Posts Tagged ‘beijing’

Good Bye, Beijing!

November 17, 2011

Day 7
29th October 2011, Saturday

On day 7, we basically ran low on energy. So, we decided to go to the last place of interest, the Prince Kung’s Mansion. We took a short cab ride there. We hired a tour guide since the girls are interested in the history. The Beijingers were always very fascinated with us – being a foreign Chinese and yet, we knew so many things about China. I didn’t know that, the girls actually studied Chinese History during form 6! All the more regrets I have for not learning Mandarin!

Benevolence & Justice

With my limited Mandarin, I tried to grasp what the guide informed us. Apparently, this minister, went by the name Heshen was Emperor Qianlong’s favorite minister, all because on the mole on his ear. The story has it that, Emperor Qianlong had a favorite concubine who was later sent for execution because she suffered an injury to her face. The Empress (not sure which one) ordered her to be sentenced to death. Qianlong was devastated. In order to ensure that he could recognize his favorite mistress after reincarnation, he marked her ear with dot (a mole).

Emperor’s wish to his grandmother

One day, this Emperor chanced upon Heshen, who strikingly resembled the dead mistress. Eventhough Heshen was a male, he had delicate features like a woman. When Qianlong saw the mole on Heshen’s ear, he was all convinced that Heshen was the reincarnated mistress. Hence, Heshen was lavished with many gifts and money, which in turn made him into this corrupt fellow. It was said that, they were having some homosexual relations too. Not that I am surprised lah.

One of the many bats

Anyway, the mansion is well maintained and it’s almost impossible to believe the magnitude of wealth the place exudes! If you notice closely, the mansion has figurines of bats carved into the railings and windows. Bats bring good luck in the Chinese Custom. So, the palace has 9,999 bats carved into it! I guess it was a good thing that we hired a guide – at least we get to see the place in a more intricate manner. Entrance fee was 40 yuan per person. Cost of hiring guide – 150 yuan.

Walking street at Hou Hai

After a visit to the Mansion, we hired a golf cart to take us around the hutong – 200 yuan. It was then I realized that, we were actually very near Hou Hai and Gulou. We abandoned the idea of visiting the Soong Ching Ling’s mansion because we were just too lazy to walk back to Hou Hai after that.

Pictures of Hou Hai & Gulou hutongs

Since it was already afternoon, we went to have lunch at this Sichuan place, as recommended by the golf cart driver. It proved to be an excellent choice. We had a good lunch here.

Spicy chicken

“Water cook fish”

After lunch, we took a short walk around Hou Hai and Gulou. Then again, we stop by Qingcafé for coffee before we make our way to Qianmen Jiangguo Hotel. From Gulou, we took bus no. 66 and stop at Hufanglu.

Here at Qianmen Jiangguo Hotel, we went to Liyuan Theatre to watch Peking Opera. Ms Pok called up Liyuan Theatre to book our tickets the day before. For ticket booking, you may call 400 805 1766 ext 94544. Everything is done in Mandarin. We meet up with the lady who helped us to book tickets at the hotel. It seems, if you were to buy the ticket at the ticketing booth at this hotel, you are not entitled for 40% discount. I think we got our tickets at 160++ yuan. Original price was about 250 yuan.

We were surprised that most people watching the Peking Opera here are all foreigners, mainly Japanese and Europeans. So, I guess we had gone to the wrong place. Perhaps, we should have tried Zhengciyi Theatre, which is the oldest in Beijing. Perhaps, there would be some authenticity, to say the least.

Anyway, we practically fell asleep watching the Peking Opera.. so it doesn’t make any difference. Haha! If you are worried you could not understand the Opera, there were actually subtitles being displayed on the neon board at both sides of the stage!

The next day, we just prepare ourselves to take the train back to Tianjin to catch our flight. We took a cab to Beijing South Railway Station since we dreaded to carry our luggage and climb stairs at the subway! There’s a train every 20 – 30 minutes so, you don’t have to pre-book (unless you travel during peak season like Labour Day, Chinese New Year or National Day). The journey would take only 30 minutes. Cost of train ticket is 55 yuan each person. Remember to show passport when you want to buy train ticket – they would key in your particulars. Beijing South Railway is so clean, vast and modern that it actually look like an airport! Then, we grabbed a nice looking aquamarine colored cab at the train station to get to the airport. It took about 30 minutes and 47 yuan to get to the airport from train station.

