Sunday, June 18, 2017

BEIJING - Part Two

For our second full day in Beijing we didn't have anything planned beforehand, except we knew we needed to go pick up our night train tickets to Xian (we had a potentially tight timeline depending on when we returned from our Great Wall hike, so to be save time on the night of our train we wanted to have our tickets with us!)  We loved the Summer Palace so much that we decided we wanted to go back and explore a bit more! Also, even though our tour said it included Tiananmen Square, it was basically our guide just pointing at it across the street saying "thats Tiananmen Square" (FYI its across the street from the Forbidden City)  I never realized before going to China how censored things are there!  No one talks about the Tiananmen Square incident, you're not allowed Facebook or youtube or even a google email account! What a different world.

Anyways, I'm glad we went to the train station in advance to pick up out tickets because it was so busy and it was nice to get an idea of where to go and what we would need to do on the night of our train, because we were going to be in a rush!  I like to be prepared.  After that we took the train to the Summer Palace, and I'm so glad we did!  On our tour we only had about 30 mins and this place is massive!  Its not only a palace, but a lake and huge grounds and tons of other buildings.  It was quite busy in some areas, and quiet in others which was really nice. 

This was the coolest dock I'd ever seen!  Is it a dock?  Is it a boat? 
The street into our Hutong
The air bnb where we were staying left this map to a corner store nearby.... I'm usually pretty good at maps, but we could not find this store!
The train station was seriously crazy.  People everywhere!  I know it doesn't look crazy in this picture, but it was 
Trains for days!
Dragon Boat ride across the lake at the Summer Palace

the place we stayed had a cool wall!
Amy was being all artistic with the black and white lifestyle shots

Bye bye little Beijing home!
And this is why we could never find the little corner store!  It was under construction!
Mystery meat skewers at the Summer Palace! One bite and done...

Look at my little small backpack! I did pick up a tea set so on the way home I was more heavily loaded in the form of random carry bags... 

Where's Julie? 

As we were heading to the exit a group of about 30 people came and wanted pictures with us! (Well, mostly Amy, but they pulled me in too)  We were in like 20 or more pictures.  I guess 90% of tourists are Chinese and just from other areas where they never see white people...
We got to Tiananmen Square close to sunset, there were heaps of people around and we were wondering why?  They lower the flag every night at Sunset and have a little ceremony thing...
So many cute bridges and waterways at the Summer Palace!

A water digger for Charlie!

Next up - Great Wall Hike!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

CHINA - BEIJING (part one)

It has been a LONG time since I travelling without children and it was amazing!  Not the part where I missed them, but the part where I only took a little backpack for a week and got to watch movies on the plane and eat before my food was cold! It was so nice and relaxing.  My flight leaving Brisbane was delayed for 4 hours, so instead of me having to wait a few hours for Amy to arrive in Beijing, she had to wait for me, lucky girl.  It had been about 9 months since I saw her last and it was so nice to see her!!  We were ready for our adventure.  We took the train in and then transferred over to the subway to our destination - Llama Temple Station.  We walked for a bit and eventually found our Hutong, with lead to our AirBnB, which was in a neat little back alley.  Then we explored!  The area we were staying was really neat!  Lots of people out and about and everything was just so foreign and neat to us.  And wow super nice cars everywhere!!  I have never seen more Teslas, Mercedes and BMWs in one place in my life!

It was hard to find any food that looked edible (mostly just scary looking meat in windows) and we were so tired from our flights that we just crashed pretty early.  We had a Beijing City Tour scheduled for the next day and we were getting picked up at like 6:30am so we needed our beauty sleep!  As usual blogger has decided to upload my pictures in random order... oh well.

Temple of Heaven
A picture at the Forbidden City with almost no one else in it? A miracle!

Random strangers would thrust their children at Amy to have their pictures taken with her (also random people too, the white girl is not just for children!)
We opted for the cheaper tour which included mandatory stops along the way, like this chinese medicine school where a doctor would come in and check your pulse (with three fingers because that is the proper way to do it) and have you stick out your tongue and then through a translator would tell you your diagnosis, followed by a forceful "do you want the medicine?!?" of course it was for a ridiculous price and who knows what it actually is... good entertainment though!  We also got to soak our feet in some brown liquid and get a foot massage for $2
Last stop was the Summer Palace!  We had almost no time there because we had to go to a pearl factory first (dang cheap tour!) but we loved it so much we took the subway back the next day (to be recounted in part two!)
No international vacation is complete without McDonalds ice cream!
Again at the Summer Palace

Going home through the back alley 
A lion you might think? Nope, a dragon! 
Forbidden City gardens, the emperor had like 2000 concubines, so they needed somewhere to hang out! 
Luckily most signs had english as well!
Amy managed a super cool heart bun! 
There was this one really neat area of Beijing, where there was a huge mall and the crazy food market and a blocked off street filled with people hanging out.  So many people out all the time! Late at night! With their children! Maybe because their homes are all small apartments they need to get out? Its a theory... 
I felt like I needed to take a picture on my stopover in Hong Kong and this rubber duck made out of cans was the winner!
And then I took another picture as well... it was so smoggy there you could barely see anything!
The back ally to our house
I had to take a Tesla picture for Andrew, its his dream car.  There were so many of them!
Lots of entrances to everything had these cool things over top - not sure what they're called? 
People people everywhere!
Forbidden City 
There was a crush of people to get a look inside - it was seriously ridiculous like you were body checking old ladies out of the way and they were merciless back!  I'm surprised no one was trampled to death no jokes. 
And this was what was inside - a throne?

The mall had a freshly squeezed orange juice maker - so yum!

At the big mall we had to do it to be cool! 
Crazy food market selling all sorts of crazy things like fried scorpions and beetles and other random bugs and sea creatures and just really anything.... we weren't adventurous because we didn't want to get sick and I don't even regret it
Well that was about it for our city tour!  We did a lot of driving through the city to get places and that's always fun!  Beijing is a lot more spread out than I imagined and there is a lot of green space and trees.  I though it was going to be a concrete jungle for real!