Steve's China Blog

Friday, June 18, 2010

Jay's trip to Beijing

Jay flew out of Raleigh on Friday June 11, and after a stopover in Toronto would arrive in Beijing on Saturday 12 June at about 3:55pm. I got a flight from Chengdu to Beijing on Saturday 12 June that was suppose to arrive in Beijing at around 3:20pm. The plan was that we would both meet my friend Jackie at the only McDonald's at the arrival hall in terminal 3 of the Beijing airport. Unfortunately I booked my flight on Air China and my flight to Beijing was 2 hours late.

This really screwed things up since Jackie wasn't sure what Jay looked like, and Jay was not sure what Jackie looked like. I found Jackie at the McDonald's at about 6:00pm and there was no sign of Jay, so Jackie and I started to plan what we would do to find Jay. A few minutes after that I looked up and there was Jay! He had gotten tired of sitting at the McDonald's after having sat on an airplane for 15 hours and had gone walking around the airport. Anyways, we finally were all together.

Jackie decided that the best way to get to the hotel was to take a city shuttle bus to YaBing Road, and walk over to the hotel. This was probably the cheapest way to get there, but the walk from the bus stop to the hotel was very long, especially for Jay and I since we had been traveling all day. After we got to the hotel we checked in, and Jay went to get cleaned up before dinner.

For dinner Jackie took us to a really nice Beijing Roast Duck restaurant (and we took a taxi rather than the less expensive bus). This place was a duck restaurant that the locals go to... not one of the tourist dives. The dinner was wonderful! After dinner Jay and I went back to the hotel and crashed. The next day would be a busy day.

Jackie had to work on Sunday, so Jay and I were on our own all day, but she did find us a driver for the whole day named Jiang Tao who met us at our hotel in the morning and took us to the BaDaLing part of the Great Wall. As you can tell from these pictures Sunday was kind of smoggy...

Part of BaDaLing Great Wall

More steep climbing ahead

Even with all the smog the view was very nice. The route we took was very steep. The place had also been very built up nearby with lots of restaurants, shops, and other tourist trap places. I guess they did this before the Olympics since it was not like this years ago when I had last visited the Great Wall.

Jay and a big rock

After going to the Great Wall our driver drove us to a restaurant nearby the Summer Palace, and Jay and I had some dishes that are popular in the Northeast part of China, such as braised beef with tomato and beans. It was a really good lunch, but we ate too much. This would become a trend while in Beijing.

I forgot the name of this restaurant, but it was good

After lunch we went over to the Summer Palace. I had been to the Summer Palace a couple times before with the last time being in 2006. Back then it was going through a lot of renovations (to get it ready before the Olympics I guess), and there was a lot more to see there this time. We even got lost for a little while. Jay was becoming more proficient at saying, "bu yao" (do not want) to all the street vendors who were all over the tourist places selling all kinds of junk. I did not take a lot of pictures at the Summer Palace, which is kind of strange since it is one of my favorite places in Beijing.

Jay near one of the covered walkways in the Summer Palace

After returning to the hotel from the Summer Palace we went for a walk around the area near the hotel. I wanted to buy a carton of cigarettes, as well as some snacks and water for the next day. We went down several streets and saw a lot of cool sights, such as little sidewalk BBQ cafes, different kinds of stores, and lot of different kinds of people. Jay was loving it all.

The next day Jackie met us at our hotel, and took us to the Forbidden City.

Jackie and Jay outside one of the gates to the Forbidden City

Jackie and I inside part of the Forbidden City

One of the courtyards inside the Forbidden City

Jay points out something interesting as someone photographs the wacky foreigners

It was very crowded and we tried to see as much as we could. We got these little GPS audio tour devices that told stories about each of the locations we visited and Jackie especially liked the stories.

Jackie listening to a story on an audio tour device

We finished going through the Forbidden City at around noon, and Jackie took us to a youth hostel nearby that she had heard had great lunches, but they were not serving food that day so we ended up going to a little dumpling place nearby. We had some dumplings with beef and some dumplings with egg and vegetables. Jay really loved the dumplings.

Jackie poses outside of a youth hostel in downtown Beijing

After lunch we went over to this placed called HuTong, which is a big lake surrounded by cafes and shops.

A view of the lake

Jackie got Jay and I a bicycle rickshaw and we rode around the lake for awhile. The driver was pretty funny and tried to explain the sights around the lake.

Our bicycle rickshaw driver

Jay and I seated in a bicycle rickshaw

A very pretty girl dressed on Tong Dynasty clothing

The day was very hot, so after our ride around the lake we wandered around on foot, and took breaks in shady spots to do some people watching. It was a nice way to spend an afternoon.

Jay and I relaxing in the shade

On Tuesday we met up again with Jackie who took us to the Temple of Heaven. The weather was very hot and my feet were hurting from all the walking we had been doing the last few days, but it was a lot of fun.

Jackie and Jay acting silly in the Temple of Heaven

After the Temple of Heaven we went to a market area and visited a few shops. One was a pickle shop called Liu Bi Ju, which had been there for over 400 years. Jay loved this place, and bought several types of pickles.

Loads and loads of pickled vegetables

After pickle shopping we visited a noodle restaurant and had lunch. The food there was kind of so-so.

Enjoying some noodles for lunch

After lunch Jackie left to go visit her Uncle, and Jay and I made our way over to the Lama Temple. I think this was the largest Buddhist temple I had ever visited, and also one of the prettiest. There were a lot of little temple buildings which contained shrines to different Buddhist deities.

Down a narrow passage in the Lama Temple

After visiting the Lama Temple Jay and I went to a pub called Molly Malone's' that was near our hotel and had a dinner of kabobs and oysters. It was pretty good. I miss good seafood in Chengdu sometimes.

On Wednesday we woke up and had a large breakfast at the hotel, and in the afternoon we went to the airport to catch our flight to Chengdu. It was an Air China flight, so it was late taking off.



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