The last trip we went on was the one we all were waiting for: Beijing. We only had 4 days for this vacation, so we really filled our time. We left right after teaching that Friday so that we could take a bus to a city where we could catch a plane. The plane ride was about 3 hours and we were served a “meal”. When we arrived in Beijing, it was only about 8 or 9, but we were tired and it was freezing. We were used to the warmer, Southern China weather; we didn’t have time to adjust to the freezing winter weather. The bus from the airport only took us so far, so we were responsible for finding our own cabs. Because there are so many people visiting Beijing, there are a lot of fake taxis. The real taxis start with "Beijing B" on their license plates. We finally found one and we got to our hostel. Hostels are fun, especially when they’re open air hostels, but November is a chilly time in Northern China, and our hostel was freezing. Mistey and I shared a room with Caleb and Chyenne.
I didn’t think to bring a coat to China because I was going to Southern China, so I only had a jacket in Beijing. The first thing we did Saturday was go to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. I about froze my @$$ off because I only had a jacket. Sydney let me borrow one of her scarves and I layered all the shirts and socks I brought. I also bought a pair of cheap mittens, but they didn’t really help; the cap I bought did, though. So we stood at Tiananmen Square for a little while, then we went across the street to the Forbidden City. We paid to get in and walked around. After a while, everything kinda started looking the same and I was wishing we had come earlier in the year (like July or August). When we got through the city, we stopped for lunch, then walked around the outside to get back to our hostel (we would have had to pay to walk back through the City). We went shopping and I bought myself a coat. Suddenly, the trip seemed so much better!
Sunday was the big day: we went to the Great Wall of China. Chyenne found a somewhat skeevy person to get us to go to the part of the Wall that isn’t really open to the public. We hiked about 1.5 miles to the wall, then we climbed up a broken part of the wall and walked along the wall for about 2.5 hours. It was really cool, except that the wall was covered in ice and snow and was broken in parts, so one wrong move would send us off the wall and plummeting to certain doom. We went shopping again in the evening. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this before (since it’s been so long since I updated or even looked at my blog), but I hate shopping in China. You have to bargain, and I suck at bargaining. I know that they start really high (especially if you’re American) and that they are trying to take advantage of us, but I am a sucker for the guilt trips. Anyway, we spent Monday also shopping and then caught the train to the airport that evening for our flight back to Southern China. By the time we got home (we had to catch a 2 hour bus ride after the flight), it was about 2:30 a.m. I hadn’t showered the whole time we were gone because I was afraid I would be exposed to the elements and die; I stayed up and showered so I wouldn’t gross the kids out the next day (not like they’d even notice. Everyone smells bad in China). It was a fun trip, I just wish it was warmer. And I did buy some awesome things.