Continued from Beijing Day 4.
After that strenuous day of hiking the Great Wall yesterday, we decided to just chill and relax today in Beijing. It’s rare for us stay in one place for so many days, so it’s nice to finally be able to take a day off.
I spent the afternoon napping, and RL spent the afternoon watching a movie…a movie that I was supposed to watch with her. Oops.
By late afternoon, we were ready to head out. We walked out to the hotel lobby, and found out that it’s just pouring rain outside. We didn’t know since we have a windowless room. I guess we’ll have to wait out this rain.
Holy shit!! We got off at our subway stop and saw this huge line to get through the security scanner. I guess everyone is out and about today since it’s a holiday this weekend. Speaking of subway security, they’ve got metal detectors and luggage scanners at all the stops. They even have a specific scanner that scans your liquid to make sure that it’s not a banned substance. What it tests for, and how it tests it, I do not know.
Just to show you how difficult it is for us to get around here in China. This is Bing Maps(Google Maps does not work in China) for the Chinese version. It’s got all the streets and subways marked out, but only some of the businesses and stores, all in Chinese.
Now, this is the English version of Bing Maps. These are all the streets listed for Beijing….pathetic! These are all the streets shown even when fully zoomed in. Why even bother having an English version of the maps if it’s utterly useless? China hates English speakers.
Huangshan Day 1
We are leaving Beijing today. Our flight does not leave until 6:35pm though, so we’ve got all morning to lounge around.
Arrived at a transfer station for the Airport Express train, where we need to buy another ticket for 25 yuan. Again, China is a difficult place to travel, even if you can speak the language. I read online that another ticket on top of the subway fare was needed in order to get to the airport. I asked our hotel front desk to double check. The guy said no. I didn’t believe him. So I asked two different subway personnel, of which, one said yes, and one said no…No one knows anything here in China. They are unable to answer the simplest questions that any traveler would have. Sigh.
Wait, spoke too soon. RL found and bought me a copy of The Economist from the magazine store here inside the airport. This caught me by surprise. The Economist has been regularly critical of China, I am surprised that they are allowed to have circulation here. I am going to keep this copy and compare it to my copy back in Austin to see how much of it is censored.
Ugh, the monolithic suburbs of Beijing, and all the rest of China. This is why sprawl is such a problem in Beijing. You have these apartment towers, but none of the buildings connect, so you end up having useless space in between the buildings.
Now, we wait for a taxi. Stupid taxis have started a cartel, and they all agreed to charge 40 yuan to go into the city from the airport instead of by meter. Fuckers. That’s almost 4 times the meter price.
Well, this being China, there’s always a catch. Our AC didn’t work…I called down stairs and they said that it was broken…I suspect it wasn’t broken, but they didn’t have it turned on because there aren’t too many guests staying here tonight. Our saving grace is that the temperature is relatively cool outside, so we could just open the windows. There are no screens…so I hope mosquitoes won’t fly into our 5th floor window.
To be continued at Huangshan Day 2 Part 1.