There are 9 million bicycles in Beijing

Trip Start Sep 21, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of China  , Beijing,
Sunday, September 27, 2009

So we have now been in Beijing for 4 days and we are truly having the best time ever! Chinese people are so helpful with foreigners and even though the language barrier should be a problem it just isnt as they are so helpful when they see you looking a little lost (which has happened a few times)
We checked out the forbidden city which was absolutely huge! I never expected such a huge complex, I definitely think many of the Chinese emporers were suffering from small man syndrome! We watched the flag being lowered in Tianamen Square which was equally impressive and a good show of the famous Chinese military.
We have a lovely man from Taiwan staying in our dorm and surprisingly for us here are many young Chinese also staying in the hostel. We spent the morning with him and 2 other Chinese girls one from Shaghai and the other from Haian. We ate typical Chinese breakfast in a tiny restaurant in our hutong. Breaksfast was bread rolls from a tiny bakery and then a bowl of hot soy milk with fried bread in it! Really good. We then went to the Temple of Heavan park and watched locals play their morning games of Tai chi and badmington. People were also singing Peking opera and lots of other things. It was really entertaining as the locals were always wanting us to join in! These men play this game where they throw soft hoops around each others necks. They straight away wanted Tim to play and he was really good so they wouldnt let him go! It was really funny! Then we met some people from the hostel and went to another great "restaurant" in our Hutong. We had hot pot with so much stuff, prawns, mushrooms, chicken, beef, noodles and it worked out to be about 1 euro each for a huge meal!
Today we climbed the great wall which was truly one of the best times of my life! We met a Chinese guy sellling tours and we were very unsure at first as he had approached us on the street and normally that means they are scamming. We decided to take a chance though as he was so nice and had a book full of photos and reviews from people the world over. He promised no crowds, no shopping trips which oher companies do to tourists to get them to buy things and also said we could pay at the end of the day. That was good enough for us and good we did as we went to a section which was so beautiful. No renovations, no chairlifts, tress had grown all up the middle of the wall and it was like walking through a forest, rather than being on the great wall!! It was also great there was a big sign at the start saying" this section of the great wall closed to the public" what an awesome awesome day!!!! Some parts were almost vertical climbs and you are so high but I just cant believe how amazing it was.
The national holiday begins on the 29th and as we have found makes travelling almost impossible as all Chinese are travelling. Our hostel was closing as in our area close to the forbidden city no one can leave their houses for 3 days while they have special parades through the square! Obviously you dont want to be stuck so we needed to get a train ticket. Of course our hostel tried to book one for us but they told us no tickets. We were getting worried but luckily on our group for the wall today was a really nice Finish couple who were in the same situation. After the wall we joined the huge queues for the train tickets and somehow managed 4 tickets. We were really happy to be getting out of Beijing before the city shuts down and also met a nice couple to travel with!
So off to Xi'an tomorrow evening on a sleeper train. 11 hours but they are really comfortable. The terracotta warriors await!!!! 
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