Our first day in Beijing was getting organised - we started with a trip to the Vietnamese embassy to get visas. Getting around Beijing is so much easier than Russia - everything is in English as well as Chinese and the people are extremely helpful. Not so at the Vietnamese embassy - she could issue a visa but we had to be exact about our date of entry and her advise was to do this in Kunming before we left for Vietnam. We then tried to organise the rest of our stay in Beijing - this was quickly thrown into chaos when we found that we could not get a ticket out due to the public holiday (or at least that is what the hotel said). After exhausting all options with them we went down to the station (45 minute journey or it should have been if the Chinese lady had not told us to get off the bus half way!). At the station, we managed to get a ticket for the day we wanted but not the train or the class (on a train that gets in at 4:00 am and in hard sleeper). On the way to the station we saw the night shift of 'golden chicken food' warming up with their pre work exercises. It was funny to watch as they didn't seem to be taking it too seriously - even the other Chinese passers by were taking the mick. We then went for dinner and tried a reasonable looking place that was full of locals. The menu was in pictures with ducks head although the locals seemed to be going for the hotpot where you cook the food yourself though with all kinds of strange ingredients. We opted for the duck and the waiter suggested adding potato (not a well known Chinese vegetable). We thought we were getting the self steamed option as well but it turned out it was Duck & potato plus some other vegetables - all cooked in Chilli oil with lots of Chillies, Garlic and Ginger. It was OK as duck bones go! At least we avoided some of the other options - Bull's tongue or cattle genitals.The next day we started to see the sights. Unfortunately it had turned cold and rainy. We went off to Tiananmen square and the Forbidden city. We arrived at the Tiananmen square and then it was into the crowds. We nearly joined the queue for Chairman Mao's mausoleum by mistake, walked past all the Olympic decorations that were being dismantled and eventually found our way into the Forbidden city. There were hundreds of Chinese tour groups and thousands of people. At times it seemed like there was a sea of umbrellas all trying to poke me in the eye.We walked in through 2 enormous courtyards and then realised we had only just got to the ticket office. It was then into the palace. It is vast - lots of large pavilions with names like palace of eternal happiness, harmonious melody etc.. You could not go into them but just had to look at the various rooms through glass. I think some should be renamed 'temple of the eternal scrum' or 'hall of eye poked out with brolly' as there were so many people trying to look in with the Chinese all pushing, it was a mess - especially with the umbrellas everywhere. After seeing the first few halls, we got away from the tour groups into the museum part of it. Some parts were quite interesting - the treasury and the clock collection were well worth seeing. The lasting impression however is just the sheer size and scale of it.Afterwards we went out and have another try to find a place that did Peking Duck. We had a recommendation from the hotel and eventually found it. It was the place with the 2 pigs that we had been looking for the first night. Another bad selection from the menu as we picked a chicken dish to eat whilst we waited for the duck - the chicken came in chilli oil and ginger and was very spicy. Still the duck was excellent.