Beijing Day 3

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.


The convenience store next to our hotel is pretty awesome, by China standards. It’s even got the sushi triangles that RL loves!


They also sell bento boxes here for cheap!! Since we had to shell out big bucks for car hire and laundry, we decided to save some money on lunch and eat cheaply.


Lunch! It ended up being very good actually.


That was close. Between car hire, laundry, and lunch, we literally cleaned out both of our wallets to where we had less than 10 yuan left. Eeek…


So many stairs! After lunch back in our hotel room we decided to not leave until mid afternoon so the sun wasn’t shining straight up overhead.


It’s Friday mid afternoon and the trains are packed packed packed.


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.


Of course, the one giant group of travelers get in line right before us at the ticket booth.


Made it into the grounds of the Temple of Heaven.


Lots of people gathered here to play Chinese Chess and cards.


Lady dancing by herself to her own boombox.


Let’s go!


Wedding photos.


Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests. This is where the emperor used to pray every year for a good harvest.


Using the panoramic function of the camera.


What lies under the dome. We didn’t have a guide, so couldn’t tell you what anything is about.


Not too many people out here today.


There are several other points of interest to visit here. Everything is situated inside a giant park.


The first patch of green manicured grass that we’ve seen in a long time.


This is the Imperial Vault of Heaven.


Entrance is on the other side.


And this is what’s inside. Looks a little bit like a smaller version of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests. The circular walls here are also supposed to echo.


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.


The Circular Mound Altar.


OK, that’s that. Next!


In order to exit, we walked for what seemed like forever to exit the grounds.


The grounds are nice…but also kind of useless as a park. Only the concrete paths are useable.


The giant ants of China.


Nice, but off limits. I am unsure that Chinese city children know what laying down on green grass feels like.


Into the subway again, and more transfers and more stairs.


Back into more central Beijing.


This is supposed to be the Lama Temple. But since the subway rides took longer than expected, they are already closed when we got here.


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.


A small back alleyway.


Back onto the main road. That’s the Lama Temple that we couldn’t see.


Tired from walking and walking and walking, time for something to drink.


Cool location, built into old hutong buildings.


We are now looking for dinner. Not sure if we’ll find anything great.


There are a lot of restaurants here, but many are expensive and we don’t know which ones are good since it’s too early in the afternoon and none of them have a crowd.


How did people fit into the cabin of this tiny rickshaw?


Taiwan!


People playing ping pong.


We are tired, we didn’t really find anything great to eat, so we’ll just go back to our hotel and eat some snacks first.


That’s not good.


That’s also not good. Two accidents just in one traffic circle. This is the most amount of accidents that we’ve seen since being in China.


Took a long walk, but made it to the subway stop.


Still filled with millions of people.

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…


More walking and more walking.


Errr….that does not look like a good idea.


Again, does not look like a good idea. I think they did succeed though.


The first mall we visited did not have a sushi place, which means more walking to another mall.


Floor 6 is the restaurant floor…but apparently the Chinese see food court as dating.


Found!! So tired of walking.


And now, we wait.


At least they offered us some watermelons while we waited.


Yes yes yes!!! Sushi!!!! Both of us can’t wait until we get to Japan. There we will eat so much amazing sushi!!


You get the idea. We ate sushi for less than half the price of our laundry. How sad.


Back to our hotel, but that means more walking, more stairs and more subways. Tired of all those things today.

To be continued at Beijing Day 4.

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