Friday, October 16, 2009

Beijing Vacation

I just got back from one of the best vacations ever. Everyone should try to hit Beijing at some point. It was awesome.
The trip started off a bit rocky, but we knew it would considering the fact that we had to book standing tickets to Xian because of high demand during the week of the National Holiday. Have you ever stood on a train for 26 hours? I have!! And I have 2 words to say about it; NEVER AGAIN! It was horrible. There was not really any place for us to stand, so we were crammed into the very back of the train body to body with what felt like a hundred sweating Asians. Luckily people soon started to get off and we were able to get seats for about an hour or so at a time until more people got on. We eventually made friends with 2 hobo looking Asians in this little room at the very back of the train that was no bigger than a hallway where we camped out on their newspapers so we could get some sleep. We were all determined to not use the squatter on the train, so I did learn that I can go over 22 hours without going to the bathroom, unfortunately our train ride was 26 hours. Only 2 out of the 6 of us were successful. Looking back on it we all laugh, and we know we can stand just about anything now, but I will repeat NEVER AGAIN.
In Xian we got to walk between the 3 pits of the Terracotta Warriors while eating yummy pomegranates before heading to the Muslin Quarter. The Muslim quarter was really fun. There are streets just packed with little food stands (I don’t even know what half the foods were), and fun souvenir shops. After a day in Xian we reluctantly boarded another train, luckily this time we had seats. Thirteen hours later we were in Beautiful Beijing.
From the minute that we got to Beijing we loved it. It was cooler there than it is here in Zhongshan, but drier as well. In the desire to pack lightly none of us took any lotion because we don’t need it in Zhongshan. Well after a few days of walking all over my heels were very dry, then after a few more days they were cracking and bleeding, it was a tad painful, but we got to do so many fun things in Beijing. There was the Forbidden City, The Summer Palace, the Zoo, The Lama Temple, and Tiananmen Square. We got to go to a Kung Fu Show and an Acrobatics show. There was of course great food, and we even got to do a Hot Pot dinner where they bring you plates of raw meat and vegetables and you cook them in 2 different boiling sauces right there in the middle of the table. We got to walk the Olympic Line, and since I am an Olympics freak, seeing the Bird’s Nest and the Natatorium in person was one of my favorite parts of the trip. We did our share of bartering at the Silk and Pearl market, I have never seen so much merchandise packed in one building. But of course the best part was climbing the Great Wall. We got a private tour guide that took us to a part of the wall that is not open to the public. It was awesome to have the wall all to ourselves, and to get to hike around wherever we wanted. We had an awesome trip. I LOVE CHINA!!!
Some of the trip highlights:
· Feeding hobo Zhou (pronounced Jo) sesame covered bean paste balls on the subway
· Visiting our cute friends at the cookie stand
· Eating Lambus bread from the bread stand
· Petting zebras at the zoo
· Running down the Olympic line
· Cuddling with strange Asians on the train
· Having fall weather
· Getting away from the humidity of Zhongshan
· Ditching our tour guide to make an ice cream run
· Eating lots of delicious sweet and sour chicken/fish (the waitress didn’t know the word for chicken so she kept calling it fish)
· Having many Asians want their pictures taken with us
· Visiting 2 silk factories because, “you don’t like…you don’t drink tea?”
· Getting strange looks from Asians for eating Oreos with Peanut Butter
· Going into the secret room of the movie store
· Guessing at the pronunciation of Subway stations
· Trying chicken feet
· Feeding the monkeys at the zoo banana chips and hairy meat sticks
· Having tons of fun with all the girls!!!

This is my tiny spot on the trainTerracotta Warriors

The Great Wall

Our Hot Pot Dinner


Lesa said...

wow it looks like you are having so much fun! Great pictures!

Heather S. said...

It looks like you are having a blast! I'm jealous! I will definitely play when you get back. I am so excited for you to come back :)

David and Natalie Reheis said...

Jeeze! you have been all around the world girl!! I'm so jealous!! How are you doing? and what are you up to now?