A Travellerspoint blog

Beijing and beyond!

The first chapter of an Asian adventure!


(Beijing from Jingshen Park)

Touching down at Beijing airport at silly O'clock in the morning after a seven hour flight, we walked out into the fresh China morning with the task of getting ourselves to our hostel. We had decided that the best option was a taxi, just to save the hassle which we didn't need due to how tired we were. After a bit of bartering we managed to get a taxi at a good price and headed off along the relatively quiet Beijing highway with our taxi driver weaving in and out of traffic. The buildings around Beijing are clean and modern, and most we saw along the highway were tall. Some had large signs advertising  their company, others had large tv screens or lights. Few looked like they were housing, as it all appeared very commercial. Quite a stark contrast to the run down flat blocks on the outskirts of Moscow.

After turning off the highway we entered what looked like 'real' China, but with some gift shops littered here and there along the street. Down the side roads houses of multiple shapes and sizes encroached onto one another. The street at this time, 6:30 (or so) in the morning was only inhabited by road sweepers and the odd Chinese person going about their own business. Our taxi driver, pointed at what looked like a temple and said something enthusiastically in Chinese, which I questioned to no avail until I realised it was Lama Temple, which was suppose to be close to where we were staying. The taxi driver continued for a short distance, pulled over and pointed out to a side street we had just passed on the opposite side of the road 'Beixin Hutong', this was our stop.

Wondering down the street felt like we were out of our depth, it was very quiet due to the time apart from the odd cyclist who zoomed past and rang their bell at us, the road being so narrow only one car could fit down it, and there were no pavements, the doors of houses and small businesses just opened out onto the street. After being lost in the back end of 'real' China for a little while, we plucked up the courage to ask two Chinese men cooking some suspect meat in a horrendously dirty pot outside a grubby looking shop, we showed them the name of the hostel written down and the pointed us in the direction, after a bit more time we eventually found the hostel, after checking in we headed straight for bed and wrote off the day.

When we eventually woke up we headed out to look for some food and to see if we could catch the Man Utd v's Liverpool game. After a few beers at the bar watching the football, we headed off to grab some food walking back down a road we had passed earlier which was full of restaurants. We choose the busiest with the most Chinese people inside and set about perusing the menu, avoiding the grilled locusts and the terrapin soup, we ordered some food that was a little more basic, but still adventurous. It proved to be very tasty apart from the odd chicken, or maybe it was a pork dish we had which I choose not to think too much about what it was!?

The following day we got up late again still suffering from the traveling, we decided to head down to Tiananmen square and the Forbidden City. From looking at the map it appeared to be a long but easily doable walk. As it turned out, it's quite a massive trek. On our way after walking up a hunger, but enjoying the sights and sounds of Beijing, we decide to stop at a restaurant for sone food. While looking at the menu the waiter suggested we try the famous Peking Duck. We were not disappointed, it was hand carved in front of us and you rap it in thin pancakes much like the U.K. but the quality of the duck was far superior! After the food we made it to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen square, we walked into the entrance of the Forbidden City but changed our mind about paying to see inside the Palace Museum due to how late we had left it, rather deciding to come back the following day when we would have more time to have a proper look.

(Peking Duck)


The following day, still cursed by our fatigue, we got up late and got a taxi back down to the Forbidden City and Palace Museum. The place was much larger than we had appreciated. Built over 14 years from 1404 to 1420 by the Ming Dynasty and also occupied by the Qing Dynasty, it consists of 980 building, of which we visited just a few, many are not open to the public. The place is truly remarkable and inspiring, and was a great experience, after walking the length of the Palace Museum we went and scaled the man made hill in Jingshen Park. The Hill was made at the north of the Forbidden City by the spoil left from the moats dug out around it. The hill in the park has 5 pavillions built on it offering fantastic views of the Beijing an back across the Forbidden city. It helps to put into prospect the vastness of Beijing and how huge the capital of china really is.


(The top Pavillion in Jingshen Park from the Palace Museum)

(views of Beijing and across the forbidden city from Jingshen Park)

The following day, still feeling lethargic, we ventured out later in the day to go have a look around the famous Pearl Market. Maybe named due to the fact the building was built on the grounds of an actual pearl Market now it's home to a massive three floored Market selling everything from electricals, clothing, tourist trinkets and fancy toiletries, many of it being 'knock-offs', but of a good quality. The place is a Mecca for the savvy shopper who is keen to have a good barter. Or even like myself, someone who was just keen to have a look, while having handbags and various silk scarves shoved into my face. It doesn't sound like it, but it was an amusing experience with the good natured Chinese sellers. Eventually I was being silly with the sellers pointing at my own underwear or shoes when offered pants or high heeled shoes. I'm not a hundred percent sure they understood, but the seemed to find it funny too!

The next instalment I will inform you of visiting one if the 7 wonders of the world, seeing Pandas and various other shinanagens!

Posted by Christian25 20:35 Archived in China Tagged travel_china_asia_traveling

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22.10.11: Just managed to get your blog address and have followed your travels all in one go - wonderful.I agree with Lisa that you could get a job as a travel writer. Everything looks and sounds so interesting the way you tell it and show it!! Looking forward to the next instalment. xx

by Cathy Chapman

Are you still on fb ban? Will try to FaceTime you soon!! Can't believe you have done so much while we are all carrying on with our boring routines!! :) you look and sound like you're having an amazing time!! Carry on keeping us posted!! Xxxxxx

by Lisa Yeulett

Thanks Cathy!!! Hope your ok and all of the Stonelees family too!!! xx

Lisa, yer still got a Facebook ban until we get to Hong Kong, which will be in a week and a bits time! It's annoying because although the hostel is very nice, there isn't a great Internet signal to use my iPod! I'll try and get hold of you when I can!

Hope all is well! X

by Christian25

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