We arrived in Beijing on saturday and was surprised that it is not quite as hot as bangkok but there is a permanent blanket of white/grey smog in the air, so far we have not seen any blue sky or the sun. apparently the air in china is equivalent to smoking 70 cigarettes a day, nice....
we are staying in a youth hostel near the main train station, and have managed to navigate the subway but not yet the buses, they are just too complicated. China is much harder to get around than Thailand, hardly anyone speaks any english, even cab drivers dont know where to take you when i try and pronounce the word myself. it is very frustrating to say the least.
We spent a day in the Forbidden City which was nice, very big place we didnt see it all. The emporers used to live there and it was forbidden for common people to enter. lots of old relics and things to see.
also saw Tiananman square, and the big portrait of chairman Mao.
Yesterday did a trip to the Great wall. Was a huge day we piled on to a mini bus and make the trek out to Jinshanling about 130km out of beijing. Traffic is chaotic and the drivers are terrible here, lots of honking and driving off into a ditch on the side of the road to overtake trucks on a skinny road. its best to keep your eyes closed. we trekked from jinshanling to Simatai which is 10km and it was hard going. About half way i was beginning to think this was not such a great idea, i had thongs on and daniel chose the bare foot option, the hard core hikers with sticks and packs thought we were crazy. The wall itself is amazing, the walk was literally up 120steps, down 100 or so steps then up and down again for 10kms. the wall at jinshanling was built around 600 AD so is in pretty bad shape. some parts you had to hold on to the sides so u didnt fall. The local mongolian farmers have taken to harrassing tourists. Each person attaches themselves like a leech to one tourist and follow u for kms till u buy a book or tshirt or bracelet.Once u buy something they turn around and leave u alone. we got rid of 2 and then another one found us for the last few kms, she was hard core. it is very annoying to say the least. the view is amazing, rolling green hills and the wall just goes on forever. the smog was still lingering in the air so photos could have been better.
after 4hrs of walking we were knackered and today i can hardly handle the stairs in the street without wincing in pain!!
but was such a great experience.
off to Xian tomorrow night on the sleeper train.