Beijing March 27
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Decided to have a lay in since we still had some sleep to catch up on. Realised we were overspending already so today we would stick to a budget and try to get each meal for about £1 each. Off we went down the backstreets to look for some breakfast. It was here that we found a guy on the corner selling fresh pineapple on a stick for 10p each so we got 2. Next Andy found an unknown bread with bean sprout thing for 10p so he had that as well but I was already full. On the way to the tube station we saw roasted chestnuts so we got a big bag of those to take with us on our trip.
Arriving at Tian’an Men Square about 12 noon we had expected it to be busy but nothing had prepared us for the absolute hordes of people that were there.
We head for the Forbidden City instead, stopping for a few chestnuts along the way and trying to avoid all the people trying to sell us tours, art and toys. Once inside what we think is the Forbidden City we see a courtyard full of more crowds. We go to the ticket booth but they are only selling tickets to walk to the top of this courtyard. We walk for what seems like ages and enter another courtyard which looks much the same as the last one but still we’re not there.
Exiting the Forbidden City we decide to go to the park opposite and sit in the sun for a while but when we find out there is an entrance fee to get in there too we give up that idea. We can’t afford all these entrance fees for everything, it’s such a rip off.
We start the long walk back but we’re so tired from all the walking and people keep offering us rickshaw tours around the old Beijing Hutongs, then one guy says he’ll drop us off at our tube station after the tour so we agree, stupidly thinking it may be a good laugh. This guy starts out giving us some interesting facts on the walk to his rickshaw but then it turns into more of an exam.
Back near out hostel (Red Lantern) we grab some late lunch of chicken and rice which is £2.
After a rest we realise we have to find a bank as we’ve run out of Chinese money. Andy goes off on an adventure of his own but comes back with hands empty and a filthy look on his face. The bank was shut, the money changer wanted ID which he didn’t have with him and the ATM declined his card!!! Oh dear, by then everywhere is shut, we want some tea and only have £1.80 left!!! Lets see what we can get with that then! We look at the menu at the hostel and realise we can get a large bowl of noodles each with a water and a beer. Not bad really, the noodles were surprisingly nice and filling so we are pleased with ourselves.
Now it’s off to get a shower in our freezing room and get dry with a towel which hasn’t dried since day 1.