Beijing is HUGE - so is this blog, sorry
Trip Start Jul 06, 2010
54Trip End Jun 28, 2011
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Where I stayed
What I did
Hiked the Great Wall & Saw the Beijing Sights
Beijing is built on a grid system with the blocks being around 1km long. Making the city almost impossible to walk. We learned quickly that a couple block walk could take 30 mins.
We arrived early on the first day and headed to Tianamen Square for a walk about and then headed to the Forbidden City
We also made a visit to the 2008 Olympic Bird's Nest and Water Cube. The buildings are just as impressive as they were on TV - although we couldn't help but notice that the buildings seem to be under utilized.....the "White Elephant" curse of the Olympics we guess. Seems such a shame....
We also spent some time exploring the weird food markets where you can buy scorpions, snakes, slugs, beetles etc. on a stick. We thought about trying some of these delicacies but we are just not that adventurous. We also haggled like fiends at the fake good markets - it's amazing how we can get the price down from $65 to $7....practise makes perfect.
Of course no trip to Beijing would be complete without a trip to the Great Wall of China which is almost 9,000 km long! So we put on our dirty smelly runners and hired a tour guide to take the two of us to the Wall. We were a bit peeved at having to spend money on a tour guide, but we wanted to walk a portion of the Wall that was unrestored and it just seemed too difficult to do on our own. So we got off our wallet's and dished out some cash for a private tour. Good thing too as there was no way we would have been able to do it on our own without getting lost or scammed
We started our hike at the Jiankou section which is about 80km NE of Beijing. This section of the wall has never been restored and as a result is considered one of the most dangerous sections of the Wall (thus our decision to take a guide). To start the hike we climbed for about an hour straight up the mountain to an unrestored section of the wall. It was a killer hike, or at least Wendy thinks so. She huffed, puffed and cursed her beer drinking ways as she slowly climbed up the mountain (emphasis on "slowly"). But the view at the top was worth it. The wall was breath taking and well worth the sweaty climb up and we were the ONLY tourists on this section of the wall. Perfect for picture taking.
We hiked the unrestored wall from Jiankou to the restored Mutianyu section which has a couple cable cars up to it and a toboggan run down. The toboggan run was a fun way to get down the mountain by the way. This section had more tourists on it (all of whom seemed to have taken the cable car up - lazy bastards!). It was still a nice section of the Wall and we went on a Monday so the crowds were pretty slim considering.
The Wall is definitely deserving of being one of the Wonder's of the World
Five days in Beijing is just not enough, we could have easily spent another week there. But, we had a flight to catch back to Bangkok with Air China - which by the way, is now officially tied with Northwest Airlines as one of the worst airlines (as far as we are concerned). Not only was the service terrible, food inedible and entertainment (like a TV) non-existent, but the flight was delayed 4 hours resulting in us arriving at our Bangkok hotel at 4:30am.....argh!
Anyways, we are back in Bangkok for a couple nights to get things sorted before we head for the MALDIVES!!!! That's right folks - we blew the bank and are coming home completely broke with not a penny to our names. We have spent every last cent on a one week vacation to Wendy's dream destination. We are staying at the Hilton, which by the way was one of the cheaper hotels - imagine! We are going to roll up to the Hilton with our backpacks and smelly runners - should be quite the sight. We'll let you know how it is.