We are now in Beijing – have been for the last few days. We arrived by sleeper Train Friday morning from Xi’an.
We went to the Summer Palace Friday. This place is 300 acres and was used as the summer residence for the emporers of China. It is mostly covered by Kunming Lake and also has many buildings, temples, walkways, and gardens. Very pretty area!
Saturday we went to the Great Wall! Our hostel had an organized day trip to the wall that included transportation as well as breakfast and lunch! We went to the Mutian Yu section of the wall which is less busy but has some very steep sections!! There was the option of taking a chair lift up to the wall but we opted to climb the stairs. Once on the wall, it is pretty much all stairs of different heights and lengths. Some are very short and you can take them 2 at a time where other steps were the height of my shins! It was a difficult climb indeed! We were on the wall for about 3 hours and took a gondola back down.
Now comes the fun part. May 1st in China (May Day) is a very big holiday here. Our plans for May Day were Tian an Men Square and the Forbidden City (not the best idea in hind sight!) If you like being so squished and pushed that you cant even move and it’s hard to breathe, then May Day is for you! The subways in Beijing are already crowded as it is so on May Day, they just shoved even more people into that subway car! If you cant hold onto any of the bars, that’s ok, you cant fall anyways since there are so many people squeezed around you.
Luckily Tian an Men Square and the Forbidden City are very large areas so everyone was able to spread out! Lots of security in Tian an Men Square to prevent any sign of a protest. Similar to saying “bomb” in an airport, if you decide to say “protest” in Tian an Men Square, you can forget it! You will be kicked out of there so fast!
We also went to a Chinese acrobat show Sunday night that was pretty amazing! I just sat in awe watching the positions some of these people can get into – it’s not right!! At one point, they had 12 girls all on one bicycle riding around the stage. There were also guys climbing and doing flips off vertical poles and jumping through hopes as well as some girls using those devils sticks and doing flips while throwing and catching them!
Today we are off to a 6 floor indoor market and then the Birds Nest and Water Cube this afternoon!!!!!!!!!!! The Water Cube has now been transformed into Happy Magic Water Cube – a waterpark!!!! It looks amazing. There will be pictures of course!!
We’re off to Shanghai tuesday night on an overnight train where we’ll meet up with our friend Yang and then back to Canada Friday night!