We arrived at Beijing hostel and hotel. After taking a stroll around the train station opposite we soon realised that the people aren’t used to seeing Westerners due to the stares we were getting. The next day we went on the public underground and a long walk to look at the ‘Birds nest’ olympic stadium. It was difficult as no one could speak English to help. The bus only cost 1 Yuan but it gets rammed! We went to a market the next day then met up with our new group and went for dinner. There are 17 of us with the guide and we are mostly Brits with a couple of Aussies. Some of us went to the Forbidden City and Tianamen Square which was where the Emperors lived. This was great to see and was funny as Chinese would keep asking for photos of us. It was like we were famous! That night we went to a kung fu show which was good. The next day Ste and i went to Beijing zoo. The giant pandas are lovely. We went by public bus. (You must have patience here, Chinese people will not que or wait and when the bus comes they physically push and shove to get on first as if their lives depended on it! On our way back we only managed to get on the 3rd bus!) Some of us went to the night market where they sell lots of mad food and drink (yes they do eat dog and they love it!) Ste tried scorpian on a stick, snake and chicken hearts. He said he prefered the scorpian. You could get dog on a stick (real hot dog) silk worms,deer, the list goes on!
We took an early start the following day for a 3 hr journey to a remote part of the great wall. We walked for 10 miles (sometimes over extremely steep and broken away areas) but was an amazing experience for us to achieve this and really is a great wonder of the world. locals from the farming areas follow you to try and sell you fans and ice water- we shared some snacks with them. They seem really poor. We gave one lady some pink wafers and she put them in her bag to take home for children. Ste caught a zip slide down to our beautiful hotel over some water and we stayed here for the night. We felt lucky this day sitting having a drink next to a damn looking at the great wall-amazing.
We caught a night train the next afternoon-13 hours. These are surprisingly comfortable. They are cozy with bunk beds.We didn’t get much sleep though, we were laughing all night in the ‘fun cabin’. We arrived in Xi’an. There is lots to see here. There is a Muslim quarter and all the way round is a city wall. Ste and i cycled around it on a tandem. It’s about 10 miles long with ramps and stuff- very funny. We went to a local hot pot restaurant. Ste and i didn’t eat though we suddenly lost our appetite.(I’m sure environmental health would have something to say about this place! ) We went round some bars but the brandy is so expensive here so to save me from getting a little beer belly found a local whisky which was drinkable. It’s also not as cheap as you imagine here but some local stuff is (China is less touristy than Thailand but i’m not sure for how long it will stay this way- If you offer the taxi driver a tip he will refuse it!)