I’m sure they’d just hang out in Sanlitun.  (I say, they not we, because I’m new enough not to have made it to ANY of these places yet.)  The Sanlitun area has its famous bar street, which until the Chinese decided to crack down before the Olympics, was supposedly quite the high school haven.

Hou Hai is a much cooler place to hang.  Or so I’ve heard.  It’s across town, so it’s not like I’m going to run into Mrs. A, or Mrs. G. and have stuff go right back to Mom.  There’s a picture on CC’s bulletin board that shows a bunch of them sitting outside a cafe by the lake on big cushy chairs like the one’s below.  Yeah, they were drinking there she tells me ( I see the Heineken sign, too), but you can also just sit there and people watch and or look out at the boats with a cup of coffee if you want.

Anyway, that’s where they all went yesterday, too.  Just hung out and wandered around the area, which is one of the remaining places you can find hutongs; those narrow alleyways, lined with traditional courtyard houses.   Skule did come, along with Lachlan, Ronit and Gabriella.   They crashed on the sofas till they got kicked off for the dinner crowd (or the more buying, less just sitting crowd), and then talked their way onto a boat.  A Chinese guy paddled them down the river on this party ship, where they all lit candles and put them in little paper boats.  Then they watched them float away.

I wish I could have been there.  Was feeling okay about missing and going to the Summer Palace with the parents, until I heard about their day.  Apparently, though, as much as Gaby tried to get Skule’s attention, he wasn’t into it–or her.  So that’s a relief.  CC’s promised they might go back this coming weekend.  All I can say is there’s no way I’m not going this time.


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