We spent about two days recuperating in Seoul, and after a few loads of laundry, some ojingodapbap (stir fried squid on rice), and re-packing with significantly less stuff this time around, we boarded a plane for the second leg of our journey: China.
The flight was delayed but it didn't take long to get to Beijing. The subway was incredibly easy to use (better than the prized Seoul subway? we'll see...) and we were able to find the hostel without any difficulty. The hostel itself was located down a hutong, or alleyway. It was like a hotel almost, and had a huge common living and dining room with comfy couches, flowers abounding, and an assortment of magazines and books written in various languages. Our room was great too. Since the rooms were so inexpensive, we splurged on a private one.
Unfortunately it had been raining all day so we didn't really see anything. But one thing you always gotta do is eat, and eat we did! If Japan was ultra-expensive, China was just as cheap. We went into a local Chinese restaurant (the first one we saw with pictures) and I pointed at something that looked like a roasted meat of some sort. The waitress then pointed at pictures of various soups so I picked one of them too. It was a lot of food. My soup was like chicken noodle soup with thick, starchy noodles. I was only able to finish about half of it. Afterward, excited by our thrift (and apparently not stopped by our gluttony), we stopped into a bakery and got some cake. It was cheap too, but not great.
We went back to the hostel and hoped and prayed that the weather would clear up while the rain thumped stubbornly against the roof all night.