Misadventures in China-Beijing (day 4)
The best day out of all 5 days. We went to the Great Wall of China, the Summer Palace, the CCTV Tower, and the Bird’s Nest.
Great Wall of China:
When we were at the Great Wall, the tour guide told us to meet him back at the bus in 2 hours, so there was no way any of us could’ve walked the entire span of the Great Wall. We took a chair lift up to the Great Wall. My sister and I loved the chair lift, but my mom freaked out. Just for kicks, I told my mom that the cable carrying the chair lift seemed a bit loose…she didn’t like that.
The chair lift takes you to a portion of the Great Wall that requires you to climb up 7-8 flight of stairs and 5-6 steep slopes to get to the Eighth Tower, the highest portion of the Great Wall.
It’s not as easy as it sounds. The slopes were very steep; One misstep and you probably would be somersaulting down the slope. The stairs were also uneven (one step high, another one low), so you really had to look down and pay attention to the steps.
The entire tour group went back to the tour bus an hour early. The tour guide didn’t know what to do with us, so he told us to walk around the nearby shops for a while. What does the tour guide do? Why, he has a smoke-fest with the bus driver, policeman, and another one of the tour members (What else would you expect?) I have no idea how he keeps his teeth moderately yellow. Maybe he has hygienic habits.
I pay way too much attention to the tour guide.
The Summer Palace:
This is the place that used to be the private palace(s) for the emperor and empress of China. It’s separated into three “islands,” which meant that I had to cram into three boats with sweaty, whiny Asians. I really enjoyed the architecture of the buildings (ditto to the Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven), but other than that, there wasn’t much to see. Just for fun, I taught my sister the term “eutrophication,” since the lakes we were traveling on by boat seemed to have this condition.
The CCTV Tower:
The best place I’ve been to throughout the entire trip. It is the 9th highest tower in the world (The 1st being the Tokyo Sky Tree; the 2nd being the Canton Tower, which I still haven’t gone to despite living in Guangzhou for almost 2 weeks). Your ears actually pop while riding in the elevator to the top. On the various floors, you can read about the history of TV broadcasting in China and buy many different kinds of souvenirs (I’m not sure if my friends would like it, but oh well). On the top floor, you can see a breathtaking view of Beijing (once you get past the polluted, foggy environment).
The Bird’s Nest:
We went here at night, when all the lights come on. Nothing special really happened; we just took pictures of the various buildings. The street vendors were extremely annoying; they actually follow you until you buy something from them. My sister Netty screamed “NO THANKS” at them, and all of them immediately sprinted away from her as if she were the devil. Note to self: Act like an crazy and angry American when Chinese street vendors approach you. It’s very effective.