I’m so glad we could squeeze in a visit to the Great Wall in between factory visits. Research has revealed not one single tour that forgoes factory visits—jade, cloison, silk and tea. Final result: 90 minutes on wall, 128 minutes in factories.. I don’t need no stinkin’ tours.
And so for my daily 10 Surprises:
1. The territorial emormity of Beijing—the size of Belgium
2.Unpaved side streets outside the center
3. The wall is actually IN Beijing
4. Litchee tea. A marvel.
5.That dinner of fiery szchuan actually irritated my stomach.Who knew?
6.The amazingly high price of jade
7.Cars are limited in Beijing not by odd or even but my excluding certain final digits based upon the day of week.
8.The amazing softness of a blanket stuffed with spun silk. I wish it didn’t cost a month’s pay.
9.People wear surgical masks in the streets.
10. One million yuan is the price of an apartment 100 sq m in the town center
Did the Long March from Mao to Ming—around Tian’men square and through the Forbidden City. Ate in the Red Stone restaurant after, wolfing down braised tofu and lotus stuffed with sticky rice (sweet) Lunch was my beloved noodle soup (80 centimes!)
And now for my 10 Surprises:
1. Facebook and Tumblr are blocked in China (duh).
2. Metro is super-easy with signs and instructions in English plus helpers in uniform to sort out the confused.
3. A young woman noticed me puzzling over my map and offered directions.
4. A luscious assortment of fresh fruit in street stalls including strawberries amd blackberries.
5. Other westerners are rarissimo!
6. Uggs are also a craze here.
7.Roast sweet potatoes sold on streetcorners.
8. Guards at Tian’men square pose for pictures with tourists.
9. Baggage xray to board a metro just like the airport!
10. Most furniture in the forbidden city was spirited out by the British and Chiang Kai Chek.
I was welcomed like the newest imperial concubine in this cheery courtyard hotel. I particularly liked the location near the metro, Tian’men square, the Forbidden City and in a tiny Hutong neighborhood filled with local stores, noodle shops and restaurants.
So glad there’s free wifi at Nice Airport as I’m here way too early. My biggest worry is the connection in Munich as I have only 45 minutes to make the flight to Frankfurt which will bring me to the Middle Kingdom. It’s crazy but with a pricetag of 400eur’ I won’t complain.