Friday, May 13, 2011

Tea in Asia: Day 9 - Beijing, China

One year ago today, I went up to the Great Wall of China during my trip to Asia. I don't think it has sunken in yet. I still can't believe it!

We left our hotel after another mediocre breakfast at the hotel and saw this crazy guy. I can’t believe this guy was going to drive that toy on the Beijing’s roads. He must’ve had a death wish.

It took us about two hours to get to the base of the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China, located in the Huairou County near Beijing. As we drove two hours, our tour guide explained that the Mutianyu section is one of the best preserved sections of the Great Wall of China. We got off the bus and then hiked up the steep path and hopped into the cable cars. It was a pretty good work out. My quads were burning before we reached the top.

From the parking lot, the guide told us that we only had three hours to walk around. We only had about an hour to enjoy the sights before we had to make our way back down to the bus. It wasn’t enough time to take it all in. I could’ve spent a whole day there.

The weather was beautiful when we got up. A cooling breeze greeted us as we reached the Great Wall of China. The photo really shows how humid the weather was.


After a short visit to the Great Wall of China, we slowly walked down through the tourist-shop-lined road back to the parking lot. We wasted close to an hour by standing around, waiting for people to finish shopping their way down the road. It was ridiculous! The rest of us could've spent that time up on the Wall. You can imagine how ticked off I was. What made my blood boil was that our guide was rushing us to go to our next destination, which turned out to be a jade market (another tourist-trap btw). Why? I don’t know.

We had a late lunch at the restaurant beside the jade market. It was a very disappointing meal, and you’ll see why. This was a head cheese made with beef.

Slices of ham…

The plate of bok choi was okay.

This was a slaw made of nappa cabbage.

There was a plate of dumplings.

This was my favourite dish of the meal. It was hot and spicy eggplants with peppers and pork. The sauce was so tasty with rice.

A small plate of battered and deep fried shrimps with a spicy salt.

And how could you have Chinese food without…

No, not egg rolls… but you’re close…

Nope… not chicken balls.

I’ll just tell you, cause you’d probably never guess the final dish.

French fries. Mhmm… this was the uh... Chinese food that I was craving…

We spent about two hours at the jade market after lunch. We finally boarded the bus and headed to the Ming Tombs. I was expecting to see the terracotta warriors here for some odd reason. So fail. I guess I needed to clear my head some more. After the Ming Tombs, we were dropped off at a silk market.

I had to sit outside and clear my head. We were forced to waste more time at another tourist trap. Across the shady market, there was this funny sign on the wall of a shopping mall. Really? Come on!

That night, a bunch of our group headed out for dinner again after we got from the Ming Tombs. I didn’t take any pictures, but I remember that the restaurant offered to serve us dog. We politely declined. After dinner, we walked back to the hotel where I passed out for the night.

Read about our Peking duck dinner we had the next day.

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