The second day of my Beijing trip started with a 6:00 wake-up call and breakfast at the downstairs buffet. Since Oriental Bay is an international hotel, it had both Western and Chinese breakfast foods.
Right after breakfast we went to the famous underground tomb of a famous emperor.
Then we went to a jade factory, where they sold lots of pretty, shiny, (mostly) green things.
And then lunch, at another fancy restaurant. Lots of dishes (most of them veggies), way more than I could photograph. So here are just some of them:
And then my DSLR died. Totally went kbbbphht on me. Battery was gone. Done. Depleted. Juiceless. And me, being the smart, prepared blogger that I am, forgot to bring the charger. So the rest of the China photos were taken with my sister’s point-and-shoot.
Which is just great, because the next stop literally RIGHT AFTER lunch was the Great Wall of the China. I just have the best timing, don’t I. Ah, well.
It was kind of an anticlimatic experience. Don’t get me wrong, the view was great and there’s a reason it’s one of the wonders of the world. But as you keep going climbing, your quads are starting to burn and you think, “JUST A LITTLE. BIT. MORE. UNTIL THE TOPP!” Then you get to the top, and you realize it’s actually not the top because the wall goes on for another couple thousands of miles. You’re just and you’re huffing and puffing, thinking that as you go higher the view will get better. But it just gets foggier and foggier until you look around and think, “Wow. Everything’s so white. It’ like… I’m looking at a blank piece of paper…” So then you just decide to go back down. Which is exactly what me and my family did. We went the furthest out of anyone in our tour group though. Woot!
Don’t let anyone tell you how glorious and magnificent the Great Wall is. Climbing it is a pain in the butt (literally), and the entire place reeks of piss and crap because there aren’t any bathrooms up there and people decide to go wherever they want. It’s actually pretty gross. But it was definitely an experience worth doing and remembering. Now I can go around saying I CLIMBED THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA!
Feeling accomplished and exhausted at the same time, we got on the bus and were taken to a parking lot where some shuttles took us to a dam in the mountains.
In the picture above, you can see the dam on the very left side of the picture. You take the dragon-scalator above the dam where there are boats awaiting to be filled with tourists.
We got on the boats and were taken for a boat ride all around the meandering, mountain lakeish river thing.
And took pictures of ourselves wearing ponchos. ‘Cuz we’re just that cool.
When we got off, you could see that the ski lift stretched all the way up to the top of the mountains. We didn’t get to ride it though.
Immediately following our boat ride was dinner, which was Chinese-style shabu shabu.
In the picture above our just the vegetables and the pots used for shabu-shabu. Later, more meat (beef and lamb) and noodles came out, along with a buttload of side dishes. But I couldn’t take pictures of them because everyone devoured it ravenously.
The broth had an interesting flavor, to say the least. After a little bit the taste got slightly off-putting, so everyone added kimchi to their pot. We’re such Koreans.
After dinner, the entire tour group was taken to the hotel to rest up for the next day. But my family (being the adventurers that we are) decided to go to the outdoor market. It was a frightening experience.
Just some of the food(?) for sale:
After being thoroughly fascinated and grossed-out by the food vendors, we decided to head for the mall right across the street. This mall literally takes up an entire BLOCK by itself.
I don’t know if you can tell from how it looks on the outside, but the inside of the DongAn Department Store is maaad nice. It’s cleaner and brighter than any mall in the U.S., and most of the stores are popular chains overseas – Uniqlo, Zara, H&M, Birkenstock, Nike, etc… We browsed through the parts of the mall, but it was so big we couldn’t get to the entire thing. There was a section selling traditional Chinese products where I got some green tea and Chinese candies:
After finally managing to snag a taxi driver, we were somehow able to convey that we wanted to go to the Oriental Bay Hotel; I tottered up to my hotel room and passed out after barely managing to shower and change.
Whew. And that’s what happened on my 2nd day in Beijing.