This post concluded my trip to Beijing. Hope you guys enjoy reading them, as much as I enjoy writing them.

Simply Heavenly

November 15, 2011

Day 6
28th October 2011, Friday

By Friday, I couldn’t feel my legs anymore. The amount of walking here alone is enough for a year’s quota of walking for me! We woke up late again to avoid the morning crowd. There were still many people – no matter what time we wake up to take the subway but at least, we needn’t be to claw our way into the train at least.

Shredded potato with minced pork

We chanced upon a restaurant serving dishes from Chengdu it seems. The serving portion was so huge that a plate of rice could actually feed 3 people! We made a mistake again by ordering a plate of dish each and ended wasting them. Ah, we should have known better. At least order one dish to gauge how big the plate is before ordering other things!

Temple of Heaven

We took the subway and stopped at Tiantandongmen (exit East Gate) to visit the Temple of Heaven. The moment we got out from the exit, a nice lady vendor automatically told us to turn to the back and walk straight to find the ticketing counter. This is indeed the first time we were glad that at least we were not greeted by touts to take us into the places of interest and we very much welcomed this help! Entrance were at 15 yuan and 20 yuan. I think we got the 20 yuan one. Please remember to hold onto your tickets because the ticket is also good for other segments in the huge compound!

Walking towards the Echo temple

As soon as we reached the place, we were greeted by sunny colors of yellow of the gingko trees. We walked into the place and were welcomed by camaraderie of people. Here, you have many old folks gathering to do the things they love – singing, dancing, playing mahjong, poker, chess, playing a form of ping pong and even knitting!

Complicated mahjong

Then we came across this garden where most people congregate. At first, we were not sure which hobby they are subscribed to so we went over to see out of curiosity. So, do you know what they are doing here?

Can you guess?

What are they selling?

They are actually parents looking for a spouse for their single child! Haha! We had a ball of time – since the 5 of us are still single, so we read their sons’ particulars and decide which one is more suited to ourselves! It was hilarious. Since the group consists of mostly elderly people, we stuck out like a sore thumb. They knew we were foreigners so they left us alone. But there’s a lady there who looked at my camera disapprovingly and told me I couldn’t take any photos. I ignored her and took some anyway. Haha. After that, we quickly walked away to avoid further confrontations.

Waited over 5 minutes for this shot – waiting for people to leave! The Echo Temple

We simply love Temple of Heaven. The weather was rather agreeable with us today as well. We wish we had come to this place earlier on the trip! There were a few sections in this Temple of Heaven, so be early to check out the Echo Temple, as well as the Temple of the Sun. It was indeed a beautiful place.

After we got out from Temple of Heaven, we asked around how to get to 798 – the Art District. Actually, I didn’t even know that this 798 is so far away from town area. It was in Chaoyang District where the bus from Tianjin stopped. However, the tourist information centre near the exit was nice enough to check it up for us, on the buses to get to 798.

We got onto the bus from Temple of Heaven to 798 (Bus stop – Dashanzhi). It took almost 1.5 hours! By the time we reached 798 Art District, it was almost 4 pm. So I told Ms Pok to postpone our Peking Opera to tomorrow.

Freedom is indeed not free

798 Art District is a collaboration between the Chinese and the East Germans. You can read about them here. I simply love the industrial feel this place exudes!

Interesting building

We walked a little here because the girls are not interested in artsy stuffs. Again, we didn’t have lunch for the day so, we were sort of famished. It was almost 5 pm when we decided to leave 798. Again, during rush hour. We took the bus to the nearest subway station to Qianmen.

Since we didn’t have the “real and authentic” peking duck, we decided to go to Qianmen to look for Bianyifang, where they claimed they served the best peking duck in Beijing. There’s another place called Quan Jude too, which is even more expensive it seems.

We tried in vain to look for the restaurant, even the tourist booth don’t know the way! So, we just rely on guts instinct and walked blindly to look for the place – as we know, it’s somewhere near there! Ms Pok lamented why were we having endless bad luck trying to eat Peking duck. But then, “room delivery duck” we don’t want (referring to gigolo. LOL!). Finally, after walking aimlessly for 20 minutes, Lady Luck finally smiled at us and we managed to locate the place.

