The Great Wall?

Wednesday 4 November 2009 Beijing, China

Oops I thought I had a lot of time, but today there were no breakfast personnel until 08:10 and I was supposed to walk out to the “Gu lou dong da jie” rd and catch the bus at 08:30 for today’s sightseeing. I just managed to catch the bus, then we drove to the Ming Tomb, I also learned that the Chinese don’t really say hello to each other they say “Have you eaten?” it seems to be a remnant of the hard times when people were starving?
At the Ming Tomb there was a gate for evil spirits and when you walk through it you were supposed to say “Wo hui lai le” which means “I am coming back”. It was fun; it was the highlight of the day, to see how amused and surprised the Chinese people got when they heard this from a western group of tourists. Then we continued to a jade shop (factory) were they sold a lot of jade in different colors and qualities. We also got our dinner here. Then we travelled to the “The Great Wall” or as some call it “The Great Tomb” since all the dead workers were buried inside of the wall. The Great Wall was a little bit disappointing since no one in our bus wanted to walk up all the way(lazy bunch of people?), so we took a cable car up and down to a very small part of the wall together with thousands of Chinese people, so no clean photo shots here. I got tired of elbowing me forward and went down quite soon were I bought some Great Wall caps for a decent price 20 Yuan each. Then it was time to drive to some alternative medical centre which was promoted by the government. So we had a quick lecture about Chinese herbal medicine. Then we got a foot massage which was very relaxing. Then the Professor of the medical centre came by and all who wished for at brief medical consultation could get it. Of course I took the chance to let him listen to my pulses and give me his opinion, he was right on the spot almost a little bit scary. He also recommended specific herbs for 88 dollar per month; it’s always bizniz in China/;)
Since this was the last stop for this day I asked our guide if he could write me a note in Chinese for my hotel address and then just drop me outside Pizza Hut so I could fulfill my food dream after three weeks of rice eating. Once there I had to point at pictures for my order, no English speaking here! (I paid 96 Yuan for a medium Pan Pizza) Then I tried to get a cab, but they were not interested in me as a customer and some of them just shook their head when they read my note?
Then a Riksha driver tried to get my attention, so I thought he may be my only chance now.
He could actually understand my note and he wanted 50 Yuan to take me there, I said 40 Yuan since the guide told me it would cost about 20 Yuan for a cab. He said ok and I was thinking “what the hell am I doing out here, alone in the night in a city with 16 million people without a map, almost no money and without any Chinese language skills?” But this guy was reliable he just kept going; he even offered me a smoke while I was thinking “Where the hell am I?”
He found the right street, I was so relieved. The crazy thing was that during this day they had actually dug up half of the street, but I could still recognize the crappy buildings. So I just went “home” into my room, opened the pizza box and the last half of my wine. My thought was “I am not leaving this room until tomorrow morning” It was time to enjoy my cold pizza, drink, relax and pack some stuff for tomorrow.

Ragnar Asker
Last active at - from Varberg, Halland County, Sweden

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