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  • Gordon Dumoulin

Traditional pastries, a new driver's license and a hearty winter breakfast...

Beijing winter 2021… hearty breakfast and traditional pastries. This early morning I went for medical checkup and application to extend my Chinese drivers license.

As the winter is tough this year, we took the chance for a ‘luxury’ Beijing hot and hearty breakfast in one of the oldest breakfast shops in Tongzhou district to warm our bones and keep us going all day, no lunch was needed :-). Meat-filled breads, porridge with dates and nuts, and a hot soup with tofu and pig’s stomach.

As the hospital is next to a branch of Beijing’s oldest pastry store , we bought traditional pastries and meats to bring home for the family on our way back. Daoxiangcun (稻香村) was established in 1895 in Guanyin Temple in Qianmenwai Street, and their pastries were especially loved by GuangXu, the 10th Qing emperor.

Closed down in 1926, they re-opened in 1984 with original pastry recipes made with jujube, red bean, sesame seeds, nuts, sweet potato and others. Their mooncakes and sweet rice dumplings (湯圓, Tangyuan) are renowned in Beijing and beyond. The store also extended to typical Beijing and Northern China meats and savory dishes.

With more than 100 branches nowadays, Daoxiangcun is a household name and as well a store of nostalgy for many elderly Beijingers.


And I got another 10 years of driving in China :-) or actually about 9 years and 3 months as I was late for extending my driver's license.

Extending your Chinese driver's license is easy, efficient, fast and cheap. Go to a hospital for medical checkup (checking quickly your eyesight) at a cost of RMB 20 (USD 3,10) for the medical certificate. Then proceed to the Motor Vehicle Administration office for getting your new license extension. Costs RMB 10 (USD 1,55).

So for a morning time plus USD 4,65, another 10 years of driving.

It reminds me of the Chinese driving rules test which I did in 2014 to obtain the license. The test was available to take in 8 possible languages at that time, how more accessible and welcoming it can be ? And being late for extension is not a problem as long as within 1 year.

And now working towards one of the humble dreams for a cozy camper to travel China even more in all corners and sights :-)

#china #beijing #chinesesociety #drivinginchina

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