You'd mistake us for locals at this stage, honest
Trip Start Jun 25, 2011
62Trip End Dec 01, 2012
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So Tom reckoned it was jet lag but by my reckoning it was a just a lie in....have struggled to get up before 10 since finishing work anyway so don't see why this morning would be any different. Anyway I leapt out of bed thinking it was 12.30 and tried to light a fire under Tom to get him moving. Really I'd misheard Tom telling me the time and it was 10.30 so not too bad considering the 'jet lag'. Discovered breakfast is included with the room at the hostel (yey) then set out for the day.
Tried out Beijing's underground system which is deadly, very fast and straightforward and the stops are even announced in English. Got off Line 5 down by the Park of the Temple of Heaven and set about exploring
Leaving the Park we headed a few km North on foot and stepped out of a busy shopping area down a Hutong to find a place to get lunch. Ordering was pot luck. Tom ordered duck - turned out OK, I thought I was playing it safe ordering chicken and peppers but when it arrived I dubious straight away from the colour of the meat. Brandishing my chopsticks I tried some....like chewing on leather and no chicken taste. Tom braved some and decided they were kidneys or livers, blurgh. Honest to God the size of the pile of meat on this plate and I think we managed to eat 4 pieces between us! Filled up (on duck and rice) we continued on to Tiananmen Square and after negotiating a number of security checks and diversions we entered the massive expanse that is the Square. Honestly wasn't quite the spectacle I thought it would be, for some reason soldiers had a big part of it sectioned off as well. Luckily caught the changing of the guards and as we were leaving the sun was starting to set which was quite picturesque. At this point you'd swear Tom's legs were going to fall off and so we hopped on the underground back to the hostel.
Headed out for dinner late enough after a long days sightseeing. Walked about 15mins up the road to 'Ghost Street' a kilometre stretch lined on both sides with wall to wall restaurants and red Chinese lanterns hanging from the trees. Did a lap of one side of the street before doing a U-turn and plucked up the courage to venture into somewhere
Day 3 - The day I promised Tom we wouldn't walk as much but it didn't quite work out that way
Got an earlier start and after breakfast headed to the Forbidden City. We stumbled across this on the first nights walk and that's what most of those pictures are of. A few degrees hotter today, it was up to 34 C and we were feeling it straight away. En route Tom was delighted to discover his Chinese counterparts - the Chinese culchies were looking out for him when he at last managed to withdraw money from the Chinese Agricultural Bank (yes really a bank for culchies) having had his card refused at other banks ATM's
Left the Forbidden City around 5ish and headed to Beihai Park. Stunning views from here over the 'North Sea' lake. Strolled around for a good bit taking in the scenery and watching old folk doing Tai Chi. Left the park in search of a beer and after me getting us slightly lost we hit the jackpot and found a great Hutong with lots of bars and resturants. Slightly more touristy than the other places we'd come across and so after stopping off for a beer in a bar with a roof top terrace we found a restaurant and ordered some delicious food easily enough. Off to the Great Wall tomorrow and so going to aim for an earlyish night. Next post should be a good one - we have our bags packed with all the essentials - GAA jerseys and macarenas
Karen and Tom
Disclaimer: Day 2: "a couple of Kms" we walked for at least 10 hours with only one or two stops. Must have been at least 20 miles (nearer 30 i think)
Day 3: Much of the same...
(probably worth it though)
Also were going to the great wall with a pair of maracas not macarenas