Nihao from Beijing!
We arrived about 11am in Beijing. We were really tired so cheated and got a taxi to the hotel 45 min cab ride...can't believe how huge the city is, pop of 14m I believe. Met up with the other 10 folks on Friday night who we will be travelling with, they all seem a really fun bunch...4 Australians and the rest from the UK.
Saturday - Got up very early on Sat morning and took a 3 hour bus journey to Simatai where we hiked the Great Wall...the journey there was an adventure in itself...crazy local drivers, quite a few near misses with one lorry almost jack knifing in front of us, not sure how our driver missed that one! Thought we'd only be at the Great Wall a couple of hours, but 12k, 30 odd watch towers and 5 hours later we caught the bus back. The wall was amazing, took some photos but seem to be having a problem downloading them, so you'll have to wait to be bored with them another time! Health and saftey not an issue, I had to take it really carefully in places, as you know how clumsy I can be! China one side, Mongolia the other...could have fallen either side! The weather has been great, about 20, supposed to be around the 9 mark. One of the Australian girls twisted her ankle half way across the wall, so our journey was slowed down, she was helped by one of the local Mongolian folks. Journey back was even more eventful, as we were pushed for time to get to the Red Theatre to see The Legend of KungFu...it was good fun but probably would have enjoyed it more had we not walked so far and been suffering from jet lag...George fell asleep a couple of times, but dont tell him I told you!!
Sunday - had a free day, so caught up with some well earned sleep and then explored the city a little. Went to another show in the evening...Chinese Acrobats then popped to a local noddle bar where I had the best duck and noddles ever...well we were told it was duck...mmm!
Monday - Another early start...visited Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City...more walking...at this rate I'll have calves like Mr Fields (some of you will know what I'm referring to!). The areas are so vast, so many people...very interesting. We then visited a local community centre who look after the mentally handicapped, they cooked us lunch and put on a show for us then tried to teach us calligraphy in Chinese...very humbling. Caught a rickshaw through the Hutongs (back alleys) which was good fun although vvv cold...the weather has now turned to minus zero...lots of layers...still can't get used to being stared at all the time, but I did look silly today with my sexy strippy beany on!! Have only learned a few important words like '2 cold beers please'...'where's the toilet' and 'this dish is sexy'...very poor I know...but its a start!!
Catching overnight train to Xi'an at 9pm (13 hours) so will sign on again soon...
Zaijian for now...