Tours: Make sure you get a guide. It’s completely pointless and uninformative just walking round, even if you do get some awesome pics.
Food: Anyone with a speech impediment who salivates a bit too much when speaking, don’t let them near your food. This type of Chinese seasoning is a no-no.
Jetlag: Don’t let it get in the way of your day. Rest & recover before doing anything strenuous.
Be prepared to walk: CHINA IS MASSIVE! In case you didn’t know…
Keep a diary: It’ll help you remember all the little things you may forget.
[*All Pictures can be found at the bottom*]
MAN – PEK
We had landed in Beijing. The light haze that covers the land was prevalent and rather overwhelming. With Justin Bieber – Where are ü now still trolling around my head (a song title that doesn’t make sense), we embarked on the airport-city transfer. A good forty-five minutes later and we popped our head out of Qianmen station, where we were greeted by Tiananmen Square, home of the infamous gate to The Forbidden City. It was bloody baking! Backpacks in tow, we had the arduous task of locating our hotel. All of a sudden, I felt I had the ability to read Chinese and judging by the thirty minute of walking to find it, I’m about as Chinese literate as the hummus I’m feasting on. Wandering the backstreets did give us an insight to how the poorer percentage of China lived and the repugnant odour that graced our nostrils.
Our hotel was
excellent good nice steady. It did the job. The concierge was as helpful as a chocolate kettle but we got into our room and jetted out. We were shocked at the difficulty of conversing in English which yet underlines the arrogance of Western society. [Not mainland Europeans though, they smash languages]..
We experienced the local cuisine and were reunited with a former favourite, chicken cartilage. Very oily, fatty and artery clogging. Nothing to write home about but something to mention in a dated blog post! What I would’ve done for a simple pad-thai or just a bag of prawn crackers.
We got to Tiananmen Square and my celebrity status was back. Two young chaps were after a photo, presumably because they know I’m going to be a superstar in a few years… Oooor because I’m white. Either/or.
We wondered further up the road to the symbolic Forbidden Palace where a school trip was also in attendance. They got a VIP entrance and there was a clear case of over-population with the never ending snail trail of young Chinese prodigies. I’d upload a video but I’m not so sure how? We weren’t so lucky and followed the masses of Chinese tourists to the main entrance. We opted against a tour, quite frankly the jet-lag had plagued our bodies and we were lazy. A big regret. As impressive as the Palace was, it was just building after a building and turned into a mini marathon getting around, plus we got lost.
Instead of attempting to go at this holiday at 200mph, we opted for a 20 minute nap and to go do something productive after. Little did we know is that when I’m tired, I apparently can’t set the correct time and after 90 minutes, we got up with the sun slowly setting. MY BAD! Although I was secretly happy about it but I would’ve got a slap if I said that.
Then came the highlight of the day. After strolling through Tiananmen Square and really appreciating the commercialisation and globalisation of the Chinese brand, we struggled to find a restaurant. We’re that couple that walks into a restaurant, looks at a menu and thinks “nah, that’s not for me.” Well luckily enough, help was hand by the Chinese Daffy Duck. His spitting on words was irrepressible. He told us about the best peking duck in town and as we like to taste the local delicacies, we gave it a whirl. I can’t say that this national dish is one of the best as again it was oily and greasy, or maybe that was Daffy’s saliva? We went off and I bought my sister seem traditional tea due to her love for the beverage.
Other than that, our first impression of Beijing was underwhelming and was something we definitely hoped would improve in our brief stint here. Now back to the hotel where we booked our Great Wall trip for the following day. Game on.