Beijing Day 5 & Huangshan Day 1

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.

Taking a day off means buying a bento box at the convenience store next door. The convenience store next door has been a life saver. It’s well stocked and opens 24 hours. We are so grateful for it.

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.

Finally, the rain dies down some, we grab our raincoats and off we go.

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.

Ahhhh yes! RE, are you seeing this? Jealous?

May not look it in this photo, but I am very excited.

Soooo good!!

RL feeds me a Din Tai Fung xiao long bao. RE, don’t hate the playa, hate the game. Read and weep!

This sticky rice with meat inside is the food item to eat during this holiday that we are in right now. Fitting that we are having it here.

They had gotten one of my order wrong, so this last wonton dish took forever to come out.

This being Din Tai Fung, they gave us some free desserts because the last dish took so long. Nice. Don’t expect this type of service anywhere else in China though.

Then RL shops at the mall upstairs of the restaurant. Afterwards, she feels guilty about it….but only for 10 minutes.

Time to head back to our hotel. Passed by the clean room that doubles as the dumpling making center of Din Tai Fung. I wish we had one in Austin.

Lots of people in the subway today, even though it’s a Sunday.

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.

Again, bento box from the convenience store next door. Cheap and convenient.

We checked out at noon, which is as late as we could.

Down the subway, and towards the airport.

Hate stairs.

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.

On our airport express train.

This man took out his video recorder, and recorded about half of the ride to the airport. The view had trees and soundproofing walls…I don’t get it.

Arrived at the airport.

This is second busiest airports in the world. Terminal 3 is only second to Dubai(which has the largest terminal in the world) terminal in size.

Neat, a rounded LED screen.

And it is giant.

This is only one terminal, the biggest one, terminal 3.

Some coffee, so we can sit and also get some internet access. We have about 5 hours to go until our flight.

They do not make it easy for you to access internet here. Fuck it, we’ll just do without it.

Top Gear!!

Fortunately, they allowed us to check in 4 hours before our flight. So very soon, we were past security and by the gates.

Lunch spot.

Chinese food cafeteria.


Then, it’s more Top Gear! Cock!

No more Top Gear, so time to read my last issue of the Economist that I brought with me.

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.

Hours later, we are ready to board.

Our flight is nonsmoking, but still came with ashtrays for every seat.

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.

I’d hate to live here.

Golf courses, first time to see some in China.

That drink is actually a yogurt, which seems to be very popular in Beijing.

Getting close.

We’ve arrived in Huangshan City!!

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.

We arrived at our hotel, and it’s very very nice. Nicer than I had expected actually.

This is probably the nicest room that we’ve had on this trip. This is what 300 yuan(50 dollars) gets you in Huangshan.

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.

Gotta stock up on some water and eat some dinner. It’s already 9:30pm, we are tired and just wanted to grab something easy and quick to eat.

Saw this at the convenience store. Did not get this.

This will do for dinner.

Next to KFC, there is a club that is bumping. It’s a Monday night…

The ashtrays at our hotel with the logo embossed in the sand. Time to sleep.

To be continued at Huangshan Day 2 Part 1.

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