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Ducky ducky?

Beijing Travel Blog

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Woke up around 9am to some amazing scenery, right in the middle of the Gobi desert now, I am sure you can imagine the scene. Past a pretty large section of the Great Wall and came into Beijing at around 2pm.

We met Tracey our Honco and transferred to our hotel by about 3.30pm, we decided to meet again at 5pm. I was starving so after a quick ATM stop went straight to the closest food. Every possible variety of meat on a stick cooked by a tiny street vendor….into it!!! I was so tasty, Tracy came past though and was a bit mortified that we would not have a solid enough constitution for it. I reckon that as long as its steaming hot and looks fresh ish it is probably safer than something from a dodgey back kitchen you cant see.

Went back and showered then, went to our meeting to get our map and general instructions, next stop was a super local restaurant for Peking duck.

Tracey just ordered us a selection of stuff and we shared it with the help of a massive central lazy Susan. Was really good and ended up being about 5 pounds a head.

After dinner all the boys were off to try and get a cut throat shave (which didn’t work out as apparently their hair is thicker than a Chinese man’s) and some of us (girls) were out in search of a Brazilian wax. Quite the challenge and after some pretty racy sign language we thought we better give it up in case we were asking for a bit more than we had bargained for…happy ending?...I think not!!!

Had a look around some of the cute little boutique shops and then back to the hotel when we realised that it was still only about 8pm! Back out we go to the ‘night market’ (Bar Street) just up the road. It was soooooooooo cool. Tiny little streets with little cubby hole bars and designer stores.

We ended up in a bar that had booths lining the walls. You had to step onto a wee platform that then rose up at the push of a button to get up to a high enough level for you to step into the booths………..coooooooool!!!

After a few martini’s we went back to the hotel. I went to bed but it was a pretty exciting night for Anna and Jay and their brother, Tom and his fiancé Anaa were arriving from their home in Shanghai.

Saturday 13.12

 Up at 6.45am for 7.30am bus to the Great Wall. There are many different parts that you can visit but we went to the Mutianyu section. It is a 2250 metre long section of The Wall, 90kms north east of Beijing.

It is suppose to be one of the less commercialised parts of The Wall. We got there around 9am and we were pretty much the only ones there…………wicked!!!! It was super freezing but certainly some perks to travelling to travelling in the off season! We got chair lifts to the top (thank god!) and had a walk around for about and hour and a half. It really is astonishing, some parts are stupid steep and some gently undulating. Got some amazing pics due to the beautifully clear day and the sun on the snow. All but Helen and I took the luge down the hill but we took the walk. Chinese  buffet for lunch….tasty but super MSG overload.

Summer palace in the afternoon. It was very beautiful but there was so much to see you really would need a whole day and a clear head to fully absorb it. Highlight was the full sized boat made of marble…..crazy!!

Next went for a drive past the Olympic water cube and the birds nest.

Onto a tea hpuse for a tea ceremony. First was Oolong coated in Ginseng….yum!! she showed us how to warm the pot and pour the tea. We were to drink it in 3 goes, one for happiness, one for good luck and one for longevity. Next was jasmine and green tea rolled into little balls, good for your liver and eyes. Also apparently you can drythe left overs in the sun and when you have enough you will have a nice smelling (and I would imagine crunchy) pillow. Now she had quite a big ball with green tea leaves on the outside, she out it into hot water and it opened into a full size flower arrangement. You can drink 6 cups of tea from it but you can keep it as decoration for a week or more. We also had a lychee and rose bid mix, for our beauty…he he. Supposed to be full of vitamin c and e. then a traditional Chinese black tea/lonf life tea. It lowers cholesterol, aids slimming and digestion and relieves constipation….right on!

She had some cool cups and pots too.

The type that the picture changes when you fill them with hot water. Also needing a mention is ‘pee pee’ boy. He was a little nude ceramic boy. If you poured cold water on him nothing happened but if it was hot enough to make tea with he peed it out with such force it crossed the room…..strange!

Next destination, the pearl market. 5 floors of goodness! Electronics, bags, makeup, jewellery, traditional gifts, clothes, silk…..whoa!!! spent a few hpurs and more than a few yuan there, then on to the metro back to the hotel for a dinner of hotpot.

Kind of like a singaporian steam boat. A coal burner with water above it in the centre of the table. Raw meat and vegetables that you then put in the water to cook. Good fun and good chopstick practice!!!

Went back and met Anna, Anna, Jay and Tom to go out for a drink at an awesome little called ‘Bed’.

