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Friday, April 1, 2011

Back to the Motherland: Beijing, Part I

I spent a total of 3 weeks in China and 2 weeks in Hong Kong. Enping is pretty limited and laid back. My parents wanted me to explore a little more of China and booked a trip to the country's capital, Beijing.  I'll admit that I went through a melt down period as soon as I arrived in China.  It is drastically different from Hong Kong, and it felt nothing like the comforts of home in Delaware.  I seriously cried outside of the travel agency because I was experiencing a bad case of being totally home sick.  My dad comforted me and convinced me that it would just take me more time to adjust.  In the end it worked out, and off I went to Beijing with my dad.  My mother stayed back, which was probably best for my sanity.

The trip was super cheap -- $300 round trip, including admission to attractions, hotel, and food.  Of course I didn't exactly feel safe flying on a Chinese airline, and traveling to the airport was crazy dangerous.  Have you ever seen the highway system in China?  It is insane!  No one follows any sort of traffic rules, and everyone drives with their high beams on because there are no lamp posts along the highway.  The hotel was not very pleasant either, and I should have been worried about bed bugs.  The location was super far from everything, and it wasn't exactly in the safest part of town.

Hello, tour guide who only spoke in Mandarin and was truly hated by everyone in our group.  Poor guy.

The ever so crowded Tiananmen Square in the morning.  Everyone posed to take pictures.

First up, we went to Tiananmen Square early in  the morning.  It is a HUGE tourist attraction and extremely crowded.  Actually, everywhere we went was super crowded.  We traveled with our tour group, and I was not a fan of our leader.  The entire tour was in Mandarin, and I understood nothing.  No worries.  My dad didn't understand anything either (oddly enough he is fluent in Canto, Portuguese, and English).  Of course everyone else in this country knows Mandarin.  We were just the unfortunate ones.  I find it funny that my dad used English to communicate when he needed to.  Haha.  We were in the same boat.  If we had paid more money and traveled from Hong Kong, then we would have had the advantages of a Cantonese speaking tour guide.  I also saw that their food and lodging was much nicer.  Next time I will know to book and travel from Hong Kong.

My dad and I often found ourselves extremely bored when we weren't getting lost in the huge crowds.  So we would take pictures for fun and ignore everything around us.  I'm super dorky, and my dad was along for the ride.  Btw, he was 78 at the time.  Yeah my dad is pretty awesome for dealing with his daughter who will never grow up.  He also took me to Disneyland.  Haha.  Too cool!

Sometimes I felt like I was trapped in a sea of Chinese people.  With increase wealth, tourism has been booming among Chinese people.  The travel accommodations are super cheap, and people like to spend a lot of money on souvenirs.  Chinese people are making money and putting it back in the economy by traveling.  Plus it's a super bonus to be able to travel to all of these areas that were not within reach decades ago.

Walking, getting lost, and being surrounded by people made us super tired.

Wish I could tell you where I was, but I can't. :(

This is a very touristy market, which sold funky street food.  Roaches, candied who knows what, and little tiny seahorses.  I was not a fan.

We often were left to wander on our own for an hour or two before meeting back with the group.  It was relaxing to sight see at our own pace.  The city of Beijing is definitely booming and almost resembles the big cities in the United States.  I definitely prefer the buzzing city atmosphere of Hong Kong, and Beijing didn't impress me as much as I thought it would.

We were left to fend for ourself for a few of the meals during the week, and this gave us the opportunity to eat food that wasn't bland or gross.  Yay!

That night we were left to explore the area where our hotel was situated.  We made friends with a few fellow travelers and walked around the street trying to find a decent place to eat.  We found a hotel that served decent food, and our tummies were happy.  I had my very first authentic Peking duck, and it was pretty yummy.  The walk back to our hotel was not so great, but we made it back safely.  

One day down, a few more to go!

Back to the Motherland: Leaving on a Jet Plane
Back to the Motherland: Arriving in Hong Kong
Back to the Motherland: Adventures in Hong Kong
Back to the Motherland: Going Back to My Roots, Part I
Back to the Motherland: Going Back to My Roots, Part II
Back to the Motherland: Exploring Enping


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