Nǐ hǎo from Beijing
Trip Start Jun 20, 2010
74Trip End Dec 23, 2010
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Our first day saw us dropped off in another death taxi at Tiananmen Square along with the other twenty million inhabitants of Beijing with some added outsiders for good measure (China are definitely going to take over the world one day!). It was China's national holiday where they have seven days off and most people head to Beijing. Luckily Kate and I are relatively tall so we still managed to get to see Tiananmen Square (the largest city square in the world - 440,000 mē). We tried to get into the Forbidden City however after seeing all the crowds we decided to orgainse tours for the next two days (with an English speaking guide) and went for the local delicacy of Peking duck instead
The next day we were picked up bright and early and set out for Mu Tian Yu part of the Great Wall (which is 70 kms northeast of Beijing and is one of the best preserved parts of the wall). You can either hike up to the wall or pay to get a chair lift up and toboggan down. Mmmmmm i wonder what we chose? Once we were up on the wall it is plain to see how incredibly hard it must have been to build and what a monumental task it must have been. We also became aware of how unfit we have become as climbing some of those steps was agonising (but there were vendors selling beers at various stops!). From the Great wall we then headed off to the Ming Tomb where the Emperors of the Ming Dynasty chose to be buried due to the special Feng Shui environment of the surrounding land. The tomb that we visited was built 30 meters underground... which meant more steps!!!
No tour is complete without the hard sell of a market so we were taken to both a Jade and Silk market and managed to fend off the persistent sellers and left empty handed.
On day two we were again picked up early (you would think that we weren't on holiday!!!) and went to the Forbidden City. The city was the imperial palace from the Ming to the end of the Quin Dynasty with the last Emperor residing there in 1911. The city had 9999.5 rooms as it was believed that heaven had 10 000 rooms. Our guide laughed too when he said that at one stage an emperor had 3000 concubines
You guessed it - after the palace we were whisked away to a pearl and tea market (including a demonstration on how to drink and pour tea) - this time though we parted with a little cash for some Chinese Tea. That evening, after a well deserved Chinese foot massage, we hit the night market for some dinner - scorpions, cockroaches, snake, sheeps you-know what - whatever you could think of, they had it. However, we had to draw the line at dog and seahorses - that was just plain wrong!
Goodnight China and 'Good Morning Vietnam' ...