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Beijing Fail

I have no pictures for the Forbidden City or Summer palace uploaded yet. Must have forgotten them... I'll insert them later.

sunny 29 °C

Well today was a bit of a Beijing tour fail. We walked for ages to find a hostel to book a secret Great Wall trip, only to be told the cost would be a whopper 600 yen each! The hostel had previously told us it would be 300 which was still too much. Boobs.
We did however have our own mini tour of the hutongs, which were awesome. And we saw lots of Chinese people out walking, cooking, playing games and eating etc.

After this we finally arrived at Tiananmen gate and square.

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Chairman Mao's mausoleum was closed so we mosied around the square and then onto the Forbidden Palace, only to realise this was closed on Monday afternoons. Doh!

We got some dumplings (after leaving the first eatery due to the all too funny English descriptions)

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and decided to continue on and attempt to see the Summer Palace. It was nearly 5 pm by the time we got to the palace and I was a bit frustrated at our lack of seeing any of the sights so far, conscious of our time schedule. Luckily the Summer Palace saved the day! The SP was a playground for the Ming and Qing dynasties when they wanted to escape the heat of Beijing city. 3/4 of it was made up of a lovely lake with lots of boats, peddle boats, bridges, little houses and obviously lush green trees and bushes. There wasn't an actual palace building, more like lots of gorgeous old buildings in the grounds which were used as dining halls, courts and temples back in the day. We trotted up the hill and had a good look around and a pleasant stroll. At one point we lost each other. (this was to become a regular thing).
We sat on the bank of the Lake and I had some of those wonderful cheapo noodles everyone is always eating. They were nom considering!! (I had wanted to try them for ages, but I figure ill be living on them when Chelle leaves.)

On the way back to our hostel, a young Chinese man in VERY tight jeans stood right in front of me on the subway. We were sniggering away like school girls but these jeans were rediculously tight.
Chelle asked me: "Have you ever gone out with a Chinese man? "
I said: "I feel like I'm going out with one right now"
Anddddd we cracked up again.

Back at the gaff we met Fiona who had done the Mutinya part of the Great Wall. It was pretty misty for them but the pics looked really eerie and cool.
We began to plan our trip to the wall. We wanted to do it ourselves so decided that we would get up really early and get a bus to the tiny village of Zhang Dao Koe, about 60km outside of Beijing. ZDK had a large area of unrestored wall not open to the public and a bit of restored wall as well. We had asked a young girl from our hostel to ring a guesthouse for us to book us a room for the night, as no one in the village speaks English apparently. So we planned to get up early, get there by 12 then get out, see the wall and hopefully have a sunset on it, and sunrise the next morning.

When we woke the next day however, we'd slept through the alarm and it was raining. So I proposed we try the Forbidden City again for the morning and then bus it to the village later on, as tomorrow was supposed to be a scorcher and we'd see a lot more of the wall in ze sunshine! So that we did. We packed an overnight bag and headed off to see the FC, which was quite cool. The buildings in the city were quite impressive, really gorgeous colours and lovely courtyards. The place was packed with tourists though and after a while all the buildings looked the same.

We had a strong coffee and decided to hit the road to our wall adventure. We managed to get the first bus to Huairou no problemo, (Michelle had to sit beside a crying baby with a split in his pants - wahahahahaha - I lolled from the back of the bus - let's see how much she likes babies now!! ;) )

Anywho we couldn't find the second bus to take us to ZDK as the bus driver dumped us out at the wrong stop for the directions we were given. hmmm. The bus we needed had no number on it, just the Chinese characters. We walked up and down the street to various bus stops and waited for a while for a non-numbered bus to show before we decided to get a taxi. We got this jolly bowl-haired taxi dude who chuckled a lot, to bring us to Zhang Dao Koe for an extorniate price. His Hiace van bumped and jostled us around all the way, and he had to stop and ask directions 3 times. Each time he got back into the van, he chuckled and said ''more money, more money, too far''. It was an absolutely beautiful day and we could see mountains and blue sky out the window for the first time in a week. Bliss. We'd a great laugh bouncin around in the back seat.

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We got to ZDK village and paid Chuckles and went in search of our guesthouse. We spent yonks looking for it but eventually found it and our lovely hostess with the mostess, who whipped us up a dinner of vegetables, rice and eggs - thanks to Michelle's fantastic miming and Chinglish. :D
It was heavenly. We sat outside on the balcony with a stunning view of the nearby mountains and a part of the wall. EXCITEMENT ABOUNDED! (Is that even a sentence?)
For some reason however, there was a dead rat hanging from the balcony - maybe to scare away other rats?? I didn't tell Michelle until after she finished her dinner. he he he.

