We woke up early today in order to squeeze in the Forbidden City before we had to take off. We arrived at the gates around 8:15ish and navigated our way to the ticket booth. You know the Asian tour groups you see at Disneyland? You know how they always have these stupid flags or matching hats? Well there’s a reason for that, in China it’s so ridiculously packed at tourist destinations that it’s necessary and I suppose they continue this odd tradition amongst tour groups for some familiarity. That being said it was fun looking out at the sea of people and noticing groups of red, yellow, blue and flannel hats bobbing around.
The Forbidden City only allows 80,000 people in a day and without exaggerating looking around the courtyard nearly half, if not over, was already in attendance. With just the sheer number of people I can honestly say that the city wasn’t that great. There was no room to just sit back and reflect on what it was you were seeing or walking through. For example, upon walking up to the first pagoda the last emperor’s throne sat there and there were HORDES of people gathering just to take a picture. People were pushing, elbowing and fighting their way to the front to try and get a clear shot of the throne. It was every man, woman and child for themselves there was absolutely no sympathy given to the little old women getting jostled about. I saw this and took it as an opportunity to do the same. I fought my way up just to take a stupid picture of the throne to look at and admire later. Also, I want to add that Loranna embraced the fighting. Watching her fight through the crowd she almost looked Chinese and I’m convinced that a part of her enjoyed it.
We walked back to the hotel and gathered our stuff and took a taxi to the train station. Ralphie and I got some beef noodle stew while the women got some McDonalds. We enjoyed our lunch and headed towards our gate. I must say that navigating the train station was easier than the airport. We boarded the train and got our spots. The rows were only 3 wide and I was the one that got separated from the rest. I was only one row back though, so that wasn’t so bad.
The train ride itself was really smooth it traveled up to 302 km/h and seeing the countryside of China was really cool. We were whizzing by smaller provinces and farmlands. People looked like insects toiling away in the fields. I couldn’t help but appreciate my 9 to 5 a bit more looking out at them. I also couldn’t help but to think that I’ve probably seen and done more in my short time here in China than any of these individuals will do in their lifetimes. I gotta say traveling and doing this has offered a different perspective on life that I can honestly say I wouldn’t have otherwise.
Some of the fun/interesting things I saw along the way home. A man floating in an inner tube in a pond in the middle of freaking nowhere! Like what are you doing on a Wednesday at 2 in the afternoon that allowed you to do that! I saw a river bank lined with women doing laundry, just like the good ol’ days.
We got back and showed R&L East Nanjing and the Bund all lit up. It truly was a sight to behold! But something tragic happened while we were there…. I broke a small piece of my backpack off…. I bought this thing 4 years ago and it has been with me through all of my journeys. I hope that I’m able to find someone to fix this thing. I want to continue to bring it with me through my travels.
Good Morning Beijing! Today is our last day in Beijing then we are headed back to Shanghai. We got up 6am to get to breakfast and head to the Forbidden City since we are on a time schedule today to catch our train back to Shanghai. Breakfast was again amazing and totally worth it. Thank mom and ralphie!! We cleaned up and grabbed our stuff and out the door we went. We got a taxi to take us to the entrance and then had to sit through a crazy security line. We took some more pictures and went in to get our tickets. While mom and ralphie got the tickets Wally and I waited on the side. A couple of girls came up to me and asked (in English) if I spoke Chinese, I answered in Chinese, a little bit. They asked if they could take a picture with me because they loved my hair. It was super curly today and in a French braid. I said sure no problem and they both took pictures with me. They were so sweet and I did not mind. Then another Chinese guy is staring at Wally and I and as soon as I speak English he is asking in perfect English if we speak English. You can tell he is an ABC since his English was American English and he was just curious if we knew how to buy the tickets and everything.
Once mom came back and we had the tickets we went into the palace. There was so much pushing a shoving but we finally made it through. The Forbidden City lets in close to 80,000 people a day. Well I would say a quarter of that was there this morning, it was nuts. We walked up the steps to the throne room and as Ralphie put it is was like a scrum in Rugby. I straight elbowed some fucker because he wouldn’t back up and Wally later told me it looked like he was going to hit me. Wally had is first ready if the guy came near me. J such a good hubby. After we all pushed and prodded our way around the sections of the city and saw some of the imperial jewels and just walked around. The city was eh, and honestly not worth it. I would have rather done the museum where you see Mao’s preserved body then go back to the city. It was cool to see and we would not know we don’t like it unless we did it so we have that. I was able to get a small replica of the Forbidden City Palace which was cool and it is something I will cherish.
After we walked out we headed back to the hotel. The walk back was less than 30 minutes and was able to see the sections of Beijing that are the oldest in the city. We got to the hotel and packed up and it was time to head to the train station.
I cannot believe our time in Beijing is over. It went by so fast but I truly appreciated being here and doing what we did. I am inspired by The Great Wall and what mankind can accomplish. It was breathtaking and something that I will always Cherish. I saw sites that most people only read about and see in movies. I stood in the Forbidden City and was lookout for my husband while he pissed on the wall. Glad he got to cross that off his bucket list. 😉
During the taxi ride to the train station I saw a woman stick her head out of the car and vomit all down the side of the taxi and spit then sit back in the taxi. It was so disgusting and I was flabbergasted by what happened. The rest of the ride was uneventful and getting into the train station and to our platform was so easy and painless. Mom and I got burgers and ate with the boys then walked around until our gate was open and we could get on the train.
Our seats were the first 2 rows so we had so much leg room and could even put our feet up on the wall. The train was comfortable and I have been on worse. This will do the job no problem. It is exciting to be on a bullet train. I fell asleep the first hour then just watched the countryside pass by. It was beautiful in some places and other places looked like little shanty towns. The differences are incredible to see.
Also, I forgot to mention yesterday the section of the wall we hiked was in a different province so on this trip to Beijing we have been to 2 different provinces. While we were driving through the border they checked our passports and got stopped by the police. Thank God we brought our passports because who knows what would have happened if we didn’t. That is the first time that we have had our passports checked while out and about.
The rest of the train ride was cool and one of the stops was in Nanjing. Wally and I will be there in a few weeks. It was cool to see part of the train station and know we have travels coming up. Once we got into Shanghai we got on the metro to East Nanjing so mom and ralphie could see the bund (the picture that is on our blog where it says wangtower) they thought it was cool and it was nice for us to see since we have not been down there at night in a while.
On our walk back to the metro we found a little place that had xiao long bao.I wanted them to try it since it is one of my favs. They both liked it and mom burnt her mouth again. She needs to listen when we say it is hot haha. It was so windy and cold so we headed back home. The places we were going to go for dinner were closing so Wally and Ralphie picked up food from our street. Mom and Wally and noodles and Ralphie and I had dumplings. It was nice relax and just chat about Beijing. We all cleaned up and headed to bed. I am still pretty sick and honestly do not feel as though I am getting better. I have felt worse and worse everyday. Hopefully I start to feel better soon as we have Steve Aoki Friday, and Hong Kong in 10 days.
Even though I feel like shit this trip has been amazing!!! I am so sad it will be over tomorrow.