A cavernous place with good cocktails, and a funky DJ. Good times

Sunday 14.12

Moved to a new hostel first thing, as the vodka train trip was officially now over. Checked into a 6 bed dorm with cool beds that could be totally enclosed by pulling a curtain across. Then Helen and I set off. We stopped for some breakfast/lunch in a little café ish thing. She had tasty dumplings and I had an initially tasty but turning into dodgy, not hot enough beef fried rice…oh dear! Also had spring rolls…but not as we know it, no veges here. It was a kind of black bean paste inside. Pretty good actually just not as expected.

Now off to the forbidden city. Ended up walking quite a way around it because we came at it from the wrong direction but we got there in the end.

In we went and it really was beautiful and absolutely massive. We did an overview walk around then out to Tiananmen square. I guess it goes without saying that the biggest city square is pretty impressive…though I must say the most memorable part of it will always be the little boy having a poo on it when there was a nice grassy patch about 20 paces away…..class

Now to the silk market, another 5 story monster. Similar stuff but more clothes, sunnies and watches. All the haggling and yelling is pretty exhausting but I am now the proud owner of a Rolex J

Had a beer and went back to the hostel for a change and a wash. Decided to go back over to the area of the first hotel. Caught up with Anna, Jay and the crew, then set out for another Peking duck experience….

to be fair the taxi ride was an experience in it’s self. It seems there is no prerequisite for taxi drivers there that means you must know where anything is. We got there in the end and it was really worth it. The duck was amazing! Also had tofu, beef, broccoli, cashews that were sweet, spicy and salty all at once and a squirrel fish. It is a fish that has been deboned, turned inside out and carved into little cubes. You really need to see it to understand, but it was super tasty.

Taxi home from there. Wrote a few postcards and then had to go to bed cause was exhausted.

Monday 15.12

Tried to get up early and go to the electronics market with the boys but it didn’t happen.

I instead invested some time in separating my ‘need to declare’ items. Turns out most of my bag is animal, vegetable or mineral. Checked out and went in search of our first chain store purchase, soy Starbucks coffee…had to be done. Also on the way found the best bread shop in the world that Mum and I had first had in Singapore years ago. I got a roll with tofu and soya beans baked into it, know that would gross a lot of you out but it was wicked (they do also have meat guys).

Coffee in tow we went to see preserved Mao. After quite a walk around Tiananmen square we found Monday is the only day we couldn’t go in to see him……..bugger! back to the pearl market briefly for a few last minute bargains then to the hostel to pick up my  bags and catch up with the other guys. Didn’t get to see them so got on my way back to our first hostel to drop of my bags.

The plan was to leave bags there and, have a wander, dinner with Anna and Jay at 5pm then straight to the airport at 7pm to fly at 10pm.

The reception however didn’t want a bar of me and after some near fisty cuffs I went out for a walk resembling a pack horse. This pretty much counted lunch out casue I couldn’t fit through any of the doors. I did manage to fit into one shop to get final pressies and found a beautician I could fit in. I was gonna go for a massage but figured trekking about afterwards would probably undo all the good anyway. Manicure and pedicure it is. Started by getting my feet soaked in warm water with rosebuds, then she cut, sanded, filed and painted until I had the prettiest toes in china. Then repeat process on the hands. Was lovely and took just over 2 hour, even better it only cost the equivalent of 10 pounds….and I also got free rosebud tea!! It dod look disturbingly like what my feet had been soaking in but lets just say it wasn’t!!

It was pretty much 5pm so went back and met Jay, Anna, Anna and Tom for dinner.

Ended up in an award winning Indian place…..no surprise for those who know my palate huh! I must say it was pretty good too!!

Back to pick up bags and straight into a cab after goodbye kisses and cuddles. I think I fell asleep on the way but the driver woke me up when we were there. Checked in on time and spent my last little bits of Yuan on many variations of fluid….well that’s what I thought until 5minutes before boarding when I found a 100 Yuan note (about 10 pounds) in a safe pocket. I seriously need to stop doing that!!!!

Anyway in an aisle seat next to a Chinese girl called Grace. I fell asleep again pretty much straight away. Woke up for a wine and then straight back to sleep.

Tuesday 16.

12

Woke up after about 8 hours sleep….yay!!! got a Chinese noodle breakfast and landed on Sydney a few hours later after 12 and a half hours total. Had a 6 hour stop over and then on to Wellington. Home sweet home J

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photo by: Deats