Great Wallin'

Trip Start Aug 24, 2011
Trip End Jun 15, 2012

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

               Our very last traveling trip here in China has happened.  Amanda and I ventured to Beijing in Northern China with Kevin and Krissy.  Amanda and I had planned on going to Beijing during the Tomb Sweeping holiday in China.  Then we found out Kevin was going to see a Chinese friend, who just happens to be a Chinese tour guide.  We decided that we would travel together.

                The trip to Beijing was a wonderful one, even though we were on a train for 24 hours.  We climbed the Great Wall which was simply amazing and almost mind blowing that I was able to see and be on a Wonder of the World.  We also went to the Forbidden City.  This was quite nice and having Bobby as a guide helped us learn information that many other people did not get.  We did a lot of walking and touring different parks.  Tiananmen Square was another stop we made and we were able to walk around the square and take pictures of another Chairman Mao craving/statue

                The main way we traveled in Beijing was through subways which at some points were awful.  Although, the subways zipped us places and cut down our travel time and expenses we would be shoved on other people and at some points you would be back to back or face to face with complete strangers.  I really hate places with large crowds, especially those that are touching you when you do not know them.  It grosses me out and always has….so needless to say the subways were not for me.  At one point we met a French couple, one time when we were shoved into a subway car like cattle.  I kept apologizing for stepping on the French woman's foot and then the Chinese man next to me was so close to me while he tried to get into his bag he was accidently touching me.  I must have been making a face about this because the woman was like, "Are you scared?" UM DO I LOOK SCARED? No, I’m not scared I just don’t like strangers touching me because we are so close to one another.- was the thought that flashed through my mind but I responded with a sweet, “No, just don’t like crowds”. 

                On the subways, there are two sets of doors.  There is a door to the actual subway car and then to the tunnel that the subway cars run.  The doors open and since the Chinese all just fight with one another to get on and off the subway this can be quite a scary time since there is a lot of movement happening.  Within a matter of seconds a loud beeping goes off and then the doors shut….and hopefully no one is stuck.  Well, while we were riding the subway this small pudgy woman probably in her late 60s was trying to get on the subway at the last minute.  Krissy and I were standing at the very edge of the car next to the door.  We both grabbed her arm trying to pull her into the subway as the beeping went mad.  The doors started shutting and since it does not stop shutting Krissy and I jerked our arms back.  She fell back in the small space between the other pair of closed doors to the tunnel.  The door to the subway car shut and I just knew I was about to see this woman’s blood splattered across the window.  Luckily, the door which kept beeping reopened and she wobbled into the car giggling not phased she easily could have died or lost a limb or something.  Subways= death traps…I am now convinced.

                Besides sightseeing Amanda and I spent a great deal shopping.  We shopped until we dropped in this large mall which was small vendors and was like floor by floor different things like electronics, pottery, clothes, etc.  It was fantastic and each day I think we stopped by and found something new.  We of course bargained and haggled on everything and got some great deals.  Bobby was impressed with our haggling ability.  I swear…the trick is walking away or calling them “Brother” or “Sister”.  They love it.

                After Beijing, Amanda and I came home and met with Martina about booking our tickets home.  Technically, our contract is not up until June 30th but we will be finished teaching June 8th.  The school had wanted us to stay until June 30th…which made NO sense.  So after pointing out that flights jump in prices in a matter of days they agreed to us booking our flight home for June 14th.  Amanda and I rushed back to our room to book the tickets.  Amanda booked hers for under $1000 but unfortunately, I was not so lucky.  When I tried to book with her plane…she had actually booked the very last ticket.  When I tried to book another flight which was the same one it tried to tell me the price had jumped to $1300 from like $950.  Then I tried to redownload this and start over.  As soon as it got to the page that says in bold letters “DO NOT EXIT. COULD CAUSE ERRORS TO CREDIT CARD” it froze.  Yes, froze for a good 15 minutes.  I then called through Amanda’s Skype minutes only to get some poor man in India that could barely put together the English I was trying to say to him via the computer about my problems.  After more time spent on the phone with him I learned, 1. Amanda’s flight was booked. 2. The other flight I wanted had jumped in price and was getting ready to jump again…would I like to book for $1300? I hung up, left Amanda’s room, and cried my eyes out while I searched for another flight that would be around the same day as Amanda’s and around the same price.  I had to settle on flying out later than her on June 14th for $1100.  I will take it though….even though I will be arriving in the Changsha airport around 6 pm on June 13th and will be staying there for 24 hours until my evening flight the next day…since hostels are way too expensive.  Oh, well…’Murica you are in my sights….I will be seeing you soon!
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