I feel like I’m on my deathbed as I write this because I’m bunged up with the flu and I’ve thrown up God knows how many times today. It’s been a while since the last blog and I’m not sure when I’ll get the chance to write again properly, so I’ll grab it now whilst I can.
The group went to Beijing last week, Tuesday. It was an experience to say the least.
Have you ever been 13 hours on a train? Planes are fine, right? They give you food, you have a TV or your laptop. 13 hour sleeper trains are the worst. The people are noisy, you have to pay for food, the sleep you get is limited, you have your laptop but there’s no plug so you have it for only a few hours. I’d say if you go to China and want to go to Beijing, on at least one way experience a sleeper train just so you can feel the annoyance that I felt when I was on it. It wasn’t TOO bad, but granted if I could have afforded it I would have taken the bullet train.
As soon as we arrived in Beijing, what was the first thing we did? Go to McDonalds. As you do. It felt weird walking in there because the majority of people in there were Chinese and they were looking at us weirdly which is ironic seeing as McDonalds is Western. Anyways, after filling our empty stomachs to the brim we set off to find the hotel which included taking the subway and getting squashed; it was like sardines in a tin situation. Then spent about half an hour walking up and down looking for our hotel after the guards kept sending us in the wrong direction but we eventually found it. Checked in, marvelled at the warmth of our room and then we were out again.
Tian’anmen Square is exactly what it is – a square. Bad things happened there, of course, but at the end of the day it is just a square piece of land so after taking many pictures in front of Chairman Mao’s picture and in the Square we got bored and wondered over to the National Museum. I’m going to be frank, I prefer the museums back at home – Natural History Museum and the Science Museum, mainly because it’s more interactive. I was bored. Sure, there was interesting stuff but I’m easily distracted… you get the drift.
Stopped off at a souvenir shop; got your generic knick-knacks and then we padded off back to the hotel. We found a little restaurant down the road from the hotel that did pizza, burgers, chips, etc. We rejoiced. We tried to name the countries of the flags that were hanging around the room. I cheered when I saw the Philippines and Jamaica flag.
Early start to the morning. Why? BECAUSE WE WERE GOING TO THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA. In actual fact, we stopped off at a few places before we got there – the Ming Tombs, Jade factory. They gave us lunch which I expected to be very Chinese and traditional, etc. But then they landed chicken goujons in front of my face. The boys actually got up in time for breakfast, so they didn’t eat much but my roommate and I stuffed our faces. Slightly regretted it when I started climbing the Wall, though. I literally thought I wasn’t going to make it to the top but after
many a few stops we made it to the highest point of Badaling section and rejoiced. Lack of air at the top made us a little giddy and dry lipped and the locals wanted to take lots of pictures of us. Not that I was complaining, I am a bit of a camera whore. Side note, I REALLY need to get into shape.
Saying I’ve climbed the Great Wall of China in my second year of university is not something I would have expected to say when I signed up to attend uni. It’s something you do in your
gup yah gap year or when you’ve finished uni or when you’re old. It is an awesome feeling to know that I’ve actually been there and climbed it though.
Then we visited a silk factory, back to the hotel and then out to eat at that restaurant again.
It snowed. Like a boss. Had to buy a hat, because I’m an idiot and didn’t bring one with me.
We went to Chairman Mao’s Memorial Mausoleum. Kind of surreal seeing his dead body. He looked a bit fake and at first I thought his head was a light bulb but it was only the light shining on his head.
Then we headed off to Forbidden City. Forbidden City is massive – if you wanted to tour the whole thing, it’d take you a couple of days at the least but we only had a couple of hours so we viewed a little bit of it (it all got the same, not gonna lie – buildings, gardens) and then got pissed off because our shoes were starting to soak because of the snow so pottered off back to the hotel to warm our cockles back up.
Hard Rock Cafe was next on the agenda which was pretty much amazing! There was a live band and amazing food and asdfghjkl, all the feelings for that place. Definitely going to the one London when I get back – can’t believe I hadn’t gone sooner.
We didn’t do much the next morning because that’s when we were on our way home – we took the bullet train back, which was so much better because a) there was plug for our laptops, so I watched Mad Men, Community & American Horror Story b) the toilets were CLEAN unlike the sleeper train, c) they sold popcorn.
I feel I’ve pretty much ‘done’ China now, and I’m ready to go home. There’s so much that’s happened that I must tell you guys but I’ll leave that to another post, thought I’d get the Beijing post out of the way. Throwing up is long, I’m starving now…
If you’d like to view my Bejing adventures, feel free to add me on FB: https://www.facebook.com/ChynnaAshley