How many people can you fit on the Great Wall?
Trip Start Sep 08, 2011
13Trip End Dec 18, 2011
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According to our guide book, we needed to register our stay with the police within 24 hours of arriving. This is normally done by your hotel, but as we weren't staying at one, we needed to register ourselves, so we traipsed down to the local police station on our second day
That night we caught up with Bethany, a friend of housemate Dan who had stayed with us in London for a while. Bethany is now living in Beijing and teaching English. It was lovely to catch up and hear how she is getting on. She really impressed us with her command of Chinese.
The next day we visited Tiananmen Square. It is absolutely vast and was packed with Chinese people out celebrating the national holiday. The long line waiting to enter the Forbidden City put us off visiting that day, so instead we wandered the nearby streets and found a brilliant food market selling all sorts or weird, wonderful and supposedly edible things! Steering clear of of the scorpions on a stick, and the juicy looking crickets (how unadventurous of us!), we instead opted for some dumplings, fried ice-cream on toast, and pineapple rice. My favourite was the latter - a scooped out pineapple filled with rice and then sugar sprinkled on top. Yes please!
The following day we visited the Great Wall of China, the only man made object visible from space
Dean had a skype interview for a job in Melbourne the next morning so we got up early to get ready. I'd almost forgotten how to iron a shirt it had been so long! Following the interview we headed off for a day of tennis at the Beijing Open thanks to Ed, who had very kindly left us skybox tickets for the day session. We had a lovely time, and saw some excellent matches, including one between Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and one of the locals hopes, Ze Zhang. Ze Zhang put up a good fight but was no match for Tsonga who made it through to the semis, much to the disappointment of the largely Chinese crowd
We left the next day for a week in Japan (see separate entry) before returning to Beijing for one more night. Whilst there we made it to the Forbidden City and the impressive Lama Temple, which contains a 26m tall statue of buddha, carved from only one piece of sandalwood. We also caught up with Ed and Bella (and their adorable little boy Oscar) for a lovely lunch before heading off to the train station for our overnight journey to Xi'an.