We quickly plunked our asses on the chair and ordered away. Since we learn from the previous dinner – at Dong Lai Shun, we quickly looked at the last page of the menu to see if they have any set dinner! The waitresses here are far more courteous and they were really attentive! We were pleasantly surprised with the very good service that we spent over 850 yuan for dinner! One duck is about 198 yuan, we took away 3 ducks back to Malaysia – and other than eating the skin and flesh, we opted for the bones to be used to be made into soup and also stirred fried with salt and bell pepper. They were good!

Walking Street in Qianmen

After our dinner, we went to walk around Qianmen. There’s also a shopping place here and the girls bought many souvenirs for friends and family. We should have come here earlier as the place is closed by 9 pm. A fire alarm went off for almost 1 minute as we were browsing items here that put us in a state of panic temporarily. We were relief when we learned that the alarm was actually to notify the vendors that it’s closing time!

Hurrgghh…. Ptuuuuui!!!!

November 9, 2011

Day 5
27th October 2011, Thursday

Laborer’s meal

Having learned our lesson from yesterday, we decided to go easy and to avoid the morning crowd, so we woke up a little later and have breakfast at restaurants nearby our hotel at Hepingli Middle Street. The place turned out to be quiet in the morning, with very rare shops offering sitting in dining. Most are mainly catering for breakfast-on-the-go. So, we walked a good 30 minutes before we could find ourselves a sit-in café. We went into a shop selling the starchy thingy again with paos. Our aim was just to fill our bellies to prepare ourselves for another day of walking, walking and walking.

Colors of Autumn

Today we decided to visit Summer Palace (Yu He Yuan), Empress Dowager Cixi’s summer home. The Empress surely knew how to enjoy life. She decided to collect the entire China’s best sceneries and accommodate into her summer palace. If you ask me, it’s too tacky lah. We need to pay 70 yuan to look at the entire place. We thought we might not even be able to finish walking around for the day, so we decided to go for half ticket, 30 yuan ticket.

We got down the subway at Beigongmen, exit D – turn left and left again, go straight for 5 minutes to reach the rear of the palace. It’s proven to be a good choice because there were less steps going up here than the front gate!

There’s nothing much here in Summer Palace. I find the place too tacky. We started at the Suzhou province. Here, we need to top up 10 yuan just to go around the river to visit the place. As I’ve visited Suzhou before, I don’t think it’s necessary. So we didn’t go. Then our way in, we need to climb to a few places which I didn’t go as well because I was just too lazy. My feet were killing me since I’ve been walking non stop for 5 days! So I told the girls to go ahead and I would wait for them at the park below.

While waiting for the girls at the park, I sat down at a bench near the lotus pond. Nice weather, couple with cold wind made it ideal to take a short nap. As I was about to slowly drift into a blissful sleep, suddenly I heard, Hurrgghh…. Ptuuuuui!!!!

Good God! Everybody seems to be spitting into the lotus pond behind me! I was so disgusted! Might as well have a spit pool rather than a lotus pond! Geez!

After that, I caught up with the girls after their climb to other gardens. They were somehow unhappy because since they didn’t buy the full ticket, they realized that their tickets were not good enough to enter the places. So kesian! Susah susah climb! They could pay at there and then itself but they refused! I guess my laziness ruled in favor of me, this round!

So we had a short lunch and then, coffee break at the park while the girls contemplated on the next destination since this Summer Palace bored the shit out of us.

We took the bus and ended going to Tsing Hua University in Beijing. It seems this is the crème de la crème university in China. But now, if you have money, you can enter! Haha. The girls wanted to visit this place, however, we were stopped at the entrance. It seems, it’s no longer opened to public visits anymore.

Or perhaps, there were too many people visiting this place, so they came up with another business idea. They have touts standing outside the university acting as tour guides. We need to pay them 100 yuan to get into the university. Who knows? They might just split their earnings with the guards, that is why they stopped public from going into the university. We were somehow turned off by the touts, so the girls took picture of the place and we left.

Wangfujing

Since it’s already almost 5 pm, we thought of going to Wangfujing after our brief visit the day before. It proved to be a really good choice since it’s about dinner time and one of the girls wanted to try out the famous mutton steamboat in a restaurant called Dong Lai Shun in Wangfujing.

