Day 12: Last Day in Beijing

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I really didn’t want to go to the Great Wall.

IMG_1079 I was tired, hungover, and homesick. I had long since realized that I wasn’t so interested in the historical sites, but my guides were having none of that. I could tell neither of them wanted to go either, as they’d been plenty of times, but the idea that I wasn’t going was too much. They practically dragged me out of my hotel room in my underwear. I convinced that I would go willingly if they let me put on pants, and they were willing to wait until the fucking thunderstorm stopped. Unfortunately it did stop a couple hours later, so I put on pants and we went to the closest section of the wall. Badaling has the most tourists, and so isn’t as nice as some of the further sections of the wall.IMG_1072 But as I wasn’t in much mood for hiking, and I’d probably end up back in China again soon (sooner than I’d like anyways) and then I could think about hiking the cool sections with the cool kids. For a touristy spot, there sure was a lot more hiking than I’d expected. I worked up a pretty good sweat. There were lots of shops hocking crappy souvenirs. A few places had drug a camel and a horse half way up the wall for some nice cheesy photo ops. Forunately there was a cable car down, as I was beat from the lame 30 minute “hike” up the wall. Not quite in the same shape as when I raced up the Statue of Liberty in 6th grade. On the cable car down the mountain, there was korean graffitti all over the inside of the car.

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Click below for a panorama type shot of the Great Wall.

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After coming back to Beijing proper, it was dinner time. IMG_7441Dinner was Peking duck, which really is better in Peking. Mostly because it was so cheap. IMG_7449A three person serving of ducks, pancakes, and the extras for $10, 1/6 of what I would pay here. The restaurant must have been famous because all the locals (anyone of asian decent speaking Mandarin was a local to me) were taking pictures of the restaurant’s name placard, convinently sitting right above my head. This suggests that we’d stumbled into a tourist (local?) trap, and had been fleeced. At $10 I didn’t really care. It got me full, and my burps tasted like duck fat all night. It was heaven. Afterwards we wandered around the city trying to think of what to do. I felt drinking was a good way to finish off the night, and they wholeheartedly agreed.

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We headed back to Houhai street, found a bar with a half decent musical act, and drank lots of cheap Beijing beer. Of course there was much popcorn and it was very sweet.

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After drinking, it was still far too early to end the night, IMG_7515so we went to Karaoke. Remembering the crappy place we went to last time, I urged them to pick a place a little nicer. This place was indeed a lot nicer. There was an all you can eat/drink bar. There were Japanese songs that actually worked, and several English songs from the mid 90’s. There was the stupid single computer unit, but this time we also got a collection of books and a remote to enter the numbers. The books and microphones came wrapped in a sash that said “disinfected,” and its the first time I’ve ever seen anything like that. It makes me wonder what diseases I’ve caught at other Karaoke places. We also got a fancy fruit plater with smoking dry ice. At about 4am we called it a night. I had to get up in 2 hours to catch my ride to the airport, so here I said goodbye to my two guides. Though I still felt bad for initially assuming them to be some sort of scammers, I sort of wish they did at some point, or at least let me splurge. I was so greateful for their help, and really the most luxurious extravagant night out in Beijing costs less than a meal for two at a cheap restaraunt in Japan.

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~ by foomfoom on August 30, 2006.

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