The circle complete
Trip Start Mar 14, 2006
9Trip End Apr 14, 2006
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I officially spent the worst 7 hours of any birthday ever the other day, crammed into cattle class on the 11 hour overnight train from Qingdao to Beijing. I like to call it 'the train ride from hell'. Apart from the general uncomfortableness of it, my iRiver ran out of batteries, I finished my book really early in the trip, and there was a dude across from me that insisted on whistling realy loudly at about 3 in the morning. Straight from hell, I swear. I'm glad I wasn't one of the people sitting on the floor or standing. The rest of the day was much better - relaxed, a few beers here and there and general feasting
So I've tied up a few loose ends in Beijing - things I didn't get to see the 1st time around. To provide a fair comparison, I will describe them in the same manner as I did the sights of Beijing on my first trip here:
Beihai Park? poor man's summer palace (admittedly on a cold and windy day)
Lama Temple? decent, although the enormous statute of Buddha, standing at a Guinness World Record height of 26m was particularly impresive.
Old Ming City Wall? Ok. I mean, it's a wall and I'm a sucker for ancient walls. Although it's not complete like Pingyao's or Xian's, it was charming in its disrepair.
Bicycle Ride through the northern lakes? Brilliant.
Bicycle chain breaking on the way back to hostel? Average
4 hour trek back across town with broken bicycle? Average
On returning the Beijing, I realised how much stuff that I had missed. It must all be saved for when I return (there should be some kind of trevi fountain type wayw to ensure you come back)...
So now I'm off to Korea to see Chris. And I know what you're thinking - there's gonna be trouble. Mark + Chris = Trouble. Note the capital t. Just to confirm that there was going to be trouble, I consulted a magic 8 ball which, after being asked 'is there going to be trouble in Korea 3 times, gave the following responses:
2. The future is unclear.
3. All signs point to yes.
I'm taking the first response as indicating that there is going to be trouble. 2 out of 3 ain't bad...
For Korea, this travelblog will have a new entry - i think I'll call it "Korea of the Devil of the death from Hell".
So to conclude China of the Devil of the Death from Hell Part 1", I outline my top 5 single most memorable moments of the trip so far - a serious top 5 for a change:
5. Sitting on the banks of Kunming Lake at the Summer Palace, both the sum and the temple atop longevity hill watching from above, water lapping, eating popcorn.
4. Sitting by the water inb Qingdao, reugged up from the cold, looking through the fog as dramatic waves break metres from me, church bells clanging in the distance, reading my book.
3. Sunrise at Taishan - ridiculously early, bitterly freezing but, more than anything, utterly beautiful.
2. Cycling around the city wall in Xian - an ancient wall and a bicycle. Brilliant.
1. Sitting at the top of the Great Wall, watching it snake down, writing in my journal, eating BBQ chips, the cold wind blowing.
See you all in Korea. Do it...