Sorry about the delay on the updates guys… plan to get the rest of the trip typed up and put up shortly, in the mean time… Mmmmm steamed pork dumplings… My first stop in China and a very enjoyable 10 days!
I remember I didn’t get the big culture shock everyone was on about… The city is no busier or hectic on the surface than, say, London. Signage & spoken English use is pretty big after the Olympics and food while sometimes a bit random is generally damn tasty and not ‘un-safe’ off the street stalls. I also never felt unsafe anywhere I was in the city.
I stay at Leo Hostel just south of Tiananmen Square and liked it quite a bit. It had an awesome large chill out zone with plenty of movies and reasonable food, there was a great backpackers bar across the road and the whole pedestrian street it sat in was filled with places to grab a bite to eat
Tiananmen Square was… just a large square (well rectangle :p) which led up to Forbidden City and man that place is huge! When you first walk in under the giant portrait of Mao you can’t help but be amazed of the sheer size of the first courtyard but then you walk into 4-5 of the same thing and you start to get a tad bored.
Apart from the calligraphy museum off the side (which I LOVED) my main forms of entertainment were the teaching telling the school kids to jump into our photos, Chris scaring a Chinese girl who was pretty sure we were stalking her and Tony actually stalking a gorgeous Russian girl who was inappropriately dressed for sightseeing.
<Square & Forbidden City Photos>
Great Wall was one of the highlights of my time in Beijing… I went on a tour with the Hostel to a section of wall 2.5 hours out of Beijing which was defiantly worth the journey as we were the only 20 people on a un-reconstructed section of wall. The day involved a 10km walk (read ‘climb’) along the wall which nearly killed me and Chris due to a heavy night and no sleep the night before.
<Great Wall Photos>
Well that’s basically Beijing. I spent the rest of my time socialising, eating, wondering around and people watching with Tony.
Oh just another note: It’s been holiday season for the locals and train tickets sell out 10 days before the departure so instead of being stuck in Beijing for another week I have decided to get my first night bus… 17 hours to Xi’an – fun fun fun!