Trip Start Jan 29, 2008
13Trip End Apr 30, 2008
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Where I stayed
Anyhow, we found our way via the much safer underground to a youth hostel in the middle of the City. Nothing ever sleeps here but we still managed to fall asleep mid afternoon after a walk and a KFC (shocking I know). We're blaming jet lag. We had a restless night, mainly because the heat in here is unreal and it's so noisy outside with the windows open, but we got up first thing this morning to take an all day tour
We got picked up by Benny, our Chinese guide for the day and had our own private tour (quiet time of year I guess!). We did a load of factory tours (we think Benny was on commission). We saw how jade is possessed (that's what Sarah put in her diary?!), and went on a silk tour and a pearl tour. Needless to say I bought something in each. I'm going to have to calm down after my first day!
We went to the Ming tombs which was ok, some pretty buildings but not all we'd hoped and then was the piece de resistance, the great wall of China. Sarah's goal for the round the world trip has now been met and she can go home happy! I imagined it would be wider and easier to walk along but no, we picked the steepest incline on the whole wall and decided to climb it!!! Legs will ache tomorrow. The views were incredible though, well worth the hike.
We also went to Dr Tea - the traditional and the largest tea retailer in China. We went into a tiny little room with a table in the middle. It was the kind of room I thought I might have to take my shoes off and sit on the floor for, but they had seats and obviously learnt their lesson when getting foreigners to take off their shoes. We tested different types of Chinese tea and learnt how to drink it like ladies
Lois joined us on all of the above and also joined me in laughing at Sarah. She has now collapsed on the bed (9 pm) and is unlikely to be up again till morning. We've done well today I think, considering we should be really jet lagged now. I will now attempt to put some pictures online for you so the whole thing comes more alive and you can be even more jealous!
Mother dearest, expect a large package coming home soon, I can't carry everything I've bought today and my rucksack...
Might be on again tomorrow night everyone else as we're off to the forbidden city.
Trying to get everything down on the net is impossible - Forbidden city was absolutely huge and an absolute maze. It wasn't as ornate as we thought it would be and we were a bit disappointed with the fact that all the rooms had been turned into museum rather than left in their original state
Despite this we were up early the next morning and headed down to the Temple of Heaven. That place is pretty cool, a lot of people go there first thing in the morning and do Tai Chi and stuff in below freezing temperatures - rather them than me, but it was cool to watch for one morning only!
Beijing was also our first opportunity to use the priority cards I'd gotten for the airport lounges. You can tell who the student is among the three of us - one person in particular had no qualms about filling a carry on bag with pot noodles, crackers, drinks etc etc!