Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Rest...

So I have kind my blog unattended for a few days, well actually the whole rest of my trip, but heres the highlights of the rest of the trip…

After my slightly scary experience at the silk market on my first day in Beijing, today Dad organised for Zhang Wei (his driver) to take me to a different market called “ya show” one where they can’t pull or push you and if they do they get reported to the market authority. Once we arrived I thought that Zhang Wei would just stay with the car or go do something else, but to my surprise he came with me. It was really good to practice my Chinese with him. I feel like my Chinese is getting better so hopefully it will continue to get better.

In the Afternoon I decided to go exploring and try and find a little market just past a department store called Lan Dao that mum had told me about. On the way to the market I got a little bit lost so I had to ring mum all the way in Australia to get directions, but eventually I found it, and it was also pleased to find that the market had a great DVD shop.

Today Dad and I started the day with a walk to a fancy new department store where we went to my new favourite bakery “Paris Baguette” and had some breakfast, I had a cup of “hong cha” or English breakfast tea with my breakfast but when I asked for some milk for my tea they looked at me like I was an idiot and then gave me these little tiny milks for my tea.

After our walk Dad went to dinner with some of his work friends. One of Dad’s mates cooked us an amazing dinner which started with an entrée of king prawns and then a lovely main of baked salmon, it tasted so great, seriously I was a little bit worried about it all but it was fantastic. However I had never shelled a prawn before (hence why it was no.24 on my list) but because I was at some else’s home and I didn’t want to embarrass my Dad I had to just do it, so with one careful I on Dad I managed to shell my first, second and third prawns.

Today I went to church with Dad, on the way I had to defend myself in the car because now I could understand what Dad was saying about me to Zhang Wei (one week in Beijing has definitely done me well). I actually enjoyed going to Dad’s church a lot more than I thought I would, I knew it was a little more traditional then I was used to but I actually really enjoyed it was nice to have something familiar after a week in such an unfamiliar place.

After church Dad and I went on one of his famous Sunday walks, we walked all the way to a lake called Hou hai and then to Tian A Men square and then home again, stopping at a Dumpling restaurant for tea, in total we walked 27km…which just in case you were wondering is a really long way.

DAY 10
Today I was on my own, well dad was just a work, but it was up to me to entertain myself for the day, so I decided to go back to the little market past lan dao that mum had told me about and have lunch at the Paris baguette and read. It was very relaxing and lovely. So after a shop I walked home and went to the gym and then went out for Dinner with Dad.

For dinner Dad took me to an Indian restaurant, as he had made it his priority to knock as many thing off my list as he could and that was number 20. I was a little worried about having Indian because I don’t really like spicy foods, but it was on the list and we were there so…we had Indian. While we were ordering our meals Dad spoke to the lady in Chinese and said that he liked spicy things and she suggested as dish, all which I understood, so as our meals kept coming out I kept asking him which one was the spicy one and he kept assuring me that it was still coming and kept putting more food on to my plate, which I ate and kept asking why it was soooo hot and why I felt like my mouth was going to explode, the whole time Dad just tole me how weak I was but then after we had finished he admitted that the whole time I had been eating this really hot dish and yes it did have some kick! So there you go now I have had Indian in its finest form.

DAY 11
Today was my first “tourist” day, at 9am Zhang Wei picked me up and drove me to the Forbidden City. I love the Forbidden City and even though I had been there twice before I still found it just as interesting as the first time I went. I find Chinese History so interesting, I think it is because there is so much of it and it is so different from Australia’s of even England’s for that matter. It’s full of corruption and scandal, but also culture, tradition and wealth, it’s seriously great. I know that it’s probably weird to like a history that much but I do and I know that I am not even close to knowing half of it. It was also good to go today with my own little audio tour and without Dave and Dustin telling me they were bored and cold and wanted to go back to the hotel.

After I had finished exploring I had to catch a taxi back to the apartment so that I would be at my Chinese lesson, so I left the forbidden city and started looking for a taxi, but because the forbidden city backs on the Tian ‘A men city getting a taxi outside is actually quite difficult so with the help of an English speaking students and 2 policemen I finally found a taxi and jumped in. I told the taxi driver where I wanted to go and he agreed and started driving, but then after about 5 minutes he pulled over and told me that he didn’t know and kicked me out of the taxi. So I was in the middle of Beijing, not really sure where I was standing on the side of the road a little panicked and now running late and needing a new taxi. Eventually I found a new taxi and checked and double checked that he new where to go before he left and he did and so he took me home.

DAY 12
Today started with another Chinese lesson and then I was once again left to my own devices, so once again I headed down to the market past lan dao, this time to swap over some DVDs and then to have lunch and finish my book at the Paris baguette. Not too exciting, but relaxing!

DAY 13
Day 13 also started with a Chinese lesson however after my lesson today when Zhang Wei took my teacher home he also took me with him and we drove to the airport because Mum was flying in and we needed to pick her up. The trip out the airport was when I realised that my language had gotten much better as I spent the whole trip in and most of the time at the airport speaking in Chinese with Zhang wei. Although he spoke slower than he normally would with me it was still a bit of confidence booster. In the afternoon, I took mum to a local Chinese restaurant then that night we went out for tea with dad and some of his work friends to a Japanese restaurant where I was able to cross off another thing from my list (no. 22) as I tried real sushi for the first time. It is nice to have mum around as it gives me a friend to hang out with while Dad is at work.

