04 December 2007


Hooraa! I've almost completed looking at and editing down the few hundred photos I'd taken from Beijing! Everything is starting to look the same so I should post a little about our trip before it's all a blur. I will elaborate more in future posts, but the trip was very very fast paced, we didn't stop to sit for more than a couple minutes. Our "tour-guides" were morons employed only with the task of taking our money at every turn. "Cash Grab" anyone? Beijing is an amazing city, but you cannot go anywhere without someone trying to rip you off, no matter how you look or how you talk to them. It's a way of life I guess. I didn't mind so much having lived in Hong Kong for awhile, but my parents seemed to not like the bargaining and bartering for everything as much.

One tip for travellers to Beijing, do not swear at your tour guide, they don't like it. Naughty words are worse than complete idiocy to tour guides...

We spent a total of 4 days in Beijing, which wasn't near enough. I'd love to go back but not in the winter. It wasn't really that cold, but it felt like it being a Konger now. I think it went down to -3 while we there. Up on the Great Wall was chilly with the wind. BTW I'm going to post photos and stories along the way trying to keep in order with what we accomplished in our 4 day sprint.
The airport was dirty, crowded, cold, and smokey. Good first impression Beijing, make a note to Olympic organizers. The taxi ride into the city took about 10 hours, but it only cost 10 cents. Cheap taxi considering the thrill ride you get. I think we hit at least 10 cyclists. Mai's parents had met us at the airport so it was very nice and easy to get to our hotel. We were staying in the centre of the city, which didn't mean much as it takes 1 hour to go 4 blocks during rush hour. Walking is the best way around without question. Our hotel was decent enough and had hot water, so I was happy.

The first night we went to a really famous Beijing restaurant for Emperor's Duck. It was awesome! Best bird I've ever had. The skin was amazing, I usually don't like skin but it was pretty tasty. Apparantly George W has eaten there before. Mai's dad had to book a month in advance so thanks to him! After dinner we went back to the hotel(s) and had an early evening as the next day was the Great Wall and Ming Tombs!

I checked later, and yes! prancing and brisk walks are allowed.

Damn I wanted to doodle all over the fake hats.

First impression, Ming Tombs is probably better explored on your own, without a tour in a rush, as we didn't see much of the actual tomb area. It's really quite huge, spread around the mountains. Next time, next time.... You'll probably here me mutter those words a few times in the next few posts.

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