We arrived here safely after a 9 hour & 15 minute flight. We managed to find the hostel after getting lost in a taxi! We had a wander around yesterday but have mainly slept since we've been here! We've had one meal so far & all is well on the tummy front.
We are just about to get on our bikes & go for a ride around Tiananmen Square & the Forbidden City & then hopefully to watch a show tonight.
Check ya laters!
Sorry we haven't updated much, there is only one computer here & someone always seems to be on it! Also we can't upload photos as this is "Grandma Old Computer"!
We managed to survive bike riding on the streets of Beijing, we don't think there are any rules, just go where you like bsically, atho they do have cycle lanes, which cars go down all the time! We found our way to the Forbidden City but by the time we had got there we had missed the last chance to pay to get in to see all of it so we just had a wander round & when we came out we discovered that Tianamen Square was right across the road & somehow we had managed to miss it! In a way it was quite lucky that we were late as we came out at the time the guards were lowering the flag at the front of the building which brings in quite a big crowd. We then came back to the hostel for dinner, another chinese meal & tummys still good!
Today we went to Beijing Zoo & The Summer Palace. The zoo was a bit of a let down, all the cages were small & rusty and none of the animals looked particularly happy. Especially the Pandas. So we think we may go to Chengdu to se the wild pandas, altho we need to work out our schedule first as it is quite way out & there is a chance you may not actually see the Pandas!! We took a boat ride from the zoo up to the summer palace, it wasn't a very scenic trip but it was quite nice anyway and at least there was only one stop so we didn't get lost! When we got off the boat, we weren't really sure where we were going so we followed some chinese people onto a buggy thing. We kept getting pushed to the back of the queue & couldn't fit on two of them so when the next one came along we walked to the front but the driver drove right past us & to the other end of the queue! We did manage to squeeze on tho & we were the only ones that were asked to pay, we thought this was a bit sus as we were also the only ones asked to pay on the boat too! The buggy drove us up a short road & then we had to get out at the top! Apparently it was just or people that couldn't be bothered to walk up the road! We then had another hours walk to get to the Summer Palace. It was a lovely walk tho altho it was really windy that day & absolutely freezing! We walked to the top of the palace & there were some great views. We decided that we didn't want chinese food for a third day in a row so we found an italian restaurant on our map & asked a taxi driver to take us there. An hour & a half later we were still in the taxi, we were lost again! The driver kept asking passers by & jumping out & asking policemen, he even tried ringing the restaurant but there was no answer. Eventually we found the place, the reason for the no answer on the phone was that the restaurant was closed! We walked round the corner to KFC but could only eat the chips as I think Matthews "joke" about the C standing for something else other than chicken was actually true! So after another taxi drive back to the hostel (we got lost again) we went to the shop & bought a pot noodle, which was the best meal so far!
We were picked up at 7am by our guide for the day, Christine. We were going on an excursion to the Ming Tombs & Great Wall. We all took a taxi to the Marriot Hotel where the coach was picking us up from. We were the first to arrive so went round the corner for a macdonalds breakfast. We headed on the long journey to the Ming Tombs on the coach through rush hour traffic, we eventually got there & had a tour around for about 45 minutes and then it was back on the coach to the Jade Factory for lunch. We were shown how they carve & polish the jade & then had a look around all of the sculptures, which were amazing. On the coach Christine had said that for lunch we were having cat, dog & turtle for lunch, altho it was a joke, we had lost our appetite a bit! We spoke to a dutch couple who had just caught the night train up from Shanghai that morning & gave us some great advice & some cards to show taxi drivers when in Shanghai. Next we journeyed on to the Great Wall. From the group of 11, Charlie and I and a Canadian called Brian were the only ones who opted to climb the wall instead of going up on a cable car. It didn't take too long but in places there were no steps & the slopes were almost vertical. When there were steps they were all different sizes & there were holes everywhere! It was a great climb tho, it was amazing looking around the mountains & still seeing the wall curvng around them. We went to the Ba Da Ling section of the wall, which I'm guessing is the most popular as it was heaving. We have been getting a few stares, being western, especially around our hostel area as we are in a quiet part of Beijing & our hostel is actaully in a hutong, however a chinese man asked to have his photo taken with me today so I think in some places they really don't come across westerners very much at all! Brian, who we climbed the wall with, was a great person. He has been all over the world, by himself, travelling around. He had somr brilliant stories & great advice for us and we are going to meet up with him in Toronto on the last leg of our journey. After the great wall we went to the silk factory, it was quite interesting, however we were knackered & just wanted to get home by that point. We then had a mamouth coach journey back to the hostel where we enjoyed a pot noodle & a snickers & kinder bueno bar!
We have decided to stay on a few days more in Beijing & have to change rooms today at our hostel so we are just chilling out waiting to get in our new room, going on the internet & updating you guys & hopefully plan the rest of our trip in China!
See you guys soon! XxXx
Day five continued.....
We decided to go out for a meal today as we hadn't been out of the hostel all day & found a western restaurant that was quite near us. It was called the Courtyard & surprisingly we found it quite easy to find. Whe we got to the door w were asked if we had a reservation, we thought this was a bit strange but said no & an american guy came out & said we could eat if we were finished by 8pm, it was only 6.30 so we said ok. When we got inside we realised we were probably in the poshest restaurant in Beijing. We could only afford a main course & the bottles of wine were more money than we had on us! We had a small glass of the cheapest wine which they measured in a measuring jug at the table. Chrlie had honey roasted duck & I had salmon. It came out & was a tiny portion i the middle of the place with leaves on top & sauce decorated on the plate. It was really funny & it was delicious but it cost us a fortune! When we ate our bread thy came round & swept the table with a tiny brush!!
Today we went to the Lama Temple. It was beautifully decorated & really colourful. They had loads of carved buddhas but the last oe was humongous & carved out of one tree. You had to crane your neck to see the top of it. For dinner we went to Pizza Hut!
We went to the Train Station first thing to buy our tickets to Xi'an, it took us ages to find the right ticket place but we eventually bought our tickets for the 14 hour trip, we have hard sleeper cabin which we will share with 4 other people, that leaves tomorrow at 17.35. We caught a taxi over to the Forbidden City & had a nice walk around there & tonight we will eat chinese at the hostel & then head down to the night market for a scorpian & silk worm kebab. Speak to you again in a couple of days from Xi'an!