DAY 14
Today mum and I had a big shopping Day, we started at a Russian market which was very different to lots of the other markets. The atmosphere is a little tenser and the things that they sell are a little different, the shop assistants also try to speak to you in either Russian or Chinese which is weird. We didn’t stay there long because it is also different in that all the little stalls are covered and to look at what they have you have to actually go in you can’t just look from the isle like you do in the other markets. Then we headed to ya show and did a bit more shopping before we went to our Lunch date with two of the wives of Dad’s work mates, Elaine and Phoebe. We had lunch at a place called Lotus Peak a buddist vegertarian restaurant. The food was really yummy but it was all made of to fu but none of it tasted like it, we had tofu sausages and a dish called shark slice and cones made out of seaweed. Very different but very yummy. After lunch Elaine’s driver took us home and mum and I had a little rest while we waited for Dad to come home. When Dad came home we went out for tea at the place.

DAY 15
Today Dad, Mum and I went to the great wall. Zhang wei drove us out to a place called Jin Shan Ling from which we started out 10km hike to a town called Si Ma Tai along an unrestored part of the wall. The walk was intense as it was constantly up or down but rarely flat and as it had not been restored lots of the stones were lose and you had to go quite slowly. Because it was also in winter it was cold and there were also patches of ice on the path. So between sections of strenuous climbing and almost dying of exhaustion I did get to have a look at the amazing scenery and it seriously was amazing. It was also very cool to be on a part of the wall that had not yet been restored so it was all original and naturally falling apart. Once we finally made it to Si Ma Tai (4 hours later) we found Zhang Wei and drove to our dinner destination, my favourite restaurant in the whole world… Da Dong. Da Dong is a peaking duck restaurant which seriously is the best in the world, if you are ever in Beijing I highly recommend it.

DAY 16
Today being a Sunday we started the day at church and then went on one of Dad’s massive Sunday walks. Today we again walked to lake Ho Hai on the way we stopped for lunch at McDonalds then we walked to a shopping place called Wong fu Jin. After a not very nice shopping experience and feeling a little tired we got Zhang wei to pick us up and talk us to Dad’s favourite dumpling restaurant for tea at which I had another interesting dish that actually tasted pretty good…hairy gourd and shredded jellyfish. After dinner, on the way home we stoped and got a foot massage which I was a little worried about because I have very very very ticklish feet, but it was actually quite relaxing and much cheaper than it is in Australia.

DAY 17

Today Mum and I had another big shopping day, this time we started at the Pearl market, which turned out to be a great market to shop at with heaps of bargains, from there we went to China’s Ikea because Dad needed a new bookshelf. At Ikea we had Swedish meatballs for lunch because Ikea in china is exactly the same as it is I guess everywhere else in the world, well at least the same as it is in Australia, but everything is written in Chinese and Swedish rather than in English and Swedish.
From there we went and drove past the new Olympic stadium the “bird’s nest” it’s a pretty amazing and I am sure it will be the perfect spot for an Olympic ceremony, which is lucky I guess. Then we headed home and dropped mum off and then Zhang Wei and I went off to Karaoke…which is number 55 just in case you were wondering!

Karaoke was something else that I was really looking forward to doing, but also really worried about but it was sooooooooo much fun, seriously one of the highlights of my trip. Of course what made it a little more interesting was that Zhang Wei sang in Chinese and I sang in English. But it was so much fun and I think that I will need to explore some Karaoke some where in Oz.

DAY 18
Day 18 was my last full Day in Beijing, so after one last Chinese lesson and a little wait for Dad’s bookshelf to arrive, mum and I hit the shops again, going back to Ya show for one last shop. When we had brought more than we could carry, Zhang Wei took us to another department store so that I could buy a webcam, then we went home and got ready to go out for our final dinner. For dinner we met Dad’s work mates at a restaurant called the China Lounge for a good quality Chinese meal before I headed home. I am actually a little sad about leaving china and all that it has to offer. I really like speaking in a second language and the culture of china and I think I will be sad to leave it behind. But I can always come back…one day.

DAY 19
This morning I went and had breakfast at the Kerry Centre, a hotel near Dad’s apartment, with mum, dad and Zhang Wei. After eating myself silly I went home and packed, which was actually surprising hard to do, 1. because I had way too much stuff and 2. because I didn’t really want to go, I like it in China, I know that there are lots of great things to go home to, but China is very different and I had quite had enough yet, but off to the airport we went and after a few tears, Zhang Wei and Mum watched we go through the doors and head back to the land down under. My flight home was relatively uneventful despite the massive amounts of hand luggage I had…my backpack, a shopping bag, my laptop and my giant eeyore! Now I am home safe and sound and enjoying the change of weather from cold cold Beijing to sunny Melbourne, but I am already starting to plan my trip back to china, I don’t know when I will go, but I will…you’ll see.

So before I finally go, I just want to say thanks to Dad for everything, my trip to china was fantastic, I couldn’t have asked for a better time. Thanks a bunch, love ya lots.

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