Tuesday, June 07, 2011

02 May: Trans-Mongolian Train (Jining to Beijing) to Beijing

Had set my alarm quite early this morning (06h45) in the hopes of catching the first sight of The Great Wall. But I was quite exhausted due to lack of sleep the night before (and I did not sleep well at all in those 4 hours) and the blinding morning sunlight meant I didn't actually see it, although I did wait up with high hopes. Eventually I went off to use my breakfast voucher, which provided me with 2 slices of white bread, 2 boiled eggs (in their shells) and some butter and strawberry jam with revolting tea (as you probably already know, I am not a great fan of tea in general).

The view really isn't what I expected. So far China seems very industrious. They are building and planting and farming en masse, in what appears to be a very organised fashion.

I did manage to get a little more sleep and now we've just been re-packing our bags and all the covers and sheets from our cabin have been collected. It's almost 11h30, time for our free lunch :)

The free lunch wasn't too bad. 2 meatball type things with a cabbage/lettuce type salad and rice. And only chopsticks to eat with :) I didn't bother eating the rice. (I've never understood rice generally, but most certainly not plain white rice with no sauce ?!?)

After that it was pretty much just waiting around watching some of the most gorgeous mountain scenery till we got to the outskirts of Beijing. Seriously now tho, I am sick of going thru tunnels on a train - haha! There really is an absolutely unbelievable number of them thru the mountains.

And then we got to Beijing station and it was goodbye to Rat and @nctift as we all went our separate ways. I headed off in search of an atm and then was very lucky to find a girl I recognised from the train (another carriage) who was luckily an experienced traveller to China and knew how their Metro system worked - very lucky for me because although it really is easy enough, it would've been very tricky to figure out alone with no Metro map. Thankfully just about everything is duplicated in English since the 2008 Olympics.

So, with a quick Metro trip (involving 1 line change), on one of the busiest trains I've ever been on in my life (it's like every single train is rush hour!) I made my way quite easily to 9 Dragon House, my Intrepid tour joining point.

Oh, and was I ever thrilled to pieces to get into my room and have my first shower since the morning of my birthday!! And yay, the hostel has free wifi to keep me entertained while I wait for the Introductory meeting.

We have a local tour leader and the whole group is just 4 girls. 2 who are friends from the UK, an Australian from Melbourne and me.

After our meeting we went just around the corner to a local restaurant for dinner. Apparently Peking Duck is the speciality in Beijing, so naturally we all wanted that! We let our tour leader order for us. In traditional Chinese style, we ordered a number of dishes for the table and all got to taste them (that lazy susan is there for a reason! Who knew?). We had Peking Duck, Chili & Aubergines, a peppery Beef dish, garlic Asparagus and then Lotus Root with a Blueberry sauce.

It was all delish and we didn't come close to even finishing it. We learnt to eat the Peking Duck skin dipped in sugar too (to not make it taste so fatty). Was a lovely way to start the trip :)

1 comment:

Tamara said...

I love those "order and share" meals where you get to try all sort of different things. Yum.

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