Exotic food

I like the walking street at Wangfujing and wished we spent more time here. Here, you get all the BBQ of all kinds of insects and sea produce. I think nobody ate the scorpions or grasshoppers. They were merely for show I guess. The little scorpions on the stick were still wriggling! So disgusting! Things here are not very cheap though. You could haggle 50% minimum to buy the things you want. The traders are friendly lot though. If you just look and don’t buy, they seemed fine with it. I guess they are used to dealing with international tourists.

Pot of rudeness

Since we were famished from the small lunch earlier on, we decided to have our dinner early at Dong Lai Shun. Once we were seated, we asked the waitress if there’s a set menu. Somehow the waitress just gestured us to look at the menu ourselves. After we had looked through the extensive menu and made some orders, towards the end, we realized there’s actually a set menu on the last page! That was what we have been looking for and the stupid waitress didn’t even tell us. So, we had to cancel everything and told her to get us the set for 3. The waitress didn’t look happy and was showing us her black face!

The garlic and peanut sauce are nice though

It’s a miracle that people would bother to come here to eat. The kebab is nice though, I find them nicer than the ones we had on the second night we were here. The steamboat is so so only. The dip sauce is good though – it’s peanut sauce. Other than that, there’s nothing really special about this place, except if you like to experience utterly rude service, please feel free to come here. We didn’t even bother to leave any tips either for that stuck up bitch.

By the time we finished dinner, there were many people waiting outside for their turn. We shook our heads in disbelief that there are actually people who would line up for bad service. I made a mental note – in future, not to frequent any restaurants or joints with beeline queues because they tend to be stuck up and no matter how delicious their food maybe, I don’t think I want to pay for bad service!

When my friends asked me for feedback on that restaurant, I only have one answer – “Hurrgghh…. Ptuuuuui!!!!”

We ended spending the remaining hour in Wangfujing bookstore. Here, you can get all kinds of books translated into Mandarin and half the price. I guess the only regret I have in this life is, not learning proper Mandarin. I wish my dad had sent me to a Chinese school since little. Sigh.

No Luck, No Duck

November 7, 2011

Day 4
26th October 2011, Wednesday

As if the day before wasn’t long enough, the kiasu-ness in us made us all wake up at 7 am sharp. We got ready by 8 am to visit Tian’ anmen. We planned to have our breakfast somewhere near Tian’ anmen so we walked to the nearest subway station, just 50m away from our hotel.

We bought a travel pass for 20 yuan deposit and topped up 20 yuan as credit. Every stop cost 2 yuan. You can travel either to one stop or as many as till the end of the line, it’s also 2 yuan only per entry/exit. How cool is that?? Remember to get your bags scanned at all subways entry in Beijing. I think it’s good that they practise such checks to avoid any untoward terrorists’ incident.

Since it’s still early, many people are on the rush to get to work. The subway was full with so many people, we basically have to walk shoulder to shoulder with others. Ms Pok said to me, “In China, there aren’t many things, but there are many, many people!” We basically got shoved into the subway coach when the train approached. At one stop, I was shoved out and had to claw my way in so I didn’t break away from my friends. It was indeed an experience. So I told the girls, perhaps we should start the day later to avoid this incident again.

The moment we got to Tian’ anmen West station, we were lost. We were not sure if we supposed to walk to Tian’ anmen Plaza or Tian’ anmen. The place is so damn huge. So we followed the majority of people and found ourselves standing opposite the square instead!

So we got down the underground crossing again to walk to the opposite side. As we reached there, we found that there wasn’t any shops offering food at all within the Tian’ anmen perimeter. So, we went to ask a policeman, where can we have something to eat? The police told us, the nearest makan place for us is at Wangfujing.

We felt a little stupid because we just passed by Wangfujing station just now and didn’t stop for breakfast before coming here. So, we had no choice but to go back to the sardine packed subway again to go to Wangfujing – which is thankfully just two stops away from Tian’ anmen West to have our breakfast. We arrived at a shopping mall – if not mistaken, it’s exit A. It was again too early for shopping malls to open, so we settled for breakfast at Yoshinoya. We were worried we would be famished again since yesterday we didn’t have enough breakfast before our Great Wall trip, so we practically ate a large breakfast, just in case we couldn’t locate the next meal.

