When Will came to China-Highlights

Starting with the most epic weather ever known in Beijing for the Great Wall of China. A life long dream of mine I can now say is ticked off the bucket list.

Enjoying Peking duck in the place it originated.

Trying to get the audio guide to work in the Forbidden City.

Experiencing the hustle and bustle of the Muslim quarter street food markets in Xi’an.

Getting soaked to the skin while checking out a despotic emperor’s desire to rule the afterlife with pottery. 

Not sleeping on the sleeper train…

Finally getting some decent street food in Chongqing. 

Changing our plan last minute and going on a hard sleeper train which turned out to be a better night sleep than the soft sleeper!

Climbing an inordinate amount of steps through the mist in Zhangjiajie mountains. 

Sleeping overnight in an airport for the first time.

Shown all sides Hong Kong has to offer with Becky and Ed.

Finally arriving in Haikou.

What a whirlwind couple of weeks! 


Forbidden City

Actually got up in time for breakfast this morning, wanted to try the Chinese version of an English breakfast, basically the same but no baked beans.

Came back up to the room to get dressed and go to the Forbidden City, ended up passing out. The Great Wall ruined us!

We did eventually surface again and took the subway to Tian’ānmén Square. Somehow ended up in an unmoving queue for what, we never found out. 

Consulting the apple map we realized where we needed to be, walking up a road which isn’t sign posted at all, but is lined with people selling souvenirs, so based on this we guessed we were in the right place!

Eventually finding the entrance and ticket office we entered into the Forbidden City.

We splashed out and paid for audio guides, ¥40 each, which worked intermittently, changing languages and stopping halfway through its spiel about the location.

From visiting temples in Taiwan, and some on Hainan, I’m used to being able to go in and take photos. Here, they block off the front entrance where you would be able to take the best photos, so everyone scrambles to take photos from the side doors.

Will has a fascination with builders…

Finally got a look in one of the temples! 

Will once again stopping to watch someone as they work at restoring one of the features.

Took a selfie in front of these two intertwined trees and just after the audio guide stated it was the lovers’ trees. Oops! 

Little statues of various beasts to protect the temple (and to keep the roof tiles from falling off!)

These huge copper or bronze vats were for filling with water back in the day. Now they are used to keep fools like us entertained.

After all this walking around the forbidden city we were knackered and had worked up an appetite. We head back on the subway, realized we had paid more than needed on the way, due to being told by the receptionist in the hostel the journey would cost ¥6 each, but it actually should have cost ¥3.

As we head back to the hostel, Will wanted to stop in a supermarket to get some beer and munchies. He asked if I wanted anything, I told him to surprise me. He comes back with a bag of goodies, I ask him what he bought, he says ‘supplies!’ 

Will fancied dumplings, and we found a place close to our hostel that did dumplings and kung pao chicken. Done! 

Early night as we have to be up early to get our flight to Xi’an.

Great Wall

So, apart from the heating being stuck on full blast in our room, beetles crawling all over Will’s bed and someone with the noisiest flip flops ever walking up and down the corridor outside the room repeatedly, we slept ok. 

Breakfast of a questionable chicken sandwich which we had to choose last night (I think the sandwiches had been in the fridge for a few days before we got there).

All aboard the bus to Jinshanling. Little did we know what was in store…

A brisk walk to actually get to the wall followed closely by Mongolian ladies trying to sell their wares. 
There was snow in the shade of the mountains.

I’m so not good at walking up stuff. Straight and down is fine, up is another story. So I was pretty breathless…and then I got to the top…

Even more breathless from the views.

Literally bursting with excitement that I was actually on the Great Wall of China! 

On one side, China. On the other Mongolia. Once we were on the wall I realized we had walked up from the Mongolian side. So technically, we’ve also been to Mongolia too now!

We chose Jinshangling as it was noted to be the least touristy. It was slightly more expensive but definitely worth it. Our group was the only group on the wall and Will and I raced ahead (more Will setting the pace and me desperately trying to keep up!)

Will tried impressng the female tour guide by showing her pictures of his building skills.

I think she was suitably impressed. 

Some of the stairs we had to walk up were incredibly steep. 

Will got all contemplative.

Will lived his dream of pretending to build the wall! 

We walked 10km from Shalingkou Pass to the Five Window Tower where we then followed a path back into Mongolia.

After 10km of walking I was ready for a comfort break, I was shown the facilities by a guy playing snooker. 
The ‘restroom’ consisted of a container over a hole in the ground. 

After that experience we were taken to a nearby restaurant (still in Mongolia) and enjoyed some Chinese food and a beer.

All tired and full we piled back onto the bus, and everyone promptly fell asleep, a situation I took advantage of.


Look who came to China!

With all the flying and waiting around, first day in Beijing is a chill out and get our bearings day.

Found a cafe that actually did mint tea (doesn’t exist on Hainan!) and planned our route around China, attempting to capture all the main highlights of the country.

Stopped for some snacks in the supermarket and found a HUGE can of beer! We’re easily impressed.

Perhaps my biggest whinge about living in China was the lack of decent chocolate, so I did put in a request, and Will delivered…

After a binge on all the chocolate we could manage we did leave a little bit of room for the famous Peking duck.

We were told it would be an hour wait for our duck, didn’t bother us as we were still discussing (and adding to) all the places we want to try and see while we are here.

It was so worth it. 

Early night….Great things tomorrow….

Beijing Bound

Better unpack from the last trip!

And I want to learn ukulele.

And I want to go for lunch with friends.

And I need to buy some food.

And I need to pack up my stuff that needs to go home.

And I want to sleep.

And I need to learn some more Chinese.

And I need to book my flights for my adventures after China.

How did I ever find time to work?