New Year's Eve and the The Great Wall.

Trip Start Dec 26, 2009
Trip End Apr 08, 2011

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

ill ill ill.

I mean, the Great Wall was great, but man, was I ill!! Dave and I walked along it for a few hours and my hangover got progressively worse until at one point I thought I was ready to hurl down its sides.

But that's what you get when you plan your Great Wall of China visit for the 1st of January.

Actually, Dave and I were going to have a very civilized New Year's Eve this year: civilized dinner in a nice, civilized restaurant, with some civilized wine, maybe some civilized watching of fireworks if there was going to be any and then back to our nice, civilized hotel.

And it did start out that way. We found a really nice restaurant in the embassy/western district of Beijing. We had some freaking spicy but delicious food. But a whole evening of civil celebrations? Whom are we kidding? It's me and Dave and we don't do civilized. Especially not on NYE.

So we called upon the tradition of Auld Lang Syne and started drinking to people. We took turns naming 5 friends or family and then we both had a sip of wine in their honour. Yeah, aren't we nice?

Two hours and two bottles of wine later all civilized plans were discarded and we were wrapping up to face the winter and find bars, nightlife and more booze! I don't know how but we ended up in the nearby pub street catered to the western expats and for the bells we were in a basement nightclub dancing to Taio Cruz and Beyonce. Then there was some more drunken fun on the streets of Beijing when we finally decided to go back to the hotel which included ranting taxi-drivers, having a semi-domestic at McDonald's and chasing after a Madame who would only sell a "massage" to Dave but not to me.

So, no wonder I was nauseated whilst visiting one of the most amazing structures on this planet.

And The Wall is really spectacular. Mind-blowing in fact. There's only three sites near Beijing that can be visited by tourists. I think there usually 5 but two were closed for renovations or mud-slides, I'm not sure. We - and I mean to say, Dave - decided to go for the slightly more expensive option of hiring our own car and tour guide instead of going on a bussed tour and we got picked up at 10am. And we decided to visit the Mutianyu section because we were told it was the most scenic. Our guide gave us a few background details to the Wall on the hour-long car ride there but that's about all she did. She organised our tickets and then dropped us off at the gondola which took us up to the wall. We then walked the wall for about 4 hours and covered probably 0.0001mm of the entire length of the wall.

This sounds really bad but one of the best things about today was taking the toboggan instead of the gondola to get back down to the car park at the end of our walk. Whizzing down the mountain on that little thing was so much fun!! Especially since the only health and safety measures they had there were a few faded "Slow Down" signs here and there.

On the ride back we did the obligatory "free" visits to a silk factory, tea room and copper vase factory. Tour guides get commission for every tourist they usher in but I didn't mind because it was actually quite interesting to see the production process of the various items. The girl that did our tea ceremony was absolutely hilarious which has was very refreshing. And I bought an overpriced bag of lychee tea which is really yummy.

And that was Dave's and my end to 2010 and beginning to 2011. Happy New Year everyone!!
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