A Great (Wall) Time In Beijing

Trip Start Apr 16, 2010
Trip End Jul 24, 2010

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Four days have flown past since the last blog entry, we are having such an amazing time in Beijing. So here is what we have been up to:

17/5/2010 - Summer Palace

Another extensive lie-in saw the lads stroll into the restaurant for breakfast at about 11am; Tim and Ollie enjoying a calorific stack of 5 pancakes, whereas Dan enjoyed a more leisurely four and Stef a modest 3 but he also consumed 2 mini croissants.This bears no relevance, but we thought you might want to know. After catching two tubes and enduring 20 stops on a bus we finally arrived at the Summer Palace. It was a marvellous collection of old style temples and buildings set around the magnificent Kunming lake. We took a pedalo and tore up the placid waters, reaching speeds of up to an astonishing two knots and drifting about no end... The hour passed at great speed with Ollie up to his usual devisive antics rocking the boat from side to side. We also tasted our first bit of roadside food - some gorgeous sweet potato and chicken skewers - and managed to escape with solid stomachs. 

18/5/2010 - Beijing Zoo

A painful 5.00am start saw the boys travel 2.5 hours to the Great Wall before having to turn around due to bad weather. Heartbreak. Salt was violently rubbed into our wounds as disaster struck on the journey home, in the form of perfectly parted clouds and a picture perfect blue sky... You coudln't have picked a better day for trekking. A 5 hour round trip for nothing had cost us a tenner each, and even that was after some strong negotiations. The boys were left deflated, dejected and depressed. It was at that moment, sitting sullenly in our dorm, that we decided it was time to have as much fun as physically possible!! "To Beijing Zoo" cried Stefan, and we bundled out of the room to head for the tube! We soon arrived, and had, well, an average day at best. It really was, OK. We enjoyed seeing the animals, especially the pandas, but we've all clearly become safari men, and found it hard to see animals kept in such grim conditions...

19/5/2010 - The Great Wall of China!

A painful 5.00am start saw the boys travel 2.5 hours to the Great Wall, this time in ideal sunny conditions and with our new companion, Nate, from Dublin, who had joined our gang for the 10.5km hike from Jinshanling to Simitai. Having dodged a few touts on entrance, we found that we had the wall pretty much to ourselves, and enjoyed a glorious and breathtaking few hours on the Great Wall. The views of beautifully lush countryside sprawled out for miles and the wall itself was fascinating, and in parts fairly derelict. We negotiated some hefty inclines and enough steps to leave us with some stiff calves this morning... The whole experience became even more surreal when we encountered a different kind of beauty when nearing the end of our trek. Four bikini clad women on the horizon were clearly blocking our route through. Was it a mirage?? Had Nate forked out to treat his new friends?? No. This was Miss Bikini 2010, and sure enough, in 500 metres time, we were sheepishly wading through a sea of about 40 models. We weren't sure where to look, and quickly made it through to the other side. PHEW!

In the evening, Nate took the four of us out, along with his Chinese friend Leon, to allow us to sample our first authentic Chinese hotpot. The meal was incredible, a real treat for the pallet. A large cauldron of bubbling broth was inset into the middle of the table, heated underneath, into which we threw a variety of raw meats and vegetables, which cooked before us. Once cooked, it was survival of the fittest, depending on who had the best control of their chopsticks. Ollie put in a fine performance, but it was Beijinger Leon who put us all to shame with his chopstick wizardry. It was a great evening, and particularly kind of Nate to pay for the whole meal - (if you're reading this Nate - top lad!)

Today's our last full day in Beijing. We plan to see some of the olympic stadiums, and get involved with some more Beijing duck this evening down our local, before sipping tea at our regular tea-house down the street!

Be in touch, take care, lots of love, speak soon, thanks for reading, ciao for now...


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Ursula and Alan on

You should get jobs with the Chinese Tourist Board..... sounds fantastic......must book flights...! Another brilliant blog, lots of love from us all xxx

edd on

glad you escaped the bikini contest, sounds... awful...

I'm really jealous, sounds like you guys are having such an awesome time!!! :)

nick on

these photos are the best , keep them coming

Nick x

Julia and Simon on

Brilliant blog we are enjoying it here in the States. Simon wrote a long comment which seems to have got lost!! Anyway looking forward to the next update. Lol to you all . Enjoy! No idea where you are now.xxx

Nate on

Hey guys, hope you're still having fun and that! Twas a real treat to meet ya'll. Take it easy lads!

Frankie on

Looks amazing! Very jealous of all the amazing chinese food.. keep the beards up! xx

jonathan.veira@yahoo.co.uk on

Very impressive boys, pics are very good and how adventrous you guys are! Thoroughly enjoy reading your bloggs. make the most of your time but watch your steps and look out for pit falls. We are praying for you guys. Lots of love and blessings. JNV

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