We are now in Tiananmen Square staying in a very shitty and noisy Chinese hotel where the glass rattles and the smells
from the street vendors cooking strange Chinese dishes permeates your nostrils 24/7.
Off to explore the shops and the square-plenty of sable fur coats, nylon wool jumpers and crimplene trousers (trendy,
Beijing is not).
Journal Update 23rd Sept 2004 / Uncle Mao Beijing, China
We are still in Beijing and have just come back from visiting Chairman Mao's Mausoleum. We lined up with thousands of
Chinese to pay our respects and surprisingly the massive line went down in half an hour. Mao was covered in a hammer
and sickle flag and looked like he was lit from within by a thousand watt light bulb.
Yesterday we visited the Forbidden City which is right in the centre of Beijing. It is pretty spectacular (even
though there were about a million Chinese tour group wearing Lemon and red hats, carrying little flags and hoicking up
into spittoons. In fact my nerves are shattered by the constant dodging of flying phlegm YUCK.) Can you believe there
is a Starbucks Coffee shop inside the Forbidden Palace? We have decided to forgo Korea as we are running out of time,
so we are planning to make the run back to Hong Kong via train instead but Joe has his heart set on the Trans Siberian
Railway to Moscow, which is possible as we are now so close. But the beaches of Indonesia beckon us.
Journal Update 24th Sept 2004 / Beijing, The Great Wall of China
Well we wanted to see The Great Wall of China and we did at the expense of our sanity and two very sore bottoms!
We set of at 7.00am (bright eyed and bushy tailed) to catch the tour bus. Two hours later the tour bus hadn't yet left.
Then it filled up with a Chinese tour group and we were off.
An hour and a half later, we were at our destination (The Great Wall) which we had a jog around. Then the bus visited
a Jade shop, then the bus visited a fun fair, then the bus visited a supermarket (where everyone bought Peking Duck),
then the bus visited a temple, then the bus visited a Chinese pharmaceutical company, and on, and on:
We had a video and a sing-a-long. A running talk in Chinese for 6 hours by the guide who held her mike like a
rapper and shouted into the mike at ear splitting levels! A gaggle of Chinese with a constant ring of mobile phones,
who got very worried when we tried to escape and kept running after us.
Well the wall was good but we have promised ourselves NEVER AGAIN.
We have bought our tickets back to Kowloon and are leaving the day after tomorrow. We are travelling back on the
Journal Update 25th Sept 2004 / Beijing, China
Lost In The Forbidden Places
We bid a fond farewell to Beijing tomorrow and are due to take the train across the country on the Express to Kowloon
(Hong Kong). After the tedium of yesterdays Chinese tour group we have had a fantastic final day doing what we like doing best.
Looking around junk shops and riding around on a rickshaw round all the old hutongs of Beijing. The hutongs are the
old back alleys of Beijing that contain courtyard houses.
These historic places are quickly being bulldozed because all the streets are being widened in preparation for the
Olympic Games. It was nice because we saw another part of this city apart from the wide concrete boulevards and huge
So now we will tell you the highs and lows of our trips so far:
- Seeing a real live panda in Shanghai zoo (although his fur was knarled and brown)
- Seeing Tianenman Square at night time, all lit up with kids flying kites
- Riding the luxurious express train from Shanghai to Beijing all through the night
- Seeing the Forbidden City
- Wandering in to the Forbidden City at night and getting lost
- Buying Marc Jacobs clothes at .5% of the price in England Cheap beer -20p for a 650 mil bottle of Tsing TaoRiding the Metro around Beijing (without being able to read anything and 20p for a ride anywhere).
- The Military Musuem in Beijing
- Street markets selling strange food such as live turtles, dog and snake
- Old ladies giving you the thumbs up
- Splendid scenery in Yangshou
- Cheap taxis- about a pound a time