from right to left: Christine, Erin, Barb, Me, Verl, Christy, Tasha, (Guide), Amanda
Ok, so our first stop on this awesome adventure was China, Beijing mainly. According to the Chinese government, if we are in china for less than 72hours we don’t need a visa but can apply for a special 72 hour visa in Beijing, So we got to border control and there was a massive line. So we get in the line hoping to get our visa and continue on our way. This line was long! Like summer at Disneyland in Japan for the tower of terror ride…. If you get what I mean :)
Well, we got to the counter finally, and we handed the passport controller our passports and he then told us that we were in the wrong line…. Yeah, the wrong line! We were directed to the special lane, that was the actual name of the line. It was short but because we waited in the other line we were the last to join the tour.
Consequently, we arrived at our hotel, Novotel, a little late; we had signed up to a Houtong tour starting right when we got to the hotel. It was like 9am, so we had to get going, mind you we just got off a 12 hour flight and were all a bit dazed.
The good thing though was that we were the only ones in the group, so it was fine that we were a bit late.
We had a traditional chinese face painting class where we got to paint some masks.
Then we were fed, such amazing food; it was all homemade and was the best meal we had in china while we were there! There was carrots, green beans/leaks, green pumpkin, roasted nuts, deep fried chips, cabbage, dumplings, peppers, and chicken. Very healthy but tasty, so much flavors!
After our meal we went to see the cricket man, we went to see him last time but this time were a few new additions to his house. He had his crickets which was fun to see again, but he also had a bearded dragon, some song birds, a cockatoo, and a massive fish. He was as animated as last time and it was fun watching him talk about his crickets.
Afterwards we did a tea ceremony where we got to try four different types of teas. The ceremony was at a Drum and bell tower.
The ceremony itself was enjoyable, we had a lady prepare the teas right in front of us. We started with an oulong, it was ok; Then we had Jasmine, which smelled nice but tasted bitter. Apparently Jasmine is Beijing’s specialty; still too bitter. The next tea was probably my favorite, it’s called the lady’s tea; it was a mix of lichi and rose hips. We then tasted a tea called pouer but it’s basically a black tea. Not my favorite.
We finished off the ceremony with a presentation of the Lucky Pee Boy; it’s a figurine that if you pour the correct temperature of water on him he will magically pee. Amazing itsn’t it?
Anyways, after we finished our Houtong tour we got on the metro and headed to the summer palace. We got there just fine and the palace was beautiful, I got to walk down the whole walkway; supposedly the longest corridor in china…or something like that.
Then Tasha wanted everyone to see the marble boat that is there. So we started walking towards it, then kept walking towards it, then we walked halfway around the lake that was infront of the palace.
We went over the 17 tiered bridge and visited the temple that faced the palace on the island across the way; but still no boat. Turns out we were going the wrong direction. Well we did finally get to the boat and it was magnificent but we were all pretty tired.
We found a ramen place and ate some tasty and cheap ramen. We had some issues with the card; apparently they wouldn’t take our foreign debit cards; so we had to leave some of our group at the restaurant and the rest of us do an ATM run.
We were all pretty tired by the end so even though the beds were as hard as rock we all had a great sleep…until 3am when we all woke up. Yay jet lag.