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Beijing Fling

Beijing, China

Forbidden City, Tian An Men Square and Summer Palace; or go to Great Wall in our first jet-lagged day! We cut out the forbidden city, it was just too much. Hop on the flight for Chengdu.

permalink written by  Benjamin Satterfield on March 18, 2005 from Beijing, China
from the travel blog: China Tour Spring 2005
tagged ForbiddenCity, SummerPalace, TianAnMenSquare and GreatWall

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Chengde, Temples, the Great Wall and bad knees. :(

Chengde, China

-How hot is it there exactly? Sometimes hot, sometimes warm, but mostly stuffy. The weather fluctuates to generalize.

-Are there a lot of tourists there because of the Olympics? I've seen only a few (maybe a handful) but I'm in the more, uh, ghetto part of Beijing, so most of the tourists are in the "nicer" part, that is geared towards tourists.

-Is your dorm dirty too? Have you met any natives? Nope! my room is soo clean :) Fu wu ren 服務人 come to clean it everyday! I've met my tutor, who is a native.. but haven't really met too many natives.

-Are they friendly or are they like people in Chinatown? They're pretty friendly, but sometimes they're just frustrated cause they expect me to be able to speak Mandarin. But if you're white with blonde hair and blue eyes, I heard they'll be super friendly and want to take pictures with you.

This weekend I went to Chengde, some temples (Puning and some other one) and the Jinshanling Great Wall. We stayed at a really nice hotel for the first night, I say 'nice' because the next night, we stayed at some shanty-ass 'hotel' in Jinshanling where my bedsheets were yellow and covered with specks of mysterious green/black bug-like guts. The bathroom looked like someone died in it. I didn't shower that night because I was too scared and it seemed like other people's rooms sucked as well. (whine) I really wanted to shower too, I was so gross and sticky (end whine). Now you can gauge how scary it was.

For the first two days of the weekend, we went to the Chengde Summer Palace, rode an electric boat, walked a lot... went to the Puning temple and some other temple called 'Pu hua zhong cheng' something or other. Then we visited a Hebei Tourism Vocation College (where students train to become tour guides) but I didn't really know why we went there. All we did was talk to Chinese students and watch some tea ceremony demonstrating how to drink tea (but not actually drinking it) sadness.. way to tease. So maybe we were there because the tour guide company we were traveling with had employees who graduated from there?

Sunday, we woke up at 3 a.m. to climb the wall at 4 a.m. So I hiked on the wall for about 4-5 hours and covered 10.5 km (maybe 6 miles). My knees are still killing me. I ended up hiking with one other friend because I originally wasn't going to hike all the way, so I went really slow and took lots of breaks. But the wall was so treacherous that I did not want to climb back down after I worked so hard to get up the damned wall. Some parts of the Great Wall didn't really have walls, so you can just fall off the side. I was also obligated to buy things from random farmers traveling the wall to sell things because I was scared they would kill me. Serious. They didn't threaten me, but you never know... one push off the wall and you're gone. Anyway, I have many stories about the wall but I'll save those for real conversations.

Class starts again tomorrow and I also have a calligraphy class. Yay. :(

P.S. once again, excuse the weird fob pics of me by myself. I feel so awkward in those pics.

permalink written by  jlu on July 13, 2008 from Chengde, China
from the travel blog: Study Abroad in China
tagged GreatWall, Temples and Chengdu

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Beijing Adventures!

Beijing, China

Hi folks!

Its hard to believe we've only been gone two weeks yet we've hit Seoul, Tokyo, and Beijing! We spent the first week and a half visiting friends in Korea and Japan so not too much to report, just great hospitality, good food, and great friends. What more could we want?!

I also apologize for not writing sooner, now that we've arrived in Beijing and I have loads of pictures and video to share with everyone, the internet connetions in Beijing have proven to be hit or miss. So, sadly all of our prepared videos and photos are in my pocket on a thumb drive that is banned from this internet cafe. I even had to have my photo taken by the "Chinese Cultural Law Enforcement Agency" before getting an account for an hour. So, please accept a rain check on the pics and read on for our most recent adventures in China.

Ben and I found Beijing to be interesting and agrivating at the same time. The weather was surprisingly crisp with clear blue skies for the last three days. We took advantage of the sun and hit the Forbidden City and joined literally tens of thousands of Chinese tourists who followed hired tour guides who screamed into cheap megaphones the entire time. The buildings were beautiful but it felt like a cheap disney world to us.

The next day I was determined to not let the other tourists ruin my trek to the Great Wall, so Ben and I traveled out to a very rural part of the wall that passes through a very sleepy farming village. The wall had not been restorted and it was incredible to climb the original steps that climbed ear popping mountain peaks. This part of the wall in Huang Hua, and is so remote that there is no admission fee and virtually no tourists (we were on the only people on the wall). There was a local peasant who decided to charge a few cents to gain admission to the trail that leads to the wall and skirts his property. We also encountered a very husky Chinese woman on the wall who threatened us with a pick ax if we did not pay her admission to pass through the watch tower that she was occupying. We ended up pushing our way through without creating an international incident...hopefully. :-)

More stories and pictures to follow!

Kevin and Ben

permalink written by  Kevin Naughton on March 27, 2009 from Beijing, China
from the travel blog: Around the World 2009
tagged China, GreatWall and HuangHua

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