Having a blast
Trip Start Sep 12, 2005
51Trip End Sep 11, 2006
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Finally got round to posting something on this webpage. I've been having a fantastic time. So here's what I've been up to:
Arrived Tues (13th) morning to find the lovely guy from the hostel waiting for me at the gate with my name on a board, so all was nice and straightforward getting to my hostel which I had booked in advance over the internet. Got a 6-bed dorm in order to meet people, but obviously by the time I had arrived (around 11am), everyone had gone out for the day.
Anyway, I decided it would be fatal to have a kip then - I probably wouldn't have woken up till the following morning as I hadn't slept at all on the plane - so I headed straight out to a place called Jingslan Park (or something similar) which is basically the only high ground in Beijing and was created from all the earth that was dug out when they built the moat around the Forbidden City however many thousands of years ago
Weds (14th) myself, Heather and another room mate, Rohan, got up early and left for the Forbidden City and Tianamen Square. Weather was gorgeous that day with the sun beating down. Saw Mao in his Mausoleum, although I'm not entirely convinced it was him. Then entered the Forbidden City, which was HUGE. And so beautiful. There are some parts which are currently undergoing restoration, probably in preparation for the Olympics, and the colours in those areas were so vivid. I was also being seduced the entire way by James Bond - the audio tape in narrated by Roger Moore and he was really good in creating an atmosphere
Having walked around some more, we then took a pedicab around the Hutongs - really old sections of the city. Out for drinks that night with a huge group and unfortunately got pretty wasted - although completely not my fault - a 1 litre bottle of beer costs 20p! I defy anyone to be able to say no to that!
Hmm.. I was feeling it the next morning (Thurs 15th) though as I got up at 5:50am to catch a ride to the Great Wall. Jeez was it worth it though, even if I did feel like I was going to die just climbing the hill up to the damn thing! I took the trip to the real old part of the wall, where very little restoration work has been done and there are far fewer tourists. It was breathtaking. And not in the kind of way you feel obliged to say when you go to a normal city tourist destination - this was spectacular. I just couldn't believe I was walking (well, stumbling, hobbling and crawling actually) along it. You look in both directions and this thing just stretches out as far as the eye can see in both directions. Just amazing. But bugger me, I was knackered. The bus dropped us off at one point and would collect us 4 hours later 10km further on. This thing was steep. I mean REALLY steep. At some points it was a 70 degree incline!! Your at the bottom of the steps of one part and you look up and you can't even see the top. That's how steep it is, and it's all crumbling away - in places there are no sides to it - apparently some French guy fell to his death recently - reassuring - so suffice to say I was bringing up the rear of the group
Fri (16th) today and I'm about to head off to the Summer Palace - basically a huge park with loads of temples and stuff which again used to be off limits to the normal folk and was just used by the emperors. After that I'm, off to the Silk Market - spoke to a guy yesterday who bought a great digital camera for 40 quid, so am off to find myself a watch.
Hope all's well with everyone, and thanks so much for the individual messages, will reply soon, I promise. Next entry will hopefully be from Xi'an where the Terracotta Warriors are and hopefully I'll have downloaded some pics by then to add on here. Love y'all. xxx