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Our room was pretty basic with no water and the beds were like rocks, but the scenery was amazing, the food was delicious, the weather was AMAZING, there was a river nearby with a chorus of frogs ribbetting away, there was a tiny dog who hung round us and basically everything was hunky dory. Good Times.

Posted by squeakylee 23:35 Archived in China Tagged city beijing forbidden dao zhang koe Comments (0)

The Great Wall of China

a truly hair-raising experience

sunny 36 °C

Next morning, we got up at 3.45am to get up to the restored part of the wall for sunrise. We grabbed our torches and trotted out into the darkness, wondering what the fuck we were doing. We scrambled up a rocky pathway for about half an hour to reach a crumbling archway with a restored section of the wall to the right, and an unrestored (not open to the public due to it's unsafeness) section to the left.

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We hit the restored section first as it was in better condition and it was still dark. We plodded up lots of very steep slopes and steps for about 45 mins until we came to a crumbly archway where we sat to watch the sunrise. There was a magnificent view of mountains all around us, the wall behind us and the resevoir below us. It was amazing.

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The walls and hills looked gorgeous in the sunlight.
We lapped it up and took a few pictures and I ate a delicious banana. Michelle lost hers on the wall. :D
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After a while we headed back to the beginning and headed left up the unrestored section of the wall.

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On this bit we'd have to climb and scramble our way up a rocky bushy semi pathway and through 10 delapidated towers. After the 10th tower, the wall falls away to nothing and it's too dangerous to continue as it has sheer drops on either side.
Tower 1 was easy enough, in fact all of the unrestored section was a lot easier to walk on than the restored section. it was more comfortable and natural.

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Poor Michelle's feet and ankles were in bits so we took our time trotting along. They looked so sore, but I wasn't allowed draw attention to it - the junction theory and all that! ;) (anyway when I did, she told me to shut up!! ) :D lol.

The second tower was a bit difficult as there was actually no way to get into it other than to haul ourselves up and into the window over a sheer drop. hmmm.

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I wasn't sure if we could do it, and Michelle is terrified of heights, but we didn't want to give up! So I had a go and pulled myself up and in fairly easily enough. (Don'tlookdowndon'tlookdown). It actually looked scarier than it was. Michelle took a few minutes of deep breathing before gritting her teeth and going for it! What a trooper. She was up and in the tower in a matter of seconds. Yahoo! There was some high 5'ing and hugging and on we trotted.

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The sky was so blue and the sun was belting down. The views were phenomenal and there was not 1 other human being on the wall apart from us 2. It was awesome.

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The next tower was also a bit hairy and the pathway gradually got more rubbly and dense with bushes and trees, but it was fairly easy going. We passed through 7 towers by 8.30 am, before turning left away from an even more delapidated wall trail going the other way.

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Towers 8-10 were ok too, but after that the wall started to fall away and became a very steep rocky slope down hill, with sheer drops either side, and a whopper wind whipping through our hair.

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We follwed the wall down to a forest and when we looked back at what we had descended already, we got some pretty shaky knees, but were impressed with ourselves. It looked EPIC.

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At this point, this is where we SHOULD have gotten off the wall and scrambled down. Michelle did suggest this, but I thought we could keep going down to the car park. I was wrong. The wall continued for a bit, but then fell away completely into dense mountainous rock with no way of getting down it.

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We decided to jump off and scramble down the mucky foresty part of the wall on our arses. It was so steep, we had to sit down and scramble/slip/slide all the way down. At one point, I didn't think I could actually go any further. I asked Michelle if she could go back up, but she said no, so I had to have a stern talking to myself and my jelly legs and tell them to get the fuck on with it!

I was sitting on a big rock with what looked like nothing underneath it. ''GOODFEFFINJAYSUS'' I thought to myself. It was pretty hairy for a while there, and I thought we might get stuck there on the side of the mountain! But after a few deep breaths, and another 20 mins of sliding down on our arses, we eventually got to the car park. It was a bit tense and we still had 2km to walk back to our guesthouse for breakfast. Poor Mich's feet were even more wrecked and covered in cuts from the boots but we eventually got back to our gaf after a good 6 hours on the wall.

We had a delicious breakfast, a celebratory beer (10am beers - nom),

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a snooze and caught the buses back to our hostel in Beijing, to grab our bags and head for the night train.

EPIC DAY - We'll always have the wall Mich. ;) xx

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Posted by squeakylee 23:40 Archived in China Tagged great beijing wall scary dao zhang koe unrestored Comments (0)

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