Sunday, April 29, 2012

My adventure to China
 Getting to Beijing I started with a taxi to the bus station at 6:30 am.  Then, I took the bus to Seoul directly to the airport for 4 ½ hours.  My plane ride was 2 hours.  From the airport in Beijing, I took the shuttle bus to the exists and a bus for another 1 ½ hours.  I got off the bus at the subway station and then took the green subway line with a transfer to the red subway line before I finally got off at my destination.  From the subway station, I walked about 5 blocks to my hostel.  I was exhausted to say the least.

In the airport in Beijing I waited for 2 hours in customs.  The lines were crazy and every time I went to a new line, they detained a person and they don’t take them out of line, no they just make everyone wait.  I could hardly take standing in line for so long, I started to shake I wanted to get out so bad and then I though ‘oh I have to stop that or they will detain me’.  When I finally pasted customs of course my backpack was searched before finally being able to head to the shuttle bus that took you to the exits to get out of the place.  While walking to the shuttle bus there was a parade of royalty walking through.  The Prince was sitting in a basket like thing that men where carrying.  The guards held huge knifes and all I could think about was ‘my backpack was searched because I forgot I had a Redbull and these guys get to carry huge swords’  nice.  

 Once I finally made it on to the shuttle bus it took us to the bus station and I got on a bus that took me to the subway station.  Most signs were written in English at the airport and the subway system.  At the bus station, I had my destination written in Chinese.  The subway was so easy to work and everyone uses the subway.  They are packed into those things like sardines.  A train comes about every 15 minutes and everyone is packed to the brim with people.  I was in the train unable to even move my arms or legs, you don’t even have to hold on because you literally can’t move.  The train would make the next stop and there would be about 12 people waiting and I thought for sure they can not possibly fit in this train car.  Oh was I wrong, I have no clue how it happened or how they did it but they pushed their way on like it was life or death. 

After making a transfer to another subway line I got off at the stop my hostel was located at.  I was unclear as to where the hostel was so I called them (they spoke perfect English) and a girl came and  got me.  My hostel was amazing.  Everyone spoke English and were super nice, plus it was about 5 blocks from the subway which I took everywhere in China.  My hostel also had great tours at a discount and booked my train tickets to Xi’an to see the Terracotta Army. 

My first night at the hostel was lonely.  I was alone and everyone seemed to know each other.  So I wondered around Beijing and went to Ghost Street.  It was a street lined in red lanterns with amazing food places.  Though getting food in China was hard.  In Korea there are pictures, so even before I knew Korean I could order food by pointing at a picture but in China there are no pictures and you literally point at some Chinese words and hope for the best.  I did not have the greatest luck and before long I gave up altogether and stuck with street food, 7-11s and fast food restaurants.   
Ghost Street

 My second day I went to the Great Wall through a tour from my Hostel (The Happy Dragon Hostel).  For 130 yen which equals about $35 I got breakfast, picked up at my hostel for a 2 ½ hour bus ride to a section of the Great Wall, admission into the Great Wall, a late lunch and my ride home. 

 I had lost my hat and gloves, which I was devastated about since my mom gave me the gloves before I left and I had just got the hat in Seoul for the Lunar New Year, on the way to China so I needed new ones.  It was so cold in China and all I could think about was it is going to be freezing on the Wall.  I saw a woman selling hats and gloves and ran to her.  My group was leaving to I was just trying to get the stuff fast and was not paying attention to how much I was paying…I ended up buying some cheap had and gloves for 300 yen, I know I am still embarrassed about how bad I got scammed, that is about $65-70. 

 After I got scammed I ran to find my group just in time to get my entrance ticket and to buy a lift ticket.  I was to scared on the lift at first but once you are on the view just takes your breath away.  Here I was taking a lift to the top of the Great Wall…I couldn’t take enough pictures on that lift, the trees, the mountains, and the wall, too amazing.

 As I approached the top, Chinese military was there to assist people getting off and thank goodness for that cause I was useless, they had to grab me and pull my off the side, I had no clue what to do and I was still in awe of the view.

 Once on top, everyone decided which way they would conquer.  One way had more towers (6-27) but the other way had special watchtowers that the other side did not have.  I went by myself towards the special watchtowers since everyone wanted to climb the most and went the other way.  Along the way I met two nice engineers from Arora who where here on business with a guide.  I walked with them to the end of the Wall.  It was, well there are no words, to see the detail and the sheer mass of what was created to long ago by hand… How? is all that goes through your mind while you scale the steps.

 The steps where very uneven and so some steps where as big as my calf while others barely advanced at all.  Once at the end of the Wall I turned around and started walking the long way.  I ended up spending 3 hours on the wall and climbed all 27 watchtowers.  On the wall there where people selling things to eat and drink, there was even a mule.  The view was insane.  The Wall seemed to go on forever in the middle of the forest over mountains.  It was something you could just stare at forever and not notice how long you have been looking at it. 

Al was one of the engineers I met while on the wall from Arora

I spent all that yen on the hat and gloves and due to the crazy amount of stairs I was sweating and didn't even need them.

The mule.

This was one of the few canons left.





the inside of one of the large watchtowers

This was the market place on the base of the Wall.  I got a shirt that said "I climbed the Great Wall of China"  of course.

I asked them to take a picture of me and they asked if they could take a picture with me on their camera so I said yes of course but then you have to take one on mine too.

 As I was about to leave the Wall I was an American couple with a little Chinese girl.  I knew they had just adopted her but of course I had to ask since adopting a .little Chinese girl has always been my dream.  They had just gotten her 2 days before and had to spend 10 days in China before they could take her home.  It was so special.

The toboggan ride down the Wall.
 Taking a lift up the Great Wall was wonderful but my toboggan trip down was even better.  It was the best ride of my life.  It was fast, exciting, and a once in a lifetime experience. 

There was a traffic jam.

 Right outside the Great Wall and the closest food place was a Subway.  I laughed to hard, it was at the top of a hill in the middle of no where. 

 My tour group had lunch at a restaurant past the Subway before we headed home.  It was the best meal I had in China.

1 comment:

  1. I love this!!! You look fantastic! It looks like you have lost weight- all that climbing ;) Miss you and love you!