New Years Eve
Trip Start Dec 13, 2009
25Trip End Jan 22, 2010
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After class, I hailed a taxi to take me to the Capital Museum to meet my family. I had never taken a taxi by myself before, so it was a little daunting to flag it down and tell the driver where to go at first, but once we were moving it didn't make any difference. I saw my family on the stairs where we compared experiences from the museum, as I had been there a week before with Rebecca
We went by subway back to the station, and from there Nanna and I went via tuk-tuk to the local restaurant. I found out today that they call tuk-tuks 'three wheeled cars' here, but I much prefer the name 'tuk-tuk'. We ordered before the others arrived, so the food came almost as soon as they did. We went back to the hotel to sleep before the big new year's celebration that night. We
woke up in time to take the subway to Tian'anmen Square to watch the flag-lowering ceremony. The train doors are automatically opened and closed, so when the seven of us, plus many others tried to get off at Tian'anmen West Station, it was hardly surprising that Dad, Laura and I got left on. Those doors remind me of the type of doors that Maxwell Smart walks through to get to his office. We got off at the next station and ran to catch the train that would go back. We had to run once we got off the station, because the flag is lowered at exactly 4:59pm. We managed to catch up to the others, and we made it just in time for the soldiers in military precision walk across the road from the Forbidden City to Tian'anmen Square. They had blocked of this whole main road for the entirety of the event, so it was obvious that it was a big deal. The flag was lowered very ceremoniously, with it being folded in a precise way. The ceremony only lasted about 10 minutes, and I loved watching it. The last time that the flag would be lowered for the year, and we were there to experience it
The Silk Market was only a few stations away, so we decided to go there to kill time before we would meet Ian and Emily for dinner. It truly is a small world, when we bumped into some Australians. When asking where they were from in Australia, they replied Berwick, which was even more surprising. They were actually from Upper Beaconsfield, but they didn’t think that we’d know it. We told them that we have family there, and once we told them 'Fisher’, she goes, "yes, Ron Fisher". She was teaching English in Hong Kong, and was holidaying in Tibet and Beijing. It was a great coincidence.
We took the subway to Dongsi Shitiao station to meet Ian and Emily. They decided to take us to a restaurant in some Hutongs. They have just started a business where they translate the restaurant menus into English and it will soon expand to be a food take away delivery business too
We made our way from the Hutong village into taxis to go to a place imaginatively called "The Place" to celebrate New Years. Many taxis did not want to take us, because they knew that there was a big event there and there would probably be a traffic jam. The traffic ran smoothly though, and we all got there and met up. The Place has the biggest video display in the world. It made up the roof of the outdoor shelter. The Place by day is a very upmarket shopping centre, home to all the notoriously expensive brands. It was freezing in the cold, and we couldn’t bare to stay until midnight. That, coupled with the fact that there was tens of thousands of people there, fighting for a few taxis. The Place was breathtakingly beautiful; the lights, Christmas trees and general set up of it was magnificent
We caught taxis to go back to the hotel, where we intended to be home in time for the big countdown. We didn’t make it though, and so we welcomed the New Year from our taxi. Unfortunately, our taxi driver was not in a festive mood, so he was not into commemorating the new year. Mum,Nanna and the other girls had a driver that could speak English and was friendly and celebrated with them.
We came back to the hotel, having left in 2009 and returning in 2010, to go to bed.