Beijing Day 1

Continued from Xi’an Day 2 & 3.

Yes!!!! We are leaving this God forsaken city of Xi’an. GOODBYE!!!! Never Again!!!

Look at this giant boulevard here. There’s enough space for 10 plus lanes, except there are really only three. The other space is taken up by an underused bus lane on the edge and rows of useless trees. This adds so much to the sprawl in this city. Shitty city planning!! Not to mention, in order to hail a cab, you need to cross the bus lane and then stand in the middle of the road.

It is so tough to get a taxi here in this city. Finally, one agreed to take us, and this is with him hesitating. It’s not that we are going somewhere remote, we are going to the city center subway station, where he can definitely get a return fare. I don’t get it. Xi’an, you suck.

Ran into random traffic. It’s dead stopped…

We decided to just pay and walk the rest of the way. Our cabbie had to get change from other cabbies.

Walking to the subway station by the bell tower.

10 Yuan store, sort of like $1 stores.

Shitty subway machines that only takes a certain denomination of bills and coins. Xi’an, why are you so difficult.

Lots of stops in order to get to our high speed rail station out of town. The subway station name for the HSR station is different from the HSR station name. Very poor planning. I asked several locals, and even they had no idea whether the two stations were the same or not.

Finally here, and the way finding sucks.

I guess we’d go up here?

Found, with some confusion.

Thousands of years as the culture and the political capitol of China, today it is bankrupt of all culture, beauty, and love. Get us out of here.

The only thing we wanted to eat at this station. How sad, but at the same time, reminds us a little bit of home.

After taking the first few bites of our food, they made an announcement that our train has arrived. I guess we’ll pack everything up and head to our train.

They had put us in seats with an aisle between us. Sigh. We had asked to change earlier, but they were sold out of seats. RL ended up sitting next to a guy who spent half of the trip picking his nose and flicking off the contents. He was also a little bit chubby, so he would spill over to her side as well…You can see that she is not happy in this photo…halfway through the trip, RL got fed up with him and so I had to sit by him instead. I would then spend the remaining hours of the trip constantly drawing a line in the sand between the seats so he didn’t encroach into my space. Fucker!

The high speed train is pretty nice though. This is essentially almost the same train as the Bullet Train in Japan. China bought Bullet Trains from Japan in the beginning of their high speed rail program, then after a while, copied and manufactured Chinese versions of the Japanese trains.

McNuggets!! Nom nom nom!

We passed by a few cities close to Xi’an that were also soulless.

Come on, break 300 km/h!

Ugly cities out here.

It was freezing cold on this train. I was trying to get my jacket from my main bag, but the people who were seated beneath my bag spent almost the first two hours of the trip asleep. Finally, they woke up and I was able to get my jacket. Victory!!!

The food cart to get a drink. The bento boxes here actually look pretty good.

Finally broke 300km/h. I think the fastest we went was around 309 km/h, which is around 192mph. Pretty fast.

Roughly 6 hours later, we’ve reached the outskirts of Beijing.

We’ve reached Beijing!! Our train arrived about 30 minutes late. The Chinese high speed rail doesn’t quite have the punctuality of the Japanese Bullet Trains.

Then into a subway we go.

Beijing actually has a very extensive and useful subway system, unlike Xi’an. Xi’an sucks.

Cool. There are ads projected from the train onto the dark tunnel walls of the subway between stations. This is looking outside the window from inside the car.

Went a few stops, made a transfer, and went a few more stops to finally arrive at our station. Not too bad.

In a very short walk, we’ve reached our hotel. You enter into the hotel through that old school Chinese gate.

Another Jinjiang Inn. Looks very familiar to our previous hotel, this one without windows though.

The rooms are so similar even the same pretty girl as the previous Jinjiang Inn is included, all for $40 a night!!

Unfortunately, we soon found out that this room has one major flaw. The shower area has a leak under the little threshold, so every time we took a shower, the whole bathroom floor would accumulate with a puddle of water. It get more and more annoying as the days went by, but we were too lazy to pack back up and switch rooms.

OK, time to get dinner and get our drink on.

A few subway stops later, we’ve reached Houhai area of Beijing. There are several man made lakes here surrounded by bars and restaurants.

I believe this is a well known Beijing restaurant.

Reached the lake and pedestrian area.

Quite the nice area.

We are starving, now looking for food. It’s almost past 8pm and we haven’t had food since before noon. RL’s Stare-O-Meter is the lowest here in Beijing compared to the rest of China. That’s to be expected though, Beijing being a giant capitol city and all.

We walked and walked, and it went from restaurant bars to just bars. Ugh, I guess we’ll turn back around to find some food. We are both getting very hangry. This always happens. We get hangry, then we get short with each other until we eat.

Finally decided on a place.

RL loves corn and spare rib soup. My mom makes this soup at home too, yum. Liquor prices are pretty expensive over here. RL’s double shot Malibu and Diet costs over $20!!! Eeek. When I mentioned to the bar manager how expensive drinks are here, she mentioned that some of the cheaper places use bootlegged liquor…sad, but I believe her. She did also tell me of a cheap bar area in Beijing where we could visit. Must check that out another night.

We had actually ordered 3 dishes, but the third one never showed up. This has happened to us in China several times now. Somehow, one of our dish just never shows up by the time we are done eating, so we end up cancelling the dish. Of course, the wait staff never apologies for their mistakes. Oh China…you are tough to get along with.

Some propaganda posters sold here.

Found a bar here to do some drinky drinky. All of the chairs here are swings.

Many of the bars in this area have live music with cover bands. This bar had the best cover band. Some of the other ones were pretty terrible.

Ahh, people watching. There are definitely more Westerners here than in Xi’an. We saw several groups of them walking around here. We also saw a group of American students here, perhaps for study abroad programs?

Alright, a few drinks will do. Will save the heavy drinking for another night.

Down into the subway we go.

Dropped by the convenience store right next to our hotel to stock up on snacks. I did not buy this 3 weeks overdue lemon slices.

To be continued at Beijing Day 2.

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