Thanks to the time change I slept like a rock until about 4:30 AM when I woke up and that was that. I killed some time reading and hit the pool again before meeting up with everyone about 8:00 for a day of exploring the markets.
We jumped on the subway which is fairly new and easy to navigate with easy to follow maps labeled in Mandarin and English. Twenty minutes and ten stops later we popped up back into an 18 degree morning and heavy smog that had settled in overnight and headed to the Dirt Market. Unlike the Pearl and Silk markets, the Dirt market is held outdoors and has a massive collection of vendors selling all manner of art, beads, pottery, woodwork and more. We spent a couple hours taking it all in before the cold and the need for lunch chased us away.
Back on the subway we headed to Silk Street to grab some lunch and check out the market there which is indoors and a welcome respite from the cold. Lunch was a large assortment of dumplings, spring rolls, stir fry with red peppers, beans, cauliflower and pumpkin con gee. This again was a ton of food and we left feeling stuffed. Total cost for our feast of a lunch for five was only $31 and we headed back across the street to the Silk Market.
The silk market is five floors jam packed with all manner of clothing, electronics, souvenirs, jewelry and almost anything else you can think of. It’s truly overwhelming and we took a couple hours to walk around and pick up a few things. I got another layer of warm clothes in a fleece vest for about $15 and pair of prescription sunglasses which are really inexpensive here and one of the better deals in the market for those who need glasses. With proper bargaining you can easily get two pairs of glasses including the frames and lenses for under $100.
After a full day of walking all over the place we were pretty wiped out and retired to the hotel for the night but not before grabbing some pastry for Sunday morning since we have an early departure for the Great Wall.