After our long morning of sightseeing we were taken to what they told us was the best dumpling place in town. It was one of my favorite meals of the trip and I was too busy enjoying the many different flavors of dumplings we were served to take any pictures of them, apparently. But I did take a couple of pictures during the tea and appetizer section of the meal.
This is what was in our tea cup before they poured in the hot water. Isn't it pretty? The tea was absolutely delightful and full of delicate flavor.
They poured water into the teacups from a very fancy kettle! Look how tired everyone looks. Tired, but happy.
And now, a rather long and boring story about our after lunch transportation adventures:
After lunch Doug and I thought it would be fun to walk around the downtown promenade area for a little while to get a feel for the city itself. Although it was extremely cold, we figured if we kept moving it wouldn't feel as cold as it was.
Our friends Nancy and Jeff decided to go with us. We ended up going into a lot of stores instead of just trudging around in the cold. Most of the stores in downtown Shenyang were in more of the western style, so it wasn't particularly interesting except for the fact that they were so westernized. We found a decorative face mask for Nancy and we also got some excellent treats from a bakery.
After that we started the process of returning to the hotel with what we thought was plenty of time to spare. Unfortunately none of the many many cabs driving around in the area would stop for us, so I resorted to my previously fail-proof backup plan for foreign countries, which has always worked quite well for me in the past. We went to a hotel to find someone reasonably fluent in English to help us figure out the metro stop for our hotel. The subway was right there, so it seemed like a good alternative to a taxi.
The hotel clerk was VERY helpful, or so it seemed. She personally led us down into the subway station, spoke to an official near the turnstile, and even helped us buy our tickets from the machine. Then she passed us over to one of the security guards and he told us which train to get on. Inside the car was a diagram that made it very clear that we were headed to our intended stop.
Once we got out it we were in a completely different downtown area and we figured we could just walk back to our hotel from there, but someone told us it was way too far and that we should take a cab instead. So we tried again. And gave up. We weren't exactly sure why they weren't stopping. And we also sort of had no idea where we were at this point.
There was a Crowne Plaza hotel across the street so again I thought that would be the place to find help. It was so nice for the concierge to help us even though we weren't staying there. But I don't think they realized that, hahaha. They sent the bellhop out to hail us a cab and he tried and tried and tried, to no avail. Finally I asked him if we should try something else and he said we might have better luck if we stood across the street because the cabs would be going in the right direction for the theatre where our hotel was.
So we tried that and when once again it didn't work we went back to the Crowne Plaza and talked them into hiring us a car and driver to take us back. The guy pulled up in a big fancy Mercedes and we headed back to our hotel in style. The cost was less than $30, and at that point it was well worth it. And we arrived just in the nick of time.