Sorry for the delay in posts…found out internet sucks here! But I suppose I will fill you in on my last two weeks…
We arrived in Beijing at approximately 5pm, took bus # 5 for 20 min. to Xueyuan bridge in Haidian District. Then we’re supposed to take a cab to our hotel supposed to be about a 2 min. ride…. Sean jumps in cab with all our luggage and Ryan and I jump in another cab. Note to self: never pack so much again even if you know you will miss it….incredibly big pain to lug around as well as paid $200 fee for overweight luggage (welcome to US airlines find anyway to make money)
We quickly found out no one speaks ANY English nor can they read it so we had quite the communication barrier to overcome.. approximately 2.5 hours later we arrive at our hotel without Sean. As we are checking in we are asked for our passports and then come to find out the visa we paid $220 for says our duration of stay is 0 days! So they told us they were calling the police and that we would have to go there to work out our situation we tried to explain to them that this was not the case as we are living here for one year in Chongqing and the airport had no problem with our visas…(she did not care)…Some how miraculously our visa issue gets solved and they allow us till September 16th to remain in the country (if they can do that), no worries we will deal with it later. At this point it is 11:30pm or so.
We go to our room where there are two Queen (roughly) beds, oh and did I mention they dont believe in springs (they are apparently bad for your body) aka our beds are about as comfortable as the floor. No western beds to be found 😦 I will say though surprisingly my back has not bothered me at all and I do get great nights sleep.
Thursday rolls around its time to explore. We get our map of Beijing and decide to walk up to Peking University and Summer Palace area we have heard it is beautiful and according to our map is not far of a walk.. We begin our journey, and walk for about an hour and none of the streets we have been crossing are on our map so we decide to stop at a hotel to ask where we are, they circle the location…according to our map we have made it about 5 blocks but have walked about 100….New lesson there mapping skills sub-par.
Now we believe we will have to walk about another hour before we will arrive to our destination but decide to keep going its new and exciting and the walk has been good up to this point… We finally arrive to Peking University but come to find out there are guards in front of the entrance and you must have a school pass to enter (it does look beautiful from the outside) we begin walking around the campus and decide to take a cab to Tiannamen Square since our original plan didnt work and to see a different part of Beijing….
It wasnt too bad of a cab ride about 30 min. and only like $12 not to bad if you ask me. We then realize we have no money and need to exchange our money to RMB, but Sean informed us back at the hotel in the morning that we should not carry our passports with us (which in theory is smart) but you need them for everything here especially being a foreigner…Lesson 3 have passport on us at all times (unable to exchange money).
We go to a restaurant for a snack (dumplings) awesome if I do say so myself. We then go back to the hotel to get our passports and exchange money. We finally have lunch at a restaurant right next to our hotel (we ate pizza, onion rings, essentially really American food lol) our next trip is to Wal-Mart in search of a hair dryer so I can finally shower!!! Wal-Mart is even more ridiculous in China than in America this one was 6 stories!!! I know, I know all around we were extremely American today lol.
We go back to the hotel to rest before dinner and it ends up Sean and I passed out at 5pm… We slept til about 1am can you say jet lag? Vince another guy in our group was supposed to be meeting up with us at our hotel but ran into the same problems as we did and didnt end up seeing him till Friday afternoon… I continued relaxing/ sleeping but Sean and Ryan went out to grab a bite to eat and met some Chinese girls that became best-friends with them and hung out till about 4am then came back to the hotel relaxed till about 6 am got ready for the day and packed up the rest of our stuff as we had to meet up with the other 22 teachers this afternoon at Beijing airport.
We went to a place called Steak & Eggs an American style restaurant opened up by a Canadian, it was unbelievably good! Then went back to the hotel and checked out of room and we then had about 3 hours to kill so Ryan & I got foot massages for an hour… It was only $10 and one of the best massages I have ever had. 3pm rolls around and its time to get back in the cab and meet up with everyone at Beijing airport luckily this time was a bit more successful…of course our luck had to end at some point because Sean forgot his wallet in the cab. Lucky for him there wasnt anything too important in there. Come to find out everyone else arrived late Thursday night and everything was closed at the airport so they just spent the night in the airport (that would suck!) Hence why Vince had difficulty finding us…
Now we are off to Shiijazhuang. I know what you are probably thinking; so you are telling me that you were in Beijing for 2 days and saw nothing? Most would gather that from what I have just told you, but really how I see it is we learned a lot in a short couple of days I was able to see almost every part of Beijing by walking or cab and I now know where and what I would like to see/do the next time I return to Beijing which will for sure be 2 or 3 more times… So no worries
Tid-bit for the day — Till next time: Dào míngnián de shíjiān