China 2011 Part Two: Beijing!
"We got off in Beijing at 7:30am... We followed (our new guide) out of the station to a coach waiting nearby - crossing the road being once again a near death experience in itself. We piled on sleepily..."
"Once at the hotel - which was right in the centre of Beijing... we were all based on the ninth floor in the VIP area!! ... The room was certainly four star! Although upon entering we straightaway found two prostitute cards that had been slipped under the door!! Crazy! But we all found it funny and one of the boys made up a collection that was made into a snap card game pile."
"(On the way to the Badaling section of the Great Wall) Due to lack of funding, it has not been entirely restored, but the Great Wall of China echoed snatches of history, hidden and exposed over the hillsides and it started to sink in where I was going." (#deep).
"There was a Chinese school trip there at the same time and a group of school girls asked us for a photo. They were disappointed though when we swiftly left after one picture with one girl but we were on a mission to do as much as we could during the little time we were given." We were basically more interesting to them than the ancient wonder they were visiting...
"...We were finally there! ON THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA!!! I think 'yeahboy' is appropriate." (Yeahboy is never appropriate, self!)
"Annoyingly we arrived back on time and before most of the group... As one of the girls said: We had to be on time the one time we actually could have taken longer on!"
"...we took a detour to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Village."
"It didn't feel surreal or odd being there even though I'd seen it on TV countless times - although that was three years ago..."
"That evening our guide took us out to a night food market. The smell was revolting!"
"They sold scorpion kebabs, seahorse (for 'fidelity'), snake and sheep penis as well as fish of all variety (including baby shark, starfish and octopus). You could buy cockroach and two of the group also ate centipede! It was all so repulsing that by the time you got to the fruit kebabs (covered in syrup) and the soups, you were just as put off."
"Although it was about 10pm at night it didn't feel it by the way whole streets were lit up."
"There were three bridges (to enter the Forbidden City) of which only the Emperor could enter through the middle one. (The last Emperor abdicated in 1910). There were in fact a couple of security guards standing across this bridge so visitors didn't go across."
"There were nine rows of nine knobs per door and 999 (or 9999) rooms in the entire place because the Chinese historically believed 9 was the strongest single digit before 10 etc.
"The weather conditions were much more extreme in Beijing to Shanghai and it was unbelievably windy that day. In the square at one point I apparently looked like Cousin It with my hair in my face."
(Our guide's duck!)
"On the walk back to the coach it became obvious there was a moat or a river that followed round the City - to would appear protection and security was not all that different across different cultures back then."
"Many groups of tourists passed us in the opposite direction, but one group caught our attention in particular. A group of elderly Asian tourists all wore green hats! We joked that they must be the divorcee/ unhappy in love group."
"(At Beijing fake market) The sellers were fierce!! They poked you, shouted at you and grabbed your clothes. One woman started following me around the stall and half way down the corridor hitting my arm (hard!) shouting repetitively "Lady! How much you pay? How much you pay!? One man yelled at one of the girls: "you! Come back here right now!" That was scary!... Another man followed one of the other girls along each other stall she went to because she had even looked at his stall. His sister then came along from another stall to pressure her into buying a particular tshirt."
"When we met up again we couldn't all help but laugh at a sign at the entrance that said: 'respect the rights of the vendor'. Considering how little respect they showed their customers we couldn't help but laugh. The amount of time they had said to us: "you have lots of money! It's ok for you, lots of money!" was ridiculous, and we laughed and contradicted them each time."
"(Our guide) then took us to the oldest street in Beijing... We found a small corner shop dedicated to just Panda merchandise..."
"Scrap what I said (going to a noodle bar next door) was the best way to round off China: having a Beijing speciality in an authentic/typical Chinese restaurant. I loved every moment!"
"Getting the noodles out of the bowl and into your own bowl was *ahem* 'fun'. But the noodles were delicious."
"(When we got back to our rooms) (My roommate and I) waited up until midnight to see her 17th birthday in. We managed about ten minutes before flopping to sleep with exhaustion. She was about to have a 36 hour birthday, spending most of it on a plane! Ah well..."
(At the airport):
"Going through baggage check in Beijing, I reckon the people/guards thought we were such obvious tourists with our Chinese farmer straw hats! Heehee!!"
(On the plane):
"One of the boys shared out his lollipops his fans had given him and the whole group sang Happy Birthday to my Beijing roommate in one big chant. She got all embarrassed bless her!"
"Overall I really enjoyed this trip! It taught me so much about such a different culture and I really valued the experience!! Sadly I didn't like the stressful atmosphere of China, but I would most definitely love to learn Mandarin Chinese. (Three years later that still hasn't happened - good one self!) I wouldn't have swapped this trip for anything, it was such a lot of fun with so many happy memories that I will cherish."
Hannah (Aged 18) - April 2011.
Hope you enjoyed these snippets!! I definitely enjoyed reliving the madness that was this super short trip! :D I've kept names vague for obvious reasons! Stay tuned for the next installation: Peru 2009!
Lots of love xxx