The last supper
Beijing Travel Blog› entry 19 of 19 › view all entries
Returning from the Great Wall we all decided to celebrate our last night in Beijing with a local specialty, Peking Duck. Robert explained that Beijing has always been called Beijing but because of the different accent of the southern Chinese, several other countries believed that the city was called Peking. Therefore, the local specialty is known as Peking Duck, when it really is called Beijing Duck.
Robert dropped us off at the best Beijing duck restaurant and before leaving showed us which direction to walk to get to the bars. We were immediately happy upon entering the restaurant, because it was clean and beautiful and while waiting they provided free wine. Our group appreciates all booze (or grog for our Aussie friends) we truly appreciate free booze.
We ordered one duck plus soup and spicy peanut chicken for the table. We continued our celebration with several beers and by the end of dinner we were all pretty silly. The duck was fantastic, very tender with crispy and delicious skin. The chef carves the duck table side which is a nice touch. The meal was wonderful and we shared lots of laughs over the delicious food and flowing drinks.
After dinner we walked two blocks to the bar area. The street had a string of several bars and nightclubs and we were pulled into one by the bouncers. Once inside we noticed two young people on stage singing American music, karaoke style.
It was a fantastic night and even though I know I won't be as happy in the morning, I'm glad we got to celebrate our last night in Beijing in a big way!
Happy 86th Birthday to my Grandpa!
Today we set out with our friends to see the Great Wall of China at Simitai. Several people recommended seeing the wall at Simitai rather than Badaling because it is less crowded and atop huge, beautiful mountains.
Simitai is approximately 100 kilometers from Beijing, which equates to a three hour drive. Suzy and Tim arranged our driver, Robert, who was the driver who transported them from the ship to Beijing. Robert's friend had a van and was able to drive all six of us to the wall. Robert speaks English and was able to give us lots of interesting cultural and historical information during our journey. The drive itself was just as scary as the drive from the ship, but this time I was in the back of the van and unable to see the road as well, so it was easier to ignore!
We asked Robert about the people in Beijing and spoke openly with him about some of our negative opinions.
Robert talked about China opening up and to me, it seemed that Robert did not view this very positively. Robert said that the Chinese people now realized that everyone in America was not homeless, only a small few. Robert said that with economic freedom came greed and desires and these concepts were foreign to the Chinese. We asked Robert if the people in Beijing were pushing us because they did not like Americans and he said no, the people in Beijing push everyone because the city is so crowded and they are used to having to push to get anywhere or to get anything in life. Robert talked about each family getting coupons for food.
Arriving in Simitai several members of our group were surpised to learn that the wall is on top of a huge mountain range and we still had to get to the top of the mountain.
From the cable car the hike up is short, but quite steep and rocky. There are some steps along the stone path, but no railing and the path is only about 4 feet wide, with a steep cliff alongside. Brian and I took our time walking up, Brian could have gone much faster, but I was a little unsure of myself so I paused several times to get my bearings.
Once at the top we were amazed by the wall itself and the incredible view. The Chinese began building the wall in 200 BC and by the time Columbus sailed for America more than 4000 kilometers of wall had been constructed across China. At Simitai the wall was constructed on the border between Mongolia and China. Standing on top of the wall you can see what used to be Mongolia on one side and China on the other. The wall skirts along the top of a huge mountain range and it seems to be an impossible construction project. How did they get all of those stones up that high, and how did they ever construct that wall? From Simitai you can walk for hours in one direction, along wall that has been reconstructed and maintained over the years, or you can walk for hundreds of feet in the other direction until you reach tower 12 and the end of the reconstructed wall.
After walking around for an hour or so, we all met back at tower 8 and had a beer together. With the effort of hiking, the heat from the sun and the wind we all shared the type of thirst that only a cold can of beer can quench! Sharing a beer with new friends atop one of the great wonders of the world is an experience I will never forget!