After an amazing flight on a huge jet, slippers, personal TV stations and lip balm included, we decided the easiest and safest route to our Beijing hostel would be via cab. Upon queuing at the designated taxi zone, we offered our Chinese printed address to the steward, who subsequently flagged a cab and asked us to show it to the driver. We got in the cab, the driver glanced at it and motioned to us to get out - obviously unaware of the location or his manners. We returned to the steward and he summoned taxi number two who had the same reaction but following, what appeared to be, a quick phone call to our hostel he was prepared to give it a go.
As we drove through Beijing, the traffic was horrendous, drivers appear to completely lack any form of traffic conduct and beep at each other for the sake of being noticed - it's all very pushy and dangerous with lots of bikes and electric scooters making shockingly illegal and crazy manoeuvres. There are no traffic lights to allow pedestrians to cross, instead there are a lot of zebra crossings that drivers do not stop for - you've just gotta run and dodge the traffic - we have a few people practically walk into our cab as we drive.
Our driver drops us off, the meter reads 101 yuan so we offer him 200 waiting for change, he provides 50 yuan. He is obviously chancing his arm - we wave our hands and he offers another 10, then another 10 - it's beginning to get annoying as he seems to also find it funny so Matt whips the additional 100 yuan out of his hand. He then motions that he needs more, we realise he is owed the 10-yuan toll fee so we pay it - he does not however succeed in providing himself with a 40-yuan tip.
We walk the route on our map to the hostel, arriving 2 hours later realising that the idiot taxi man dropped us off at the wrong side of town. It's dark, lots of alleys and we are so peeved, but we finally make it and the reward is great. Happy dragon hostel is brilliant - basic but more than adequate with a cafe bar, internet use and laundry service. We discover that for political reasons the Chinese government have banned the use of Facebook and Gmail following arguments over both sites not complying with their laws over content - apparently, a riot was organised via Facebook a few years ago, but they now have a very government controlled Social Media site that is strictly for Chinese nationals
We head to the restaurant at the end of the street called "my home" choosing sweet and sour and spicy chicken dishes. As the portions arrive we realise perhaps we over ordered - the Chinese are very generous with food portions just be sure to avoid fermented meat - which is typically dog meat and readily available.
The food was great and we crash for an early night jet lagged.