Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 8: Beijing Weekend One

I think I passed out after the hot pot...sadly my blog is17 days behind now...aaaahhghgh!

May 8:
Our Korean neighbors across the hall like to drink often and we woke up this morning to green beer bottles lined outside of their door. It's interesting that you can buy alcohol in the school cafeterias and elsewhere that you wouldn't be able to in most places in the US.

We grabbed a quick bit to eat, some rolls or something. I ate some porridge-type stuff with sugar...

We headed to Beijing around 7:30am. Plan: Tiananmen Square/ Forbidden City; Bargain Shopping; Peking Duck.

It took about 2 hours to get to Beijing and another hour or so to actually drive through the city, park and walk to Tiananmen Square. Lucy (her English name for us tourists who are horrible with Chinese names) is our guide for today and tomorrow.
She is from Beijing.

I love how some of the cities plant roses in the median, yellow and red.

A rock slightly larger than a quarter hit the window of the bus on the way to the city. I think the driver is cool. I like his long hair.

Beijing is the 3rd largest city in China with 17ish million people.

I always wondered how they employ so many people in China, but there are so many little jobs that people can do that in the scheme of things they are big jobs, i.e. sweeping the sidewalks and streets, trimming the medians, and a lot of buildings have been going up rapidly.

I don't think I had ever seen a doubled bus until we came to Beijing. I never knew buses could be this long. Somehow they still are packed full of people a lot of times. The double-decker buses are cool. We have not been on one.

We finally parked and walked to the square...which can hold one million people...seriously...there were heads everywhere, covered in colored baseball caps. At first we only saw red and I thought that it'd be easier to get lost with the colorcoding since everyone had the same color. But then I saw some other colors...like yellow and orange...and blue, and us. Sooo many people. We took a bathroom break. Wheeew...stinky. I wished some people could just cover their nose without announcing so loudly how smelly it was. There was a small security scanner in a white tent (which is appearing to be the standard for most tourist attractions). I am glad you can bring bags in and we don't have to worry about not being able to take them in. Most places also allow water bottles, otherwise you may die. Just joking, but seriously. It is gradually growing warmer here (as it is May 24 when I am typing this). We didn't really walk around the square...we circled in a single spot and took pictures and Lucy explained some things to us but our tours keep being interrupted by people trying to sell us stuff or people stopping and standing on our shoulder trying to touch or mostly take pictures while gawking at us. We took a picture outside of the Mao portrait and the guy who was trying to get us to buy the photo he was organizing got irritated when we asked Lucy to take our pictures with our cameras.

We then walked under the road in a tunnel to cross the road without worrying about traffic. It was neat, kind of like when I went to the Inauguration of President Obama.

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