After the fairly large breakfast, we packed some cream puffs on the go, in case we were hungry while walking around the Forbidden City. Off we go again, on the subway to Tian’ anmen. This time, we stopped at Tian’ anmen East, go to North East Exit, exit B, go up the escalator, turn right and right again and Tian’ anmen’s is just 2 minutes away!

Tian’ anmen Square

Tian’ anmen – well, I don’t think I need to elaborate as you guys can just read its history on Wikipedia yourself. Anyway, I was told that, the huge portrait of Chairman Mao’s on the entrance to Forbidden City – his eyes will follow you wherever you walk! The portrait reminded me of Leonardo da Vincci’s Monalisa. Perhaps, all great art work has such 3D effect? Haha.

The Forbidden City

After walkabout Tian’ anmen & Forbidden City– it’s super huge by the way! We walked out from the rear gate – it’s where you have a few choices to make. There’s a board right at the exit gate next to the road to tell you where you want to go – they have a list of tourist spots for you to choose from. Pretty nifty! We decided to go back to Tian’ anmen front because we wanted to visit the National Museum, which is just opposite the square. We took bus no. 5 to get down at Tian’ anmen Square.

Door knobs at Forbidden City

By the time we were at the Museum, it was almost 3 pm. the museum closed at 5 pm. So we decided to make the most of it. A point to note, by 3.30 pm, ticketing to the museum would cease. Since it’s already 2.45 pm, we asked if it’s still ok to go to the museum. The guard told us to hurry up and go. So we rushed to the gate and were given a pass each. Those with knapsacks are subjected to higher security scrutiny. If you carry water, you need to take out your water bottle and drink a gulp to prove it’s not poison or acid you are carrying which might destroy their artifacts.

One particular female guard at the entrance was really rude. It’s either my travel mates are sloths – they listened to their instructions but then, reacted slowly to it or the guards were just plain rude. For a person who doesn’t really understand Beijing’s mandarin, I think I did pretty fine. I quickly took out my water bottle and drank in front of the guard. The guard gestured me to go in first, even though travel mates were in front of me earlier. Slow in drinking her water and slow in adhering to instructions, it sure pissed the guard off. LOL!

We made a brief head count of our group – where is Ms Tan?? She was the last to appear because she carried another liquid in her bag – her minyak angin! LOL! Since it’s brand Axe and made in Malaysia – they haven’t seen the brand before. So I asked Ms Tan, “They told you to drink your minyak angin also????” Ms Tan laughed – “No lah! Just ask me to put on my nose and I was good to go!” Haha! It was hilarious! So people, if you were to go to the National Museum, please don’t bring any items which has liquid.

Eventhough it says, open till 5.00 pm, by 4.30 pm, they already closed most sections of the museum and told you to leave! So, we gathered our things and get ready to leave. We felt it was too early and we worried about the subway again – since it’s also rush hour! Anyway, by the time we finished visiting the museum, we were famished. So, we decided to go to Xizhimen for peking duck.

It seemed we have no luck in locating the joint for peking duck at Xizhimen, we were told to go to Hepingmen instead. We didn’t want to get into the rush hour in subway again with others, so we decided to loiter around Xizhimen for dinner. It was a good thing that, there’s a food court at a mall near Xizhimen’s station, so we had our dinner there. Luckily my travel mates didn’t put the blame on me not being able to find the duck place as recommended by somebody lah. Cilakak betul! Moral of the story is – to do your own homework before going on trips to avoid such incident!

After the no-duck dinner, we decided to swing by Gulou again. We stopped at Guloudajie station and got lost again trying to find Gulou Dongdajie. We walked towards Jiugulou instead. It has proven to be a blessing in disguise because I would have never gotten to take photographs of such a beautiful hutong at night, if weren’t for us getting lost again. Hahaha. So it’s really good to think positive at all times! Thanks to Ms Pok for her positive encouragement!

Red bicycle along Jiugulou

Old fashioned makan joint @ Jiugulou

A deserted lane at Jiugulou Hutong

Night snacks @ Jiugulou

Guardians of the door @ Jiugulou

We walked further and ventured into Yan Dai Xie Jie – where many pubs and coffee houses flourished over the old hutong area. Here, we walked further to Hou Hai hutong where majority pubs are situated next to a river. In Beijing, all rivers are called sea. Not too sure why though, coz my friends cannot explain it to me, perhaps anyone of you might know, please feel free to enlighten me.

