Summer Palace

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Sunday, October 9, 2005

After yesterdays strenuous walk we didn't really fancy a lot but rather than sit around and do nothing we went to the summer palace. Seeing as the breakfast in our side of the hostel was crap I ventured into the hotel side for the buffet. Ate like a king until I was stuffed and will definitely use it again whilst staying in Beijing. The summer palace is quite a way put so took the subway as far as possible before jumping into a taxi. Only cost 19 yuan so pretty good value.

The summer palace was pretty nice. I only wanted to go there for a stroll around the lake and see the marble boat but we ended up hiring a boat and driving it around the lake for an hour. Was great fun and I sensibly put on sun cream this time as it was boiling. Had some good views of the palace and drove under the 17 arch bridge before docking and wandering off to see the marble boat.

Pretty impressive but the water level was really low so you could see it securely fastened to the ground. A pretty pointless waste of the Navy's funds but good to look at nonetheless.

Trying to get a taxi back seemed far more difficult than it really should have been. There were loads of unlicensed ones available but avoided them and got into a licensed one. Soon jumped straight out when he refused to use the meter and wanted 50 yuan for a trip we knew cost only 19! Someone offered us 20 yuan so we got in with him instead. Soon dawned on us that it was some random guy off the street and not a taxi driver. Bit foolish but no trouble in the end.

Back at the hostel we set about necking a couple of cheap beers before meeting up with Evelyn (a Canadian girl in our dorm) and Stu for dinner. Were going to eat in the hostel again but after last nights experience we were open to suggestions. Stu recommended a small place near the hostel so we went there. Best food I have had in China and a bargain at 1 quid each!

Seeing as it was Saturday we decided to see what Beijing's nightlife was like. Bar street in Beijing is Sanlitun and it was crap. Loads of identikit bars with people singing karaoke and over priced drinks. Also none showing the England match.

There was a hostel around the corner and knew there were some cheaper bars there. Ended up in this crappy bar called Kai that was horrible. Identical to any bar in the UK on a Saturday night and we didn't stay long. The area was also quite nasty. The second you walked on the street you were set upon by beggars and drug dealers. The beggars were by far the worst I had witnessed and made worse by the fact they got their kids to follow you around all the way down the street, buzzing around your feet. Glad our hostel is in a much nicer location and the only hassles are from the rickshaw drivers shouting "Hello! Let's Go!" the second you step outside.
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