Day 32 and Technically Day 33: Traveling to Beijing, Wondrous Sightseeing, and then Getting Kicked Out of Our Hotel
As I left off in my previous post, call was at midnight. We were taking a bus overnight to Beijing. We were doing this so that we would get there in the early morning and have all day to sight see. If we took a flight, we would waste half a day getting there. So the bus it was. We were told it would be a 6 hour trip.
Four pit stops at the grossest toilets ever and TEN HOURS LATER, we arrive at our hotel in Beijing. Yes, you read that right. We were told 6, and it was actually 10. I do not understand how that miscommunication happened. In case you didn’t know, trying to sleep on a bus, even a nice charter one with reclining seats, is more uncomfortable than sleeping on an airplane, imo. So we barely slept. Dozed is more accurate.
But we arrived! We checked in, were told our rooms may not be clean because they weren’t ready for us yet (wth?), and had 45 minutes before we had to be back on the bus for sightseeing. I took a quick shower. We were starving. We had missed breakfast because well, we arrived at 10:30 instead of 6. So back on the bus we go, heading to the Great Wall! It was an hour bus ride.
P.S. I never want to ride in a bus again. EVER.
But, we were very thankful to have this bus for the whole day to take around sightseeing. Seriously, it was really great to not worry about transportation from place to place.
We started spotting the Great Wall about 45 minutes later. It was very exciting!
And we arrived and there’s so many pictures that I’m doing to direct you to my Great Wall set on Flickr. You can browse to your heart’s content
It was an amazing experience. A very good workout too!!!
Then back on the bus we go, heading back into the city for the Forbidden City. With afternoon traffic it took us 2 hours to get back. Oy. Here is my Flickr set of Random Sights Along the Way. Many beautiful structures that I have no information on what they were lol.
Then we arrive at the Forbidden City, but it was 4:15 and they close at 4. I was super bummed. I really wanted to walk around. But we knew it was a whirlwind sightseeing day, and so just had to be thankful for what we could see. Here are the pictures we snapped from the outside (sadly looking in).
After that, it was back on the bus and head to the Silk Market. Not a ton of pics from there, so I’ll just show them on here.
First of all, we were STARVING! After 31 days of Chinese food, Subway never looked (or tasted) so good.
I was so busy and distracted shopping that I didn’t even think to take pictures of the actual market. Bummer. It was really neat. Despite what you may think when you hear the word “market”, it’s not an outdoor one. It’s all indoors, with five floors, escalators, and shops all along. Basically like a mall. I did manage to snap one picture …
We spent hours in there, and it still wasn’t enough to look at/buy everything I just had to have ;) We were supposed to meet back at the bus at 9:30pm.
Here we are, exhausted but happy.
We head back to the hotel. Dinner was on our own, so we headed over to a noodle place down the street. They spoke no English, and we spoke no Chinese, so it was interesting trying to order vegetarian. Especially when there concept of vegetarian is just “oh you want so vegetables in this lovely meat dish”. They brought us out a meat dish, and we somehow then were able to communicate that we didn’t want meat. They were so nice and brought us out something else, no charge. We’re pretty sure it still had meat stock or some meat in it, but we were sooo exhausted we didn’t care. And we weren’t going to make a fuss again and give Americans a bad rep.
So we slurped up our noodles.
Then we went back to the hotel with the intent of showering and passing out for a few hours. We had to be in the lobby at 5am for the airport. We. Were. So. Exhausted. But as we were going to our room, we were told that the hotel was asking all of us to leave because of our visas. Whaaaa? Yeah, our visas clearly state that they are good for 30 days, but we were on day 32. The hotels check these things. So we sadly gave up on our hopes for a shower and sleep, and instead packed up our bags (which were barely unpacked anyway). It took a couple of hours to round everyone up, and get all 100+ bags to the lobby.
Then we had to just sit around and wait. I think for the bus to take us to the airport. I think it was about 11:30 pm by now. Well, this could have turned into a huge bitch fest. But instead it turned into such a fun party. Everyone just made a run to the convenient store, bought beverages of choice, and sat around having a great time.
Everyone’s attitude just turned what could of been a stressful situation into such a fun, relaxing, great end to our adventures.
The bus finally arrived, and took us to the airport (about a 45 minute drive). I think it was about 1:30am by now?? I was so, utterly, beyond exhausted that even the cold, tile floor looked inviting. And I wasn’t the only one who thought so.
I guess Phil snuck pics while I was passed out.
And that’s what we did. We’re technically on Day 33 now. We just slept there until we could check in for our flight. About 6am I think. As you know by now, that takes awhile. Our flight was for 8am. But we were not bound for home yet. It was 3 hour flight to Hong Kong. I barely remember it. I was pretty much like this the whole time.
Then we transfered flights at Hong Kong airport. Not really a layover. Just had to get off, go through security (again) and then wait to board our next flight to L.A
Then we board and our finally on our way home!
Errr, to LA, that is. We had a 9 hour layover. Ugh. So we went to the beach.
We got pizza and rootbeer, ate it on the beach, took a nap, then went back to the airport to finally fly home.
And that, folks, was the Great American Dance Tour.