There is just no sleeping in the middle seat. Yes, you do doze off every ten to fifteen minutes and then your eyes open right up. Part of this is because I'm apprehensive about how I will get along. There is a very nice man sitting next to me who's name is Zhou (he tells me to call him George) This is a comfort to me since my father was George. He has told me that all Chinese men know how to cook, because in order to "grab a woman's heart you must first grab her stomach. I found this interesting and told him that it was just the opposite in America. The way to a man's heart is through his stomach. he has also reissued me of other things, China is very crowded, there is no " personal space", it is not uncommon for four generations to be living together. he has also taught me my first word, "Gambay" which is for clinking glasses together When drinking. I'm drinking wine, he's drinking water. I'm drinking wine for a couple of reasons, it's free, and I was hoping it would knock me out. Which brings me full circle. there is just no sleeping in the middle seat.
now on to things I have learned myself.... rule one is to exchange your money before you ever leave the states. But, of curse, I did not learn this until I left.
Rule two: buy better ear buds.....14 hours is a very long flight and my ears now hurt.
First impressions from the sky. Mountains, long oblong buildings at first and then everything rises up....a tremendous amount of very tall buildings...apartment type...the roads are almost devoid of any traffic and see that I'm landed at 4:30 I had thought to see more. my western way of thinking.
I am quite taken already by the Chinese lettering. It's quite fun to figure out, not that I can but, quite interesting all the same...
I found John at the airport!!!! yeah!!!
Tonight, though I'm extremely tired we are heading to get some Peking duck. The best place to eat this dish so, I'am told is in Beijing.
The duck was amazing. Yum yum!!! With it we had a traditional green vegetable, some sort of seaweed (which i quite liked) along with tree fungus and a bread pudding with a semi sweet sauce. the restaurant is very loud. people sitting next to each other seem to be yelling at one another. I'm assured by John that this is quite normal and in fact this is a QUIET restaurant.
The hostel we are staying at is called "The Happy Dragon" the staff is very nice and speak English quite well. The rooms are cold, heat is not an option in China. The temp in restaurants and homes are kept at about 50 degrees. Tonight the outside temp is 18. Brrrrrr!!!!! My feet are freezing. This is also the reason why I'm awake at four in the morning. could possibly have something to do with the time change too...but, I'm blaming my feet. Did I say ice cubes.
Today we head to the great wall. So, I should try and get some sort of shut eye good night all...
Note to self ...tomorrow I must mention beds and plates bowls, bones shells
Toilet paper,fortune cookies
Yesterday, we went to the great wall.... The Chinese say that no man is a hero until he walks the great wall... you can now call. Me. Wonder Woman.... From Beijing it takes approx 2 hours, it's a nice bus ride and we hired a guide. THis is a great place to mention that the traffic here is unbelievable and I felt that I should just close my eyes because, I. Was silently swearing to my self the whole time. People just make u-turns wherever, the cyclists and pedestrians walk and ride where ever. Makes me want to cringe every time we get into a taxi.
Back to the wall, it was incredibly, the views were amazing... We hiked up and down stairs and in the little guard stations, you come up in guard station number 4 walked up hill to number one and then back to 14. The stairs are never quite the same size so, you must always pay attention to your feet. Though that was my excuse for stopping and looking at the incredible views. with our tour we got a complimentary breakfast and lunch. The lunch was incredible along with breakfast, this was nice because it took the pressure off of ordering food. Which brings me to, why they have pics with their food menus just like some of the restaurants in the states. Which is nice but, take note this is only in the more expensive restaurants. Beijing's food is sweet so, I quite like it. Where John lives the food is spicy, incredibly spicy so, I shall see how I get along there.
We got back to the wall at about five o'clock and then took a nice break. From there we got into a taxi and headed to the summer palace which looked incredible from the outside but it was closed. As far as Chinese architecture goes everything is quite modern but, in this section of the city I got to. See some of what I had expected. More Chinese flavor of architecture. Though most of it was run down it was still nice to see. from the summer palace we ventured into the Beijing subway station. As far as stations go, it was extremely clean and once again very modernized, it was also. Very crowded.
We took the subway to the railway system to buy tickets for tonights excursion to Xian to see the terra cotta soldiers. We had trouble getting any of the ticket holders to fill our order but, then I see number 16 is the English speaking counter, lo and behold we wait once again only to have to speak Chinese to the agent. Oh well, we did succeed in buying sleeping car tickets on tonight's train. Today we head over to teinamen (sp) square and the forbidden city and the silk market....I'm very excited about both. I saw a bakery, pastry shop up the street so, I think I will head over there while John sleeps. I guess that means I'm feeling more comfortable about going out on my own. And I need some caffeine.
Beds here are a two inch foam on plywood which makes for a hard night of sleeping. Tomorrow night we stay in a hotel, I'm thinking that it might be a bit different kind of bed. At least I'm hoping it will be.
There is absolutely no personal space in China. And no fortune cookies either. Not sure where the Americans got that but, there is none here....hoping tonight on the train I will be able to fill you in on toilet paper and plates and bowls. I'm ever improving on my chopsticks. yeah!!!
Signing off...Wonder Woman