We went out for some really good Dim sum this morning and went to the Llama temple to see Buddha. Then, we went to the antique market to grab our stamps we had made. I also ended up buying some really nice paintings.
Afterwards, we went to the silk market and I bought a few chinese calligraphy brushes. After spending a bit of time browsing around in the area, we went out for some dinner near by and now we're back at the hostel.
It looks like our trip is coming to an end, and that makes me sad, because I know I'll miss hearing and speaking a language that makes better sense to me. The food as well, I've really grown to hate Korean food in its bland lack of variety and flavour.
So some news people might have missed out on:
Prior to my trip, I kinda realised how much me and my boss butt heads. We flat out do not agree with each other and after many discussions and frustrations, and constantly belittlement (at my expense) I decided enough is enough. A few days before my trip to Beijing, I sat down with my boss and told her my intentions to leave the company, since I am obviously "not good enough and not qualified enough" in her opinion. I paraphrase a little, but that's basically what she meant to say.
Rather than stick it out for a pointless fight, I decided I'm done with Korea. I gave my 2 months notice before leaving for vacation.
2 more months of that!!! oh well, after, I think i'll head to hong kong. when I get back to Korea, I'll work on getting a working visa.
so yesterday was okay, we went to the Temple of Heaven and it was blisteringly cold.
Knowing full well that we had a Kung-Fu show to go see and NOT miss like last time, we went straight back home and ate at the hostel. Leah still wasn't feeling well, so she went to sleep. We all got together to see the Kung Fu show, which turned out to be 90% dancing and showy bullshit and 10% real kung fu. Even then, it was Wushu, which is good to watch, i guess.
Anyhow, we decided it's just a big lame-o tourist trap. I could tell the second we went in and saw more white people than chinese people.
we came back and finished the night doing not a whole lot.
Today, I think we're going to the Summer Palace. I hope it's warm there. preferably SUMMER warm, but I doubt that.
So it turns out Leah got food poisoning. And I'm still sneezing and coughing and i still have a runny nose : (
So we ended up postponing our Xi'an trip for when Leah felt better.
Yesterday we did very little since Leah was bedridden all day. We went back to Tianmen Square to see the National Museum, which ended up being under construction : ( so we went someplace to eat, and then after some great difficulty, grabbed a taxi to BeiHai park again to finally see the Pagoda....which was closed off. We were late by 30 minutes. But we took photos near and around the thing.
I should also mention that it was deathly cold out. anyways, we spent over an hour trying to get a taxi from that area, finally caught a taxi that didn't turn us down or already had someone in it, and got back, exhausted.
Leah was feeling a little better, we ordered food at the Hostel and stayed in for the night.
Today, We decided that Xi'an will have to wait, because of the hassle and the headache of findinf cheap enough flights or train tickets. We settled on going another time. I think I'll go later in the year when the weather is nicer and much warmer.
Today we made reservations to see a Kung-Fu show, went and got myself some chinese medicine and went to the Antique Market in Panjieyuan. I bought some old illustrated short stories from the 80s and Gavin bought some limited edition Mao playing cards, a tea pot, some other stuff and me and him paid a lady to inscribe our chinese names into stamps for us. She's using the old writing, so it should look really pretty.
While waiting, we went to eat congee and afterwards, came back to find the market closed. Apparently the woman waited for us to come back but had to close her stall and she didn't have the key. we'll have to get our stamps another day.
Bad luck struck again when we tried in vain AGAIN to get a taxi. it took us so long to find one and finally when we did, there was some confusion, we left Leah and Brittney on the road and wasted even more time trying to grab them and get them into our taxi. We had about 10 minutes to get back to the Hostel to get picked up to go to the Kung-Fu show.
Did I mention it was RUSH HOUR?!? suffice to say, an hour later we were nowhere near home and I had to go to the washroom. We found a subway station, ditched the cab, took that, and ran back to our Hostel. By this time we had verifiably missed the show. We moved our reservations to tomorrow, and are now having dinner again at the hostel.
THE END! the saga of bad planning and horrible taxis continues!
Last night, we ended up meeting up with the whole gang (Myself, Gavin, Leah, Brittney, Meagan and Zach who tach in China and Fabian and (i'm positive now that her name is) Helene. We went to the Silk Market, which is basically a big building full of chinese people who speak everything from mandarin to portugese fluently and will grab you and ask you to buy their stuff.
we spent about an hour there, I finally tracked down Craig's christmas present, and then we went out for....MEXICAN? O_o
There, we met up with Zach and Meagan's other friends: Meagan, Meagan's mom, and uhh...Asif? I forget his name. Anyhow, they all went to Drake U together.
After a disorienting mexican dinner, we ended up on the bar street in Beijing and to a bar called Shooters. It was full of what Zach called BCDs. Bad Chinese Dancers. and he was SO right. We had some shots and it was an all around good time.
So yesterday, instead of going to the great wall with the dodgy looking people, we went bike riding around the Hou Tong (i think that's its name) area. Anyhow, it was both scary and fun. A bike rental guy offered to watch our bikes outside Bei Hai park and we went in for a walk.
Later that night, we met this amazing woman named Thelma Bauer who has been living in and out of China for 35 years, she currently is a professor in Mongolia, her ex-husband is now the chief something officer of Taiwan and she was just SO smart and had SO much to say. We also met two other travelers who teach in another city in China and come here to Beijing once a month to do some shopping. We went out for hot pot with them that night.
Today, we woke up bright and early and took the nice and safe tour which included breakfast and lunch to the Great Wall. We met a couple too who went with us. I think their names were Fabian and Elaine or Helene He's from Austria, she's from Paris. It was tons of fun, we walked up the stairs to the wall, and took lots of pretty photos, near the end of our trip, it started to snow which made things even more beautiful. We took the closed cable car back down and went for lunch at a restaurant in the area.
The van took us back to the hostel, and I think tonight, we're planning on seeing a Martial Arts show. *crosses fingers* we'll see how things go. I think Fabian and the other girl are going to join us.
So I went to Beijing for the Christmas break. I figured I'd just retroactively post my emails I sent home here.
Hello and Merry Christmas!
It is currently 6:46 pm in Beijing. I am staying at a Hostel called Red Lantern House which is close to (i think it's called) BeiHai Park.
We arrived safely this afternoon, took a shuttle bus and managed to grab a taxi and are now safely settled. The hostel is providing us with free breakfast every morning and has cheap internet from 7am to 1am every day. So hopefully I can let you guys know my plans as they happen.
So far, we will be staying here until the 30th of December when we take a train to go to Xi'an. We wiull stay in Xi'an for two days and then come back here.
Aunt-Yu, I have your phone number and it sounds pretty cheap to make local calls, I can try and contact you tomorrow. We are thinking about going to the Great Wall soon, the Hostel here is offering to take us there and back and provide breakfast and lunch for 400 RMB. I forget which of the 3 parts of the wall this is, but that is the one we were thinking of going to. I was wondering if this price sounds reasonable to you or if you know of any cheaper alternatives?
Anyhow, there is a party in the main building of our hostel tonight and it starts soon, so we're off to go to that. That's it for now! love you all! BYEEE!!!!