Xue Mei: What’s the name of that bridge?
Colleague: That’s “Yin Ding Bridge”.
Xue Mei: “Yin Ding Bridge”. This must be a famous bridge. The name rings a bell.
Colleague: Of course. This bridge is part of the scenery in Beijing. It is also the boundary between Qianhai and Houhai.
Xue Mei: Houhai is also called Shishahai, right?
Colleague: Yes. See the restaurant! This is one of Beijing’s most famous barbeque restaurants. You should come here when you get a chance.
Xue Mei: Is this a residential area?
Colleague: Yes. They’ve kept the hutongs and residences here just like in the old days. Some people come here just to see them.
Xue Mei: Are the bars here run by the local residents as well?
Colleague: Some of them are run by the residents, but most of them are not.
Xue Mei: Houhai has a very special ambience. It has a strong feeling of real life.
Colleague: In fact the area of Houhai was famous for its Siheyuan before. The bars at Houhai have only sprung up and become popular in the past couple of years.
Xue Mei: The natural scenery is beautiful, plus there’s a strong cultural ambience. It’s really a great place for the bar business.
Colleague: The bars here all have a cultural ambience.
Xue Mei: Let’s find one and go in.
Colleague: How about this one? The furnishings are very special，and you can enjoy the view from upstairs.
Xue Mei: You decide.
Xue Mei: It’s very quiet here.
Colleague: We can order drinks first and have them upstairs.
Xue Mei: Sure! The bar owners have good taste.
Colleague: I hear they’re artists.
Xue Mei: No wonder.
Colleague: What would you like to drink?
Xue Mei: What would you like?
Colleague: I’d like a bottled beer.
Xue Mei: I’ll have the same as you, a bottle of beer.
Colleague: Would you please take them upstairs?
Xue Mei: This is really nice and very relaxing. I feel great.
Colleague: It’s a great place to relax.
Xue Mei: It’s traditional but also modern. When your uncle gets home I’ll definitely bring him here.
Colleague: It’s very pretty, especially in summer.
Xue Mei: I think winter must be beautiful, too! The lake frozen over，all silvery white.
Colleague: I haven’t been here in winter. It should be nice, too.
Xue Mei: I plan to come here for an interview.
Colleague: That’s a good idea. Don’t forget to give me credit for bringing you here！
1）怪不得 no wonder
No wonder he didn't go to the Great Wall yesterday; he was sick after all.
They put sugar in the porridge; no wonder it's so sweet.
2）倒 indicate something unexpected
I would really like to go with you. It's just that I don't have the time.
This pair of shoes really isn't expensive. It's just that the colour is not very nice.
To see the small alleyways of old Beijing you should take one of the 胡同 tours. Nowadays, the best way to see the 胡同 is to take a bicycle or pedicab tour in the Houhai area. These tours are often advertised in hotels and tourist magazines.
Some of the best preserved 胡同 are around the Houhai area. This is an area north of the old Forbidden City, and was home to nobility and high officials in imperial China. Around Houhai are long, thin lakes, almost like canals. These are largely man-made.
Many parts of old Beijing have been redeveloped with wide avenues and modern architecture, but some traditional neighbourhoods like Houhai are now being protected. One of the nicest things about these old areas is that 生活气息很浓 they have a very down-to-earth feeling of being lived in, they are in a sense “homey”.
Almost hidden in this area you will find 钟楼 the Bell Tower and 鼓楼 the Drum Tower. In imperial times, these were used to mark the time and to call officials to important meetings. Your hutong tour may also take you to Prince Gong's Palace. This was the home of the father of the last emperor. (The father was related to the royal family, but did not serve himself as emperor.) This is probably the best preserved courtyard house 四合院 in Beijing, and is worth seeing.
Substitution and Extension
1）既…又…both this, and that
Chinese food is not only tasty; it's also inexpensive.