Where do I even begin!?
After eight days on a flash trip through China, I got a good taste for an entirely different part of the world. From the moment we took our first ride out of our hotel and saw the Bird’s Nest until we stopped for one last view of the Great Wall at the end of that first day in Beijing, China amazed and amused us left and right.
Luckily, we had the best tour guide! Marco’s knowledge, humor and cultural insight made our experience as if on a magic carpet that transported us to thousand-year old sites where we could run wild with our imagination of cruel emperors, the concubines, and countless warriors ready for battle .
But before I take you through my discovery of China, let me give you an overview of what happened between November 16 and 25.
First I flew into Los Angeles to then catch a China Airlines non-stop flight to Shanghai with 170 other people.
The 14 hours I dreaded quickly passed thanks to the four movies I watched and the soothing naps after some of that complimentary wine 😉
The most exciting part of the flight was seeing the first lights as we flew over Japan. I could not believe Asia was only minutes away!!! We landed in Shanghai and then took a short flight into Beijing. Darkness fell, finally!, after crossing the International Dateline feeling like we had chased the sun for as long as possible. My roommate, Letty and I were ecstatic as we arrived to Beijing so as soon as we settled in our hotel room (and took a few pictures of the luxurious new Crowne Plaza), we hit the sack and recharged for the full day that awaited us in a few hours.
Day 1: Amazing gourmet breakfast in our hotel. The pastries, dried fruit, Chinese yogurt and crepes helped me start the right way. Loaded the buses by 8:30am and we headed straight to the Temple of Heaven. Next was the jade carving factory which had the largest collection of jade that comes from the northeast and Silk Road area of China. After this we saw the Ming Tombs where 13 Ming emperors are buried and then drove to a Cloisonne factory, had lunch and then headed to our most awaited site: The Great Wall!!! We hiked it for two hours, stopping frequently to catch out breath and take in the views.
Day2: We covered the Summer Palace, built at the capricious orders of the Empress “the Dragon Lady”. The rest of the day included the pearl market, rickshaw ride through Huotong, a very old part of Beijing, sharing lunch with locals at their home, the Forbidden City and Tienanmen Square ending our night (at least for most folks) with Peking Duck dinner. My roommate and I later went out looking for a Latin lounge but ended up at some kareoke sharing stories with some guys from Scotland.
Stayed tuned…Next is Suzhou