Great Wall and Great Datong
Trip Start Jan 16, 2009
40Trip End May 26, 2009
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Where I stayed
Well almost, Declan from Ireland is stalking us to Xi'an a little bit...
Since our last entry we did manage to get to the Great Wall!
We booked onto a tour where we got to see the Ming Tombs too, and a free lunch!
On the bus there we had a commentary, in Chinese, of the sights out of the window... great.
When we were at the ming tombs we were given a tour in Chinese with the rest of the coach, the leader woman had a flag and everything, see pictures of us blending in seamlessly to a chinese tour group.
Our free lunch was at a jade museum / shop scam kinda place, but there was free rice and fish that we had to eat with chopsticks at a table of actual chinese people
We went to the Badaling section of the wall, which is the most reconstructed, most touristy and nearest to Beijing. But it was actually dead good. When we got to the wall we turned left and not lucky right, henceforth avoiding the chinese. Though actually it wasn't heaving as it was off season, so brown and more brown. Got lots of pictures including a group shot which required the tripod Tom's been carrying around not using for ages and timer switch. Much to the amusement of the Chinese people who watched us.
According to the Lonley Planet (LP here on in)we are now men as we have stepped on the great wall, which is good to know!
We got back to Beijing at 5pmish and were knackered so went to the noodle place next to our hotel for massive amounts of noodles and rice for under 2pounds. Wooo!
Then we had to pack all our things up again and become tortoise people again as the next day, Thursday we moved on.
Becca left at 8am to get the underground to the airport, (Becca did you get back ok? let us know). And the trio became a duo.
We got a taxi to Beijing West train station, after we'd talked to a woman on the phone who explained to the driver where it was... half way there he got out and cleaned his entire taxi witha feather duster. Very odd.
But we got on out train and met declan, with 15 minutes to spare... We had got 6hour train tickets for 31RMB, which is about 3pounds, and now we found out the joys of 3rd class. Definatley not on a tour now.
We had "hard seats" but at least we had a table! The picture we took doesn't quite capture the atmosphere. But gives a good idea.
So 6 hours later we followed to crowd out to Datong. Now the LP doesn't rate Datong and we can see why. BUT, our hostel is only 35RMB/night (3pounds50) which is a bargain. Now it may only have squat toilets, showers that are open at very odd times and beanbags for pillows, but we really can't complain too much.
We went to the CITS man (tourist info) and booked some transport to the Yungang caves for the next day and asked him to look into getting us out of here as all the trains are booked up weeks in advance, can't imagine why
This morning, Friday we went to the caves, aka the caves of 50 000 buddas and they were pretty spectacular. So many buddas everywhere! It has however got colder here, prob due to coming back west and not being in a city. The best cave was cave 5 with a MASSIVE budda in it, 20m or something tall and painted gold.
We think we've managed to get onto a bus out of here tommorrow morning at 8am to Pingyao (beautiful says the LP) via Tiguan, so fingers crossed will keep you posted
Love Emma and Emma