Continued from Beijing Day 2.
Since Google doesn’t really work here in China, there are very few businesses mapped in Google Maps, and we’ve been unable to find other useful maps of any kind here. Our hotel staff is worthless in terms of offerings up information of any kind. What’s good to eat around here? Don’t know. How do we hire a car? Don’t know. Is there a laundromat around here? Don’t know. If you look at the hotel reviews on Tripadvisor, all the English speakers complain about the lack of English skills for the staff of many hotels here in China. Well, I can assure you that even if you can communicate with them perfectly, they’ll still be unable to offer up the most simple information of any kind. The hospitality industry here in China is the exact opposite of Vietnam.
There are several sections of the Great Wall that could be visited near Beijing, but the most convenient location is also the most crowded with tourist groups. So instead we chose to visit Mutianyu, which is farther away and would take multiple transfers by bus or whatnot and take a long time. We chose to take a private car there to save time…of course the hotel staff did not know how to book one for us. So, we visited the small tourist office close to our hotel and were able to finally book a car for tomorrow. It’s pricy at 800 yuan, so $128. Ouch. We could have maybe gotten a car off of Beijing’s classifieds for around 600 yuan, but I didn’t feel safe getting into a stranger’s car here in China. Anyhow, car will pick us up tomorrow morning at the hotel. Glad that’s done.
Then we needed to do laundry…and this has been a headache since we’ve gotten to Beijing. We asked several of the hotel staff, and none of them knew where we could get laundry done. COME ON, YOU ARE A FUCKING HOTEL!!! One lady told us directions that ended up being the wrong way. Seriously, you work in a hotel, and no one knows where there’s a laundromat?? Finally, the lady in the tour office where we booked the car told us of a laundromat nearby.
Now, this is where it gets twice as painful. Since we can’t find information of any kind in China, this is our only realistic laundry option. This laundry charges by the piece and our laundry ended up being 508 yuan….Yes, $81 dollars for fucking laundry…We were completely out of clothes, and completely out of options, so we bent over and took it. UGH!!!! Damn you China for making things so difficult!!! This is something that should have cost less than $10 and 2 hours of our time at a self laundromat….if we could find one….which we can’t here in China.
Many of the people have luggage with them, preparing to leave the city for the weekend. We found out later that this weekend is a national holiday and that it’s a 3 days weekend, hence the heavy traffic.
After two transfers and many stops later, we’ve made it back above ground. Beijing is so big and so sprawled out, even with a very efficient subway system, everything still takes forever. It literally took us more than 45 minutes to get here by subway from our hotel.
I sat here and waited for RL while she walked around and took photos of The Imperial Vault of Heaven. It doesn’t seem like it, but we’ve been walking all day today. Up and down the subway, up and down the stairs for all the transfers, and over the massive grounds here, we’ve walked around A LOT.
Since the temple is closed, we decided to walk through the Hutong nearby. These are the traditional neighborhoods of Beijing and they used to cover much of the city. Then China became richer and modernization meant that most of these were razed to make room for taller buildings.
We ended up not staying in long at our hotel. Hunger called.
UGHHH, so not up for walking more. We wanted to just eat at some place around our hotel, but nothing looked good. We started craving sushi, and the only way to get sushi is to visit the malls, and malls can only be reached via subway and more walking…
To be continued at Beijing Day 4.