I woke in a puddle of sweat, with a throat ache and saw head. It must have been a good night! Eventually we left the hostel to explore. As soon as you open the gates the City hits you there's no slow build up just wham Beijing up in your grill. We found a huge lake close by away from the hussle and bussle with families rowing boats, kids playing and old men fishing. It looked like a postcard so we just sat and soaked it in for a while, or did we just sit and soak for a while. I looked like one of those sprinklers you put in the middle of the grass. It was HOT! I remember describing being in Moscow like being in a Sauna, this was like being in an oven. We wondered around for hours trying to find a famous bar street. But we never found it. To the casual observer we were lost but we knew better, we were exploring. Every street was different there was so much to see. There were shops full from floor to ceiling, with no shelves or labels or aisles, just piles and piles of stuff everywhere in no particular order. They also doubled as homes with a small space cleared for the owners bed and the pavement out front as their living room. There were hamsters, turtles, birds and puppies for sale, I never worked out if they were pets or dinner. There were shops of every kind everywhere. But there was everything everywhere. It was very overwhelming. In a city 10 times the size of a usual city I guess they needed 10 times the amount of hairdressers and 10 times the amount of everything. I think China is a glimpse of what the whole world will be like if we carry on multiplying at the rate we are, just people everywhere not a spare inch. We need to hurry up and colonise the moon, maybe we could send all the wrongens there, like Australia.
We walked miles. My knee was really causing me pain and I felt like I was going to faint, obviously due to the ordeal of trekking to the hostel yesterday and nothing to do with drinking like a fish and dancing like a crazy all night. Eventually we found a KFC and a costa, like an oasis in a desert. Unfortunately i think the Kernels secret recipe has been lost in translation but I didn't care the air conditioning more than made up for it. The Costa was the nicest I have ever seen. It was in a converted old traditional stone building, and unlike the bland boxes fresh off the production line that we call Costa's in England this one had real character. It was over £3 for a coffee which was amazing considering you could have dinner for 90p in the same street or buy 10 beers from the supermarket for the same price. But somehow in a nation known for its tea houses this place was doing a roaring trade, full of locals. Drinking my average coffee it finally dawned on me after 5 years, it wasn't about the taste of the coffee, these people wanted to be part of a fad, it was about seeing and being seen. I vowed to make this my last Costa. After a well needed rest we explored some more hutongs and quirky shops and made our way back to the hostel. We closed the courtyard gate on the crazy city opened a beer and relaxed.