Thursday, June 09, 2011

04 May: Beijing

Was up early this morning for our drive to The Great Wall. Not sure how long it was really since I slept most of the way there. Did not sleep well again last night. Am struggling to fall asleep and then am randomly waking up during the early hours of the morning. Bought the same sandwich as yesterday from the bakery for breakfast on the drive :)

And then we arrived. They have a cable car option, or you can take the stairs up the side of the mountain. We took the stairs (Apparently there are about 800 or so). Although, the stairs don't end there! The section of the wall we visited (Mutianyu) was pretty much all stairs!

Still, it is vast and incredible to see. And my mind still boggles at the mere concept of it. I guess it is a bit like the pyramids & Machu Picchu like that, this amazing grand-scale thing built however long ago. I guess tho there is an element of us still doing that with super tall buildings (like in Dubai).

We spent a while walking down one stretch of the wall till it got to a bit that hasn't been restored and then back to the entrance we came in. It does all get pretty much the same after a while and exhausting because of it's sheer size. Still, it was awesome to just find a spot to contemplate the unique view for a while and try and picture how it must've been while being built or to come across accidentally.

(Chose the photo on the right because that's the section we actually climbed)

We were not so lucky (or maybe we were?) with the weather. It was overcast and misty which was great cause of all the over-exertion, but not ideal for long-distance photographs. I was also very pleased we went as early as we did because it was quiet for us, but we passed plenty of people as we were heading back.

We all decided to take the toboggan slide (speed-chute) down to the carpark/market area. Which was great fun :)

And then it started to rain a bit while we sat drinking hot chocolates in one of the restaurants. We had another really nice lunch there as well. Another aubergine dish (this time if was like they'd caramelised the aubergine, it was amazing!), Kung Pow Chicken, a pork and egg dish and another one with lots of carrot. I'll admit I was nervous before this trip cause I don't really eat much Chinese food back home, but the authentic food I've had here has been fantastic! Yum, such a pleasant surprise :)

After lunch we drove back to the city for our foot massages (this was all part of our day-tour). It was more like reflexology really and some bits really hurt! But it was fabulous. I'm pleased to report that my feet and ankles haven't given me any issues today (even with all those stairs on the Wall!).

We were lucky to get back to our hotel quite early (before 4pm). So we all headed out again to take whatever last bits of Beijing we could. This time I went off on my own mission and ended up at The Silk Market (much the same as yesterday's Pearl Market really, which is where the others had gone, haha). And this time I did end up shopping tho! I bought myself some cute green puma shoes and then an additional bag - I'm still lamenting my dreadful packing :(

And then it was back to the hostel. The weather was quite chilly and it was raining on and off all afternoon. I've found using their metro really easy (2yuan per trip - that's pretty much R2!) Although they've been standing room only every single trip I've done! I do find myself contemplating their 1-child policy and noticed I didn't see a single pregnant woman in Beijing. Plus I do find I kinda wanna go up to every parent walking around with a girl-child and high-5 them! Haha. I've learnt that the 1-child policy came into being in 1979, so just before I was born! We chatted about it quite a bit with our tour leader and apparently it doesn't apply to any of the minority groups in China. Also in some rural areas you are allowed to have a 2nd child if your first is a girl.

Also, I heard that they were considering changing it to allow you to have 2 children if both parents were single children. Very interesting. And to say China feels crowded is an understatement. I wonder what it would've been like without the policy. Plus I wonder what effect a generation of sibling-less children has had. They say that the reason that the Chinese all push to the front of queues and whatnot is because there are so many people and you have to look out for yourself and your family first. It's definitely an interesting social study.

Anyway, back at the hostel we lucked out by getting a free dinner because a couple had done one of the cooking courses and had way more food that they could finish. It was very yummy. Might do one of these later in the trip. Although I have never used anything from the one I did in Thailand :P

We decided that as a last thing in Beijing we'd go and see The Bird's Nest, their Olympic Stadium. It was pretty boring, honestly. We got out the station, took a bit of a wander closer, took some photos and turned around and came back. It was also super foggy and misty. Oh, and it was the *one* time there was plenty of space on the train (it's on a line of only 4 stations that I gather were mostly centered around Olympic stops). Haha.

1 comment:

Tamara said...

Wow - lots of stairs! The slide down sounds like a blast.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin