New things are busting out all over in the Liangma He neighborhood of Chaoyang District. There's a new embassy district, complete with the brand-spanking-new US Embassy, said to be one of the largest, if not the largest US embassy in the world. There are new hotels and housing developments. There are new restaurants and new shopping centers. And best of all, there's a new subway that goes right through the heart of it, meaning it's actually easy to get there now from the west side.
Last night I and a bunch of friends decided to check out some of the some of the places for ourselves. Our first stop was a place called Lucky Street (hao yun jie). It's a funny little street with a building on one side that seems to be trying ever so hard to pretend that it is in Disneyland. For some strange reason, there is a fascination here with faux-European-village architecture. We ended up at the Punjabi restaurant.
After dinner we wandered down the street to the new Solana Mall, a brand new shopping complex that looks like it was snatched away from it's home in Orange County and plopped down in the Middle Kingdom. It's one of those semi-outdoor/semi-indoor malls, complete with fountains and cobbled stone walkways. Very bizarre. The first two establishments we saw were Starbucks (ubiquitious in Beijing) and Cold Stone Creamy (we're now up to 3 on those). Once we got "inside" we drawn immediately to the giant LL BEAN sign, located inside the section called Vivid Town!
From Lucky Street to Vivid Town, all in one evening. It was almost too much!