We stopped by a nice quaint café along Yan Dai byway – Qingcafé where the owner speaks good English. We ordered some café latte and cappuccino. We were delighted because there’s wifi provided so, we catch up with friends on whatsapp, meebo and e-mail. We spent a good hour here while others were resting and sleeping after a long, long day.

Are You Han Hong?

November 4, 2011

Day 3 – Continue

After we survived the terror ride of the Badaling sliding car, we walked past a corridor where our photos on the sliding car were taken. Luckily, the people there didn’t hassle us to buy the photos, save for some weak attempts of asking us to pose for photos wearing their yellow emperor robe or the colorful silk for the empress.

It’s weird that it’s rather hot up at the Great Wall, eventhough it was on higher grounds. As we reached the foot of the hill, it was freezing cold again! Here, you get to buy all kinds of souvenirs from the vendors. Most popular is probably getting your name engraved on a key chain with great wall motives behind it.

Poor bear freezing and hungry

As we strolled downhill, we were greeted by a couple of grizzly bears on a man made steel platform. Here, you get to feed the bears with a plate of cut apples at 3 yuan. I feel that it’s really inhumane to keep the bears here for entertainment sake. They even have little bears at display. I was totally turned off. As I looked below the man made pit, there were other bears too – most of them looked really hungry and waiting for patrons to give them the 3 yuan per plate apples. It was indeed a sad sight. As we walked away from the pit, we could hear the bears fighting for the measly amount of apples thrown by the care taker when nobody wanted to pay 3 yuan for small plate of apples. Their roars can be heard miles away!

After the visit to Great Wall at Badaling, it was already almost 2 pm. As usual, we were whisked away to some novelty shops selling jades. We don’t even look at the things offered. Even the locals were turned off by it. I guess it’s getting too stale to use such tactics on people anymore to force people to buy things!

We were ushered to the dining room to eat lunch together with others. I got really disgusted because there were no extra spoons on the dishes – so everybody will be using their own chopsticks to dig right in. I am fine if I eat with people I know but this is with total strangers! But then, it was a good thing that, the people at my table were so civilized that I was pleasantly surprised. On the other tables however, we could see people standing up eating, with one leg up a chair and they ate as if there’s no tomorrow – basically chopsticks fighting to grab as much dishes as possible! So I am glad that we ended with the most civilized people on our table!

After the measly lunch of cold vegetables and meat, we were on our way to visit the 13th Ming’s Tombs. A guide was assigned to us and as usual, I couldn’t really comprehend what the girl was saying but somehow, from the tone of her voice, I know there was an element of threat. Since there were many elderly people in our group, she told us to follow her instructions exactly as we were visiting a sacred place so it’s important to adhere to rules, otherwise we would return with bad luck on our backs. There were so many rules and regulations such as on which foot we must put forward when crossing the band on the floor, etc. We were then ushered to another side of the place and told to write our names for good luck purposes – be it love, career or health. I thought it’s for free and already think of what to write on the red plaque given by them. Mana tau – writing your name on the plaque cost you 90 yuan. And if you want to write name of your entire family, you have to pay 220 yuan. This is outrageous! Day light robbery! We decided to give the plaque back to the handlers and walked away. Many of us didn’t buy the stupid plaque! The tour guide got a little pissed because there were several people who didn’t even get down the bus to enter the place, so I guess her commission was shrunken because of this, so she wasn’t happy. We didn’t even have chance to snap any photo here because of too many taboos and what not.

Then, we were whisked away again to some tacky Ming’s Palace. I thought it would be some temple looking place again but we were brought to a really big shopping complex. I told my friends – not again! Another shopping trap! Here, we get to see the wax figures of previous dynasties. It was quite interesting actually. We didn’t follow the guide and venture on our own. There were also a spot for people to don on emperor’s robe and to have their photos taken together with many wax concubines. Hahaha! It’s really tacky if you ask me!

So, we finished going through the wax museum thingy and then, before going out, again, was made to pass a corridor of vendors selling lotsa things which we don’t need. We got out and bought some water from the vendors outside instead.

