So, my final day in Beijing. The aim was to go do something exciting all day, mainly the beautiful Botanical Gardens. But in reality? I have once again been a hostel recluse. Another horrific night's sleep (both from cockroach-bashing and jetlag) meant I've once again spent my afternoon sleeping and reading. But I did go for a long walk all around the area I'm staying in to take lots of photos. The sun broke through the smog today, which was beautiful! And the temperature was 32*c, bliss. There's some really extraordinary houses hidden away here- it seems like the traditional old buildings were just extended in every direction. All the roofs are either very traditional stereotypical Chinese tiles, or blue sheeting. And a lot of the houses have trees growing through them which provides the lanes with plenty of shade (but must cause come problems in the rain). And I found a fruit market that has delicious peaches! A perfect lunch and finally a very happy Mills.
I have decided that I was too quick to judge this area (which I primarily described as being 'squalid') because the more I explore the more I actually really like it. Even though the houses are packed in, the tiny lanes mean that there are mostly local pedestrians, and basically no cars. You do get electric mopeds, but you can hear their gently whine before they hit you so you can get out the way. I have also found some really fantastic smelling food stalls, but I haven't dared trying anything yet. I talked to some guys at the hostel yesterday who said they had scorpions for lunch…. Apparently deliciously crunchy, especially compared to the giant crickets which tasted (to put it nicely) like 'poo' and 'urine' put through a mixer and then jammed up the 'bottom' hole of a worm which 'poo'd' it into the cricket. Yum, sounds great…. :/
I think I am going to miss it here, with its unique houses and people who have apparently never seen big bosoms before, but I'll try to come back toward the end of my Journey. Maybe by then there'll be a toilet door….
P.S. Both 'toilet' towels have now disappeared much to the amusement of everyone.
Apart from when they need the loo.
A whistling system has now replaced them.