We woke up balls early at 2:45 and called a cab to come and get us. The fare ended up only being 200 RMB, but the other day when we got a shuttle from the airport to our place it was 450 RMB!!! Whatever we wanted to make sure that as soon as R&L had gotten off we had a cab waiting for them and that they could take us straight to the apartment.
Once we got to the airport we had a hard time trying to figure out how to print out our tickets. We wandered around all over the terminal to no avail. We ultimately just waited in a random line. There were two girls in their early 20s and I asked them if we were in the right line. They reassured us that we were, but as soon as the other lines were moving R&L and Syd jumped them and I followed. We fought through the crowds and ended up in the front only to be told that we were to essentially go back to where we were. Man that suuuuucked, but luckily the girls were kind enough to let us back in the line. We went through security easily enough and it was a pleasant flight. We left on time and arrived early and we all napped through the majority of the flight.
As soon as we landed we noticed that the air quality here is FAR worse than in Shanghai. Everything you see here has a yellow tint to it and smells off. We took a cab and went to our hotel. On the way we saw these rundown buildings and it was shocking to see that people lived in them. There is so much poverty in this country and the gap between rich and poor is astronomical. We got dropped off a couple of miles away from our hotel because the traffic was pretty bad and we wanted to eat a Chinese McDonald’s breakfast. We all got a Sausage McMuffin, but tried a couple of their weirder stuff. They had what would equate to a breakfast burrito with eggs, ham and hoisin sauce. Ralphie and I thought it was alright, but the women didn’t agree.
After breakfast we walked to the hotel to get settled in. I’ve never stayed at a Hilton before, but good God! This place is Fancy with a capital F. I’ve legitimately have never stayed in such a nice hotel room before.
Since today was a bit of a free day we decided to check out the Olympic Stadium, Tiananmen Square and Wangfujing street.
The Olympic Stadiums were amazing to see. The Bird’s Nest up close is just….wow seeing it on TV really doesn’t do it any justice. Also, just standing outside the Water Cube, where USA dominated, was pretty damn cool. I definitely did a U.S.A chant in my head, or maybe out loud even. One thing though is where you’re standing there you can look off a great deal into the distance, but there’s so much smog that you can’t see the horizon or even the sky.
Tiananmen Square was honestly a bit underwhelming. I know that there is a lot of historical significance, but it’s just a nice courtyard in front of a lot of governmental buildings. Tiananmen Square also opens up to the Forbidden City, but it’s closed on Mondays, so we just walked around the entrance and took some pictures and decided we’ll revisit it on Wednesday.
Wangfujing Street is the famous street in Beijing in which you can try out their delicacies. It was here that I ate a spider, silk worms and maggots. Honestly they fry them so much that you’re really just eating flaky oil. There was no real gag factor to it but I can at least say I’ve eaten those things. Also, I’m pretty sure I got ripped off by the food lady. I spent 140 RMB , $22, on a fat spider and small worms/maggots. Whatever it was the experience I paid for, at least that’s what I keep telling myself.
We regrouped at the hotel and headed out for dinner. We had McDonalds again the ladies had Big Macs and Ralphie and I tried one of their rice dishes. Now I know some of you may be thinking,” C’mon guys! You’re in Beijing you should try out some of the local delicacies!” But to be perfectly honest it’s just nice to be able to order something you’re familiar with and know what the hell you’re getting. We sat around and chatted for a while then got some DQ Blizzards for dessert.
At the hotel we went ahead and got some cocktails and lounged around their bar. We reflected upon the day we had and what we’ll be doing tomorrow. I’ve come to the conclusion, probably a biased one, that Shanghai is better than Beijing. The metro system here isn’t as user friendly as back in Shanghai, just the way the lines intersect and weave through the city doesn’t make much sense. Also, there isn’t much to do in this city. Unless you’re a huge history buff and enjoy site seeing. There really isn’t a night life or attractions to take part in. Lastly, this city does have a TON of history and walking around you see old buildings and walls that you know have been there for hundreds if not thousands of years. I can appreciate that, but at the same time it makes this whole place just seem dirty. However, I suppose that’s the charm of this city.