Thinking that, this would be the last tacky place – we were relief to be going back to the city. Then, the not-so-happy tour guide started to complain about people who don’t buy things (us and many others!) and also people who refused to get down the bus to enter the places. In between her harsh voice and stern tone, I knew she was not very happy with the group. Then, she pulled the last trick on us – she claimed that, according to China Laws, anyone who visited the Great Wall needed to be accounted for, so she would drop us at the “immigration” place to get ourselves “identified” and also their tour bus “inspected”.

Again – we were dropped at this jade place. As we were ushered into a room – again, the people there put up their utmost skills in acting and we had a great time watching them pretend as if we were so stupid to fall for their sales gimmick! As usual, a girl would be assigned to take care of us, then a guy came in and pretend to say that we are special group, so have to be given special treatment – then, a manager would come in and tell us, he’s not going to do our business today because they have met quota of the day and promise to give us a gift each. The manager went on to say that, today is a joyous day for him as his wife given birth to twin boys. He already had 4 daughters and now, finally two sons. A fellow tour mate corrected him and said, this is China. There is a ONE CHILD policy. How could you even afford to have 6 children is beyond us. Do you have a mistress? That was hilarious! Then, the manager counter claimed by saying, he’s not from China, he’s from Malaysia! So, the 5 of us feel very sia sui to be affiliated with the guy. It’s obvious he’s from China because he doesn’t even look like a Malaysian Chinese!

Here’s the secretly recorded video – you can hear me laughing super loud at the background when he said he was Malaysian after being questioned by the group.

We left without even waiting for our “gifts”. It’s obvious that everybody knows of the stupid trick. The pissed tour guide just got off the bus and didn’t even go up the bus because that was her last stop – after she scolded everybody on the bus. The bus driver asked if anyone would like to visit the Bird Nest stadium, he could drop us there for a visit, then we go back to the city ourselves. A few of us agreed to visit the Bird Nest.

Watercube

We thought he would drop us at the front of the Bird Nest but then, we were dropped at the middle of nowhere. The driver told us to walk 5 minutes to the Bird Nest but it took us more than 20 minutes to reach the bloody place. So if anyone tells you in China, walk 5 minutes, it means 20 minutes at least!

Bird nest

We were hungry, disappointed with the outcome of the tour, and tired when we reached Bird Nest and Water Cube. I didn’t want to walk anymore, so we decided to hire a golf cart at 20 yuan each person to go around the Stadium. It was a lucky thing that we sat on the golf cart – otherwise, the place is simply too large to be ventured on foot! Then, we asked the golf cart driver for a good makan place, he suggested Gulou to try out their starchy fried intestines and liver. We asked how to get there, he merely suggested we take a cab.

After the short visit to the Stadium, we were hit by another blunder. Apparently, Line 8 subway to the city has been discontinued! The stupid tour guide and driver didn’t even know this – or maybe they just want to get back to us on purpose. We were pissed to the max!

As we walked out from the stadium, we were greeted by tout cabbies again. Anyway, tonight, it has been a long, long day so we agreed to pay the guy 80 yuan for a ride to Gulou for the 5 of us. He said, Gulou is too far and about 40 minutes away but we got there in less than 15 minutes. That fucking idiot! Anyway, he dropped us right in front of the shop and we got in straight away.

The shop is situated at the beginning of Gulou Dongdajie (Gulou East street). There were hordes of people inside! We managed to get a table at the back of the extended shop. I let the girls do the ordering because I couldn’t read Mandarin at all!

Tofu noodles with innards

Juicy paos

Char Chieng Mien

Starchy fried liver and intestines

At first I was apprehensive about eating livers or intestines because I am not a fan of innards! However, maybe I was too hungry –since we had only one shao ping in the morning and the measly meal at the Jade place, I stuffed my face with whatever that’s laid in front of me. The paos are simply juicy! The Char Cheang Mein was super delicious! And even the tofu noodles tasted great with so many intestines inside!

By the time we finished dinner, it was almost 10 pm. We hailed a cab to get back to our hotel. When we got into a cab, the cabbie looked at me and said, “I thought you were Han Hong!” Ms Pok laughed like crazy. I asked who is Han Hong? Ms Pok said, oh, she’s a very talented and famous singer in China! So I jokingly ask the cabbie if he wants my autograph? Then he said, he gotta pee. He stopped by the roadside and excused himself. Not the response I was looking for. Epic fail!


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