Today started off with a frightening event. My bus for the tour was supposed to pick me up at 7:50 and had called to tell me to come down so when I went down the first bus I saw was this rinky dink yellow one and I hopped on thinking this was my bus. 5 minutes later, my phone rings and I know instantly that I was on the wrong bus and that these people next to me were locals. Luckily, the lady next to me spoke enough English to shout out that I wanted to get off right this second. I threw 2 RMB at the driver and frantically ran in the reverse direction. Drowning in fear and anxiety, I got a hold of MooMoo who directed me back to her place and finally found my actual bus. This time there was the English speaking tour guide and a van full of non Chinese people. How embarrassing and sweaty....lesson learned: do a better job of checking the car I get into.
I settled into the bus after my tour guide, Eva, showed her massive disappointment for my being Chinese and not being able to speak Mandarin. Good times. Why is it that mandarin speakers automatically assume as a Chinese person I know mandarin? If only Cantonese was the national language. Haha We headed first to the Ming Tombs where the 13 Emperors of the Ming Dynasty are buried. There are only 3 open to the public and we visited the Dingling Tomb (sounds like what we call Jason sometimes haha). It is the tomb of the last Ming dynasty emperor, Zhu Yijun or Emperor Wanli. He rule for 48 years, the longest period in the Ming era. It is also the only tomb with 2 empresses because the first empress never bore children and the emperor fell in love with a maid who bore him the next future emperor. We went down 27km into the underground palace which was impressive considering the entire palace was made of stone and marble 300 years ago.
We left the tombs for a jade factory but this time I actually got to see them carve it. It's funny going to these places with non-Chinese people because it seems to be a very different atmosphere. No one bought anything but we weren't trapped in a room like the previous tour. I hope the tour guide didn't have a quota to meet. We ate lunch and it seems that my tour group hadn't had a lot of experience with different Chinese food because the family from Dallas loved all the food and the German family hated it. The food was neither bad nor good. Definitely an upgrade from jinzhaigou though.
Finally, we headed to the main attraction, the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. We paid 80¥ for a chair lift ride and return ticket. I rode with the Dallas family member who was afraid of heights. I was worried when we got off we would pull a Mel and just faceplant but it actually slowed enough to walk to the side. The Great Wall is amazing. The manpower it took to build this wall is insane. It just spans and spans and I'm sure on a less polluted day you could see it run for miles. The steps on the Great Wall are extremely steep and it was exhausting climbing them. Coming down from them was even worse. You could easily slip and break your head. So it was slow and steady all the way through the 3 towers we were able to walk to. I don't know how soldiers ran along this wall warning each other of the Huns or other things. Maybe I just need to exercise more haha. The Dallas family was nice enough to take pictures of me and vice versa. We reached the end and headed back to TOBOGGAN down the Great Wall! The man at the top of the slide decided to still my Kitkat from my backpack and eat it. So strange but I let him have eat it. The ride itself was SO FUN. I thought it would be terrifying but The toboggans don't let you go incredibly fast. It was really exhilarating and the breeze was so pleasant after heating up from the hike. I can see why Olympians love doing the luge, skeleton, and bobsled. I definitely wanted to go again.
We saw the water cube and bird's best in the distance on our car ride to Dr. Tea's. The tour guide said there'd be no doctor inside an all I could think was technically I'm 3/4 of one! Haha. Anyways the lychee black tea was the best flavor. But let this be a warning that you never take Colombians to a tea house. Haha not a successful sales day for anyone.
I headed back to Moo's and I got the full Beijing experience tonight. We decided to bike over to Dayali to get some delicious Peking duck. My legs aren't quite long enough to brake gracefully or easily on her bike considering the inches she has on me but I managed to ride the 1km away. We ordered a whole duck in true fatty fashion and I learned how much moo's can eat. I tried to keep up and did a pretty decent job but regretted it afterwards. The Peking duck here is normally served with the meat and ours came with egg roll wrappers. It was delicious but I don't feel like it was any more special then in the states. The side dishes we ate were really good and we basically killed most of it by the time the duck came. We had a spinach dish, a tofu and black fungus dish, and a fried potato dish. We killed almost all of it including the WHOLE DUCK. All in all a very good meal despite feeling like a 50 ton pig.
We then headed to Carrefour market on our bikes. This is where the real fun started. Moos normally bikes at triple the speed and I haven't rode a bike in years so I was just trying not to die in the streets of Beijing. She turned to cross a street but I was still some feet behind her. Thinking I could catch up and make up the difference I attempted to turn right with the green crosswalk sign in my favor but it being Beijing a car decide to turn right and my incompetency did not help me maneuver around it so my life flashed before my eyes and I tried to figure out what to do. I decided I would try to stop and avoid the car but instead my short legs didn't allow for a quick brake. I braced myself for the impact imagining myself flipping onto the hood of the car. BANG! I hit the side of the car. But luckily came out relatively unscathed minus losing my pride and scrambling some of the leftovers in my bike basket. True Beijing experience I am told by moos after she realized that I had been hit at all. She says the car hit me not the other way around. I value my life too much to bike anymore in Beijing. Anyways we made it to Carrefour and I bought a ton of snacks and goodies to bing back. pretty worth it I think. I survive the bike ride back and I thank moos for the experience whole heartedly. Haha I still find it pretty hilarious that I ran into a car with a bike.
I think my trip has been filled with enough of my incredible stupidity. At least, it's kept me entertained and learning from life. Last day tomorrow in Beijing. Both sad and happy about this. Glad I've gotten to hang out with moos though!
(Apparently blogs are illegal in china and Beijing is the strictest so no photos until I'm back in the states)
Mutianyu section of the Great Wall
Dayali Peking Duck
Bicycle of death.