End of the tour

Beijing Travel Blog

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The hostel frontdoor
 Awoke this morning with a slight hangover. Being the last day in Beijing with our guide Jimmy I decided to head out to meet him even with only 3 hours of sleep. Surprisingly didn't feel that tired though. Today we were going to the Temple of Heaven. Which apparently was where the former Emperors used to go to pray and relax.

Again everything in the grounds of the temple is done on a grand scale. I don't think they knew how to make small plans back then. When we were there there were lots of people in the parks just exercising and chilling out. Majority of them being old people. I've been told its a common occurance in China for the retirees to hang out in the public parks and talk and play with other retirees.
Cheap bottles of beer at the hostel. They were 6RMB. That's crazy!
I kid you not some of the stuff I see them doing puts my physical abilities to shame. For a couple of minutes whilst walking from one section of the grounds to another temple. I saw a group of old people playing hacky sack. They didn't drop the sack at all, and were doing all these trick shots. It's like I woke up in bizzaro world today. Besides hacky sack, I also witnessed a bit of badmington and even tango lessons. That's right tango. Someone brought a ghetto blaster and there were literally 20-30 couples dancing to the music in some random open space. I was mesmorized by this. I just couldn't look away. If it wasn't for the slight pangs of hunger in my stomach I would have stayed and watched all day.

However, as we were hungry we went for hot pot. As you do when your in China. This would be our last meal with Jimmy.
Amy and Jaz playing cards and enjoying the new hostel
Our time in Beijing with Jimmy has been good, and just as the meal was winding up we hear fireworks from outside the restaurant. As if to signal the significance of this moment. There are kids playing with fireworks outside, we think its to celebrate Chinese New Year. I'm not sure if it was though. I reckon kids in China play with fireworks just because its a Sunday. That's how they roll.

Officially our Trans-Siberian trip was over, well the bits that we paid our tour company was. But we were all staying in China for a bit. Some more than others. I was going to head down to Shanghai in a few days to continue the journey alone. Natascha was going to go off and meet a friend somewhere and travel somewhere from what I remembered. Amy and Jaz were going to head to a rural town if they were able to sort out their working visas and teach English to kids. But we had a few more nights together before we went our separate ways.

With our tour over, we had to find accomodation elsewhere. As the girls had not prebooked any other accomodation they decide to head to the hostel that I was booked into to see if they had room. The hostel was the Red Latern. I absolutely adore this hostel. Besides being really cheap its got oodles of character. It's actually one of those traditional chinese houses which has been converted into a hostel. ie its like a square with the rooms arranged around the courtyard in the middle. They also had a kitchen which cooked meals for you. Plus it was where we found the cheapest Tsing Tao beers in Beijing. It was 6RMB for a huge 600ml bottle. We were paying more than 3 times that amount elsewhere. Cheap beer, cheap food, clean rooms, and friendly staff and travellers. What else could you ask for in a hostel. It was amongst the Hutongs, which gave an autheticity to our travels in China.

With a tour to the Great Wall of China planned for the next day, we all went to bed pretty early, as the tour bus picks us up at 5:30am in the morning.
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The hostel frontdoor
The hostel frontdoor
Cheap bottles of beer at the hoste…
Cheap bottles of beer at the host…
Amy and Jaz playing cards and enjo…
Amy and Jaz playing cards and enj…
photo by: Eric