|Great Wall Tabogan guys|
|Summer Palace frozen lake|
|798 Art District|
We waited till 9 to check in for our flight at 11, then when we tried to check in we were told we needed to be at the other shanghai airport, Pudong which was an hours taxi ride away, we explained we had flown into this airport a few hours earlier from NZ. They told us to get a quick bus to the next terminal and ask then if they can help us, so we went to the China Eastern Airline and they cool as a cucumber said they could put us on a 2.30pm flight to Beijing. Phew! Disaster averted, we arrived at Beijing domestic airport (not made for westerners) and tried to explain to the taxi driver what hostel we were staying in, he eventually phoned the hostel and drove us. When we first arrived at the Sunrise hostel we went to buy some food and drink from around the corner before we went to sleep and were warned of a few scams, we were told not to get into Rickshaws they will rip you off and if people approach you and say they want to practice their English on you and want to take you to a tea house/ coffee, it is scam to get money from you for the tea, they will take you to a place they know and charge you lots.
We had 2 weeks in Beijing and hope that we managed to do just about every tourist activity.
On our first day we went to the forbidden city which was a short walk from our hostel, and opposite Tienanmen square. We took lots of photos of the interesting architecture,
We had to stop for a tea, simply to warm my photo taking hand up,
The next day we decided to buy winter clothes. we went to Walmart and bought jackets, hats and gloves. then in the afternoon we went to the Crows nest to see the sun go down and the place light up. I had a photo with a Chinese lady, because im a westerner...for dinner we went to the Veggie Table an all Vegan restaurant down a hutong near the Lama Temple.
Day 3 Summer palace, saw an old and young man preparing to swim meters away from the frozen lake in the icy water, a lady fishing by the arched bridge in a hole dug into the frozen water, the seenteen arch bridge which takes you to a small island in the lake was beautiful ad we walked in the frozen lake near whrere children could go on mini sledges or skate on the ice, while we heard it cracking sometimes. We spent many hours walking around the plance which has been heavily restored for the Olympic games in 2008. The walls were beutifully paitinted with scroll like images of birds and plants. We walked to the highest point in the palace, and to the left you could the city scape and on thr right mountains and country side. We met a nice chinese man who worked there he told us he had been to England and seen Biringham, Nottingham and London.
From the tube it had been a really long walk, so we tried to get a bus back to the centre, the bus system was beyond confussing and we decided to avoid all the illegal rikshaws and walk aimlessly, mapless. not far down the road we saw a starbucks and pizza hut and just around the corner a metro station, much nearer that the one we had come from (curse that missinforming website) that evening our hostel offered a free Dumpling making party where we met 2 Americans Tyler and his sister Megan, he worked as a teacher in the Shizz in China and his family had come to Beijing to spend Christmas together! The dumpling making went well, initailly they looked terrible but after 15 attempts we had some symetircal (mini cornish pastie looking) dumplings! A chinese girl also made dumplings with us and we learnt how to say a few things, such as Jiao-ds, dumpling and a few other words to expand our vocab beyond Ni hoa!
The next day we did our laundry and went to Tiennaman Square, before trying to find a place to buy our ticket out of Beijing which open 10 days before you want to leave. the lady in the office, simply said May-yo (dont have) when we showed her what ticket we want so we took a tube and walked to the west train station where they have an english speaking counter, only to be told the tickets wouldnt open til the next day. feeling pretty tired and having wated a few hours I left lee and his bad back and went to the night markets around the corner with Tyler, Megan, his girlfriend Emily and friend Byron. Tyler and Byron ate silk worms, which looked and apparently tasted disguseting! the market also had snakes, frogs whole cooked birds on a stick and a few normal foods like dumplings, noodles and candied fruit.
Christmad Eve, we sussessfully got our train tickets and went to the Capital Museum opposite Tienamen Square, where we sat accross from a small boy with his parents who shouted "whats your name" at us, then became really shy. It was so funny and cute! We did some last minute christmas shopping and decided to buy presents for each other. the only shops near by were souviner shops, but we decided to get cheap presents, that wouldnt take up too much room in our bags!
We both work up at 7 to swap presents before the fun packed day. We got each other exactly what we wanted- scarfs! also a Santa hat and some chopsticks.
we decided, what would be the best and most memorable thing to do in China on Christmas Day, our conclusion; see Moa's dead body in state! So along with our new american friends; Tyler, Emily, Byron and Lauren we waited, then walking single file we shuffled silently through the moseleum. alot of chinese people where buying yellow flowers from the front to deposite outside the mosoleum (which then are moved back to the selling point tp be sold again) We werent allowed camera's or bags, and the place was heavily guarded and had security checks.