So, sorry we've been away for a few days, we couldn't be bothered updating day-by-day!
Since our last blog we've finally visited the forbidden city although we did make another friend on the way! An art student who showed us his college's exhibition and then as a gift painted our names and a wish of our choice in calligraphy. The city was beautiful but after a while everything looked the same and it appears we may have missed out a lot as we didn't even see the emporers bedroom. We took a rickshaw ride through the hutong area (back streets where the poor people live) and visited Beihai Park where we saw the White Dagonda (or something like that) and the lake was completely frozen over - a sign of how cold it's been here! It was really pretty even though we were freezin! In the park we saw people dancing and performing Tai Chi. We think they should do it in Britain. Looks fun, even in the cold! We only saw half of the park (it's huge) and we got a bit lost but eventually found our way home (spotting a pizza hut on the way so we went there for dinner last night). In the evening we watched a chinese acrobatics show, was amazing! all young children but very talented.
Yesterday, we had a well deserved lie in followed by Peking Duck for lunch and then we planned to visit the cathedral which is only a short walk from our hostel Unfortunately, it was closed so we found a coffee shop with free internet and spent a few hours there instead. It was the end of New year celebrations yesterday so there were lots of fireworks going off in the streets and we had the feeling of walking around in the Blitz at times! We wandered up the road next to our hostel during the blitz and discovered a local community of fruit stalls, street cafes and a sex shop! Of course we we took a pic.
Today (fri) we set off on an organised tour and started our day visiting an enamel workshop where tradition chinese vases and plates etc are made. May sound boring but was interesting to see - so much detail - need a steady hand, good eye and lots of patience but the results are well worth it!
Then, probably the highlight of the day, we climbed the great wall! Took us an hour to climb the section we were at as was hard work as we are obviously well unfit! We met an American from Louisiana on our way, he was also struggling to climb to the top and kept stopping to have a fag on the way! He was telling us he visited Britain with his wife 25 years ago and now has a son called Scott, no prizes for guessing where he was conceived!
Frm the great wall we then visited jade and silk workshops and visited another tea house! Rach is definately converted! We then drove past the Birds nest (Olympic stadium to those who don't know) but we couldn't stop so the pics are crap.
We're now back at the hostel drinkin 2 large bottles of beer that we've bought for under 50p! for both! Thanks to Sarah for the penknife with the bottle opener!
In general here we've noticed the traffic is crazy, bikes (there really are 9 million!) and cars don't observe any traffic rules, the green man here means nothing! It's never safe to cross the road without constantly looking in every direction. Also, it seems normal here to spit out all the phlem from your lungs onto the floor pretty much where ever you are! nice!
We're changing hostels tomorrow and hope to visit summer palace and the zoo before we leave Beijing on Mon to go to Xi'an on an 11 hr overnight train. Will update more then.
Love you all