Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Beijing (Part II)

Saturday we'd planned for a lay-in and a lazy day. As things turned out we had neither. Our lay-in was spoiled by the lack of curtains in the room (stained glass windows are pretty but not effective). Our lazy day turned into a bit of a trial when we decided to follow a lonely planet tip for lunch only to find that the Beijing town planners had had other ideas. The street where the restaurant once stood is not there any more. So hot and tired after searching for a while we resorted to main street Beijing where we cooled off in an aircon mall.

Later that evening we stumbled upon a street food market, we didn't really fancy any of their delights though so headed for some more Peking duck at a posh place to treat ourselves. It was very tasty!

Sunday morning we were up early to visit a flea market we'd heard about which was nice, we could have spent a fortune but with a lack of funds and space in our rucksacks we managed to avoid any frivolous purchases.

To remove ourselves from temptation we caught a bus to the Temple of Heaven as we'd heard it was worth a visit. It is. The park surrounding it was great, full of local people enjoying a sunny Sunday afternoon. Dancing and playing they looked like they were having a lot of fun. We then caught a bus back to the hostel. The pubic transportation in Beijing is pretty dire at the moment, I pity any tourist coming here for the games they will be forced to use shady taxis a lot. We've just about got by with a lot of confusion at times.

We found a tasty Sichaun restaurant for dinner where we ate till we were bursting for a few pounds before an early night.

On Monday we were up early and on another bus this time to the Summer Palace. The summer playground of Emperors and princes in the Ming and Qin dynasties. The palace is more an elaborate series of ornamental gardens and buildings surrounding a lake enlarged to look like the West Lake in Hangzhou. It was hard to tell the similarities though as the polluted haze made it difficult to see from one side to the other. The parks and gardens were nice and the influences from the Forbidden city are obvious. To be honest though we're ready to move on and are both excited to get on the train tomorrow to Moscow.

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