Trip Start Dec 13, 2009
Trip End Jan 22, 2010

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Flag of China  , Beijing,
Monday, December 28, 2009

Today was a later start; we were woken by a call from the tour guide to say that she was 30 minutes away from our hotel with our grandmother.  That sure jumped us into gear.  We made it just in time to meet Nanna at reception, so we could carry her bags up to our room.  We woke up my sisters so that we could all have breakfast, but they were harder to wake up than we thought, so we let them sleep for longer.  I really enjoy the days that we don't have anything planned, so we can take our time.  I also love the busy days, and you can't appreciate one without the other. 
We went to the Silk market at about 11, and we took the subway.  I have a public transport card, which is similar to the Myki that the Victorian Government is trying to introduce.  I don't know why our system failed so miserably, when this system is nearly flawless.  Hopefully Metro can copy this type of system to run it

The silk market was great, it is not necessarily the shopping that we go for, it is more to see the people. It is a fun experience if you want it to be for everybody.  We have gone to the same people for four years now, and are friends.  One even left her stal to chat to us for 20 minutes, and then showed Hayley where she bought her boots from because Hayley wanted the same pair.  It was funny when we introduced Nanna to one of these people, and they said "Pleased to meet you" to which nanna replied; "may peace be with you, too."  The shopkeeper didn't get why we all started howling with laughter, but she may not have understood what nanna had said.

We took a taxi back to the hotel, going unintentionally the long way, so it cost almost double what it would normally have.  The taxi driver was great though, talking to me animatedly in Chinese, and so allowing me to use some Chinese back. 
We had dinner at teh local restaurant that we often go to- they know who we are by now.  There was a plate that we ordered that had so many chillis that I could have probably filled a bathtub with them!  The waitress realised that we were not into the spiciness, so she sorted through this huge plate to dig out the pieces of meat buried amongst the chilli lake.  I took a taxi back to Rebecca's house after dinner, and it was nice to see her and her mother again.
Every Monday is a struggle to find a taxi, and today was no exception.  It took 20 minutes to find an availbale taxi, and as a result, I was running to make it to class in time.  The class ran as usual, the teacher went round the class asking people why they didn't turn up on Christmas Day.
I had a small cold as I came to school, and when I entered class, I saw that many of my classmates and my teacher also had the sniffles.  We may have passed something on to each other.
We had to do some improvisational role plays infront of class, which made for a lot of laughs. 
Dad, Nanna and Hayley picked me up from the foyer of the building, and we took a taxi back to the hotel.  I chatted with the taxi driver about a whole range of topics, which is always very beneficial.
We had a quick lunch at a restaurant.  Here, the restaurants are almost as quick as fast food.  They cook weell and quickly.  Aussie chefs take note.
We were met in the hotel foyer by Lyndsey, who took us via bus to the Hutongs.  There are only a few protected Hutong villages left in Beijing after the Olympics and the modernisation of Beijing, and we went to the largest and the oldest.  Once a place that only the rich could stay in, it is  now free for everyone to visit. Those who own a private Hutong there are lucky- they are worth a staggereing AUD$20,000 per square metre.  We visited a 200 square metre hutong that a man, Mr. Wu has lived in for 56 years that is woth AUD$4,000,000.  Mr. wu had met lots of famous people through letting them look through his house- from the Norweigen Prime Minister to the former US Secretary of State.
We took rickshaws through the Hutongs, which was fun and warm because we were tucked in with a little blanket.  That's my favourite part of the tour.
We got back on the bus and were taken to an acrobatics show. We went to this show in April thios year, but it does not make it any less spectacular.  The performers were btwisting their bodies in ways that I am sure we were not made to do, and making it look easy the whole time.  They would often make little mistakes on purpose, to secrelty show you that their stunts were all real, and not helped by and harnesses or other cheating.  They did tricks that are banned in Australia because they are so dangerous, and made the whole audience gasp.  I just loved it.
We took the subway home, and it was the tightest squeeze that I've ever done.  This was not just in the subway, but also in the station trying to get out.  This is peak hour Beijing, and it was amazingly packed.
I went back top Rebecca's house to finish my homework after dinner.
Slideshow Report as Spam


Andrew on

You need to be here to appreciate how biting the cold really is , just eats through the layers , ouch

joan34 on

Yes, We know qabout the cold - but the hotels are so hot, it's difficult to remember to put on all the necessary layers - one time I forgot my long johns, & was suprised that I managed quite well, but we weren't outside for much that day. We needed everything & more at the Great Wall
A great read, Amy!
Love Nana & Pa

katemel on

Isn't that the image you want in your head - Nana in long johns - or not in them. Don't know which is a better image!!!! Anyway, change of subject I think is needed here! Sounds like you're having fun with the family - a bit hard going back to school. At least school is only half a day!

katemel on

Talking about MYKI...................: LYNNE Kosky has made another myki gaffe, failing to remember the customer hotline during a radio interview.
The customer hotline number is 13 MYKI, or 13 6954........................... Maybe one day we will have a system as good as the Chinese system!

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