Tomorrow we’re off to the wall my great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather built!
Oh and one more thing! The shower in this place is balls amazing!!! I took a 30 min shower just cause I can. The water pressure was fantastic! There were two options for the shower. One was your traditional removable shower head and the other came RAINING down on you! And it wasn’t like a gentle pouring of rain, it was a torrential downpour. Seriously, no exaggeration, this was the best shower I’ve had since living here in China.
2:45 came so early this morning and I woke up really sick!!! I am losing my voice and my cough and runny nose are back. I think that I was not 100% and we have been doing a lot so my body just never fully recovered. The ride to the taxi was pretty cheap and the way to go from now on. We saw some weird snacks in the airport as well. Basically this trip for my mom and ralphie was a trial run for Matt’s trip then Bianca’s. Anything that goes wrong or right we know what to do going forward. I was pretty sick and tired on the plane so I slept most of it and woke up about 30 minutes before we landed.
HELLO BEIJING!! Our first trip inside China. We all only had our backpacks and mom and I had a purse so we did not check any luggage. Ralphie and I figured out how to navigate the metro and streets but it would be about 3-4 miles before we hit the metro so we decided to take a taxi. We were starving so we had the taxi pull over about 2 blocks before the hotel and we had some McMuffins for breakfast and these delicious bun things that looked like Twinkies. We walked the rest of the way to the hotel and got checked in. This place is amazing!!!! There is a video below and I cannot believe that this is where we are staying!!!!!!!!! I cannot wait for Bianca and Greg to get here for it. Also, we got upgraded to the executive level and the views out the window are really cool. I am really happy we are in such a western hotel/room. We got cleaned up and packed up our purses for today’s adventure.
The first stop on our list was the Olympic Stadium. Ralphie and I really wanted to see this and it was absolutely worth it. We walked around and took pictures, we did not pay to get inside since we did not really want to and just seeing the buildings was good enough. The walk around was nice and then we were off to Tiananmen Square.
I agree with Wally that Tiananmen Square was very underwhelming and I hope that on Wednesday the Forbidden City is better because if it isn’t I am not sure I would pay to get in again. I would walk around and explore the gardens some more. We sat and people watched and you can see how some of the apartment buildings have balconies that come over the water of the moat of the Forbidden City! How cool!!! Honestly that would be cool to see every morning waking up. We walked farther and ended up on Wangfujing and our hotel we discovered is maybe a 10/15 minute walk from the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square which is awesome!!!
While walking along Wangfujing Wally tried the nasty bugs, I was so mad that be paid 140RMB, this is why I carry the money and he can come and ask for it. You can haggle for anything in China and I have paid less for Beats and a Chanel purse then he did for fried bugs!!! It was so gross to watch and then he tried to trick me into kissing him! GROSS!!! We walked more down the street to see more food then came back to the hotel to relax for a minute. Yes, I know people are wondering but until you are out here and taste the food you have no right to judge, McDonald’s is needed. The Big Mac was amazing and we were all so tired that it was nice to sit in a mall and relax. We saw more of this city today then we thought we would so that was a nice treat. The DQ Blizzard was so sweet and we walked around the mall for a while then headed back to the hotel.
We went to the hotel bar and had a night cap. Well, like we have talked about everything is about 90% there in China. They do not have Kettle One so no dirty Shirley’s for me but I had a mojito. My drink was huge and I am the only one who liked their drink. Mom had a Mai Tai and it was all rum and she barely finished it. Ralphie had a margarita but it was disgusting so we sent it back and he got a Mai Tai instead and Wally had a Long Island. I am so proud of my husband for drinking the whole thing and he was not that red. It was nice to be in this little lounge and the colors and decorations reminded us of our wedding. Once finished we headed to shower and bed. I took a bath and felt like a queen with this huge bathtub then went into our rain shower and had a bathrobe waiting. It was so relaxing and I am never leaving the hotel, our apartment is going to suck compared to this. Well now off to bed and hiking the Great Wall tomorrow. XO