Hostels and Beijing

So I made it to Beijing. If you read my previous post you’ll see that my trip to Xi’an didn’t exactly pan out the way I had expected. We took a nice flight from Shanghai to Beijing on Saturday morning. They even fed us a meal on the 1 and 1/2 hour flight. Arriving at Leo Hostel we spent two days in private rooms (the girls in a 3 bedroom and the guys in a 2 bedroom). On Monday we moved out of those rooms and into an 8 bedroom. So far they have not placed any more guests into our rooms, following the Western customs of proximity. (Next time you go into any public place notice how people will place themselves in the space. Such as in public transportation, each person will take their own bench until the car fills and then people will double up. In a restaurant you will not be seated with people who are not in your party because there aren’t enough tables. These things are not entirely true in China. It is more than acceptable to sit with strangers in a restaurant at their table.

Leo Hostel is much nicer than expected. They offer a restaurant, upstairs there are movies, games, computers, and a tv to watch movies, and the front desk is fairly helpful. After trekking with all of our luggage from the airport through the subway on Saturday afternoon we were met by one of the staff members who guided us down some alleys and about a ten minute walk to our hostel.

Valerie and I will be moving out of the hostel on Thursday morning. We’ve had some trouble flagging cabs here in Beijing and we were able to get one today back from the Temple of Heaven late this morning. We now have the number of the cab driver and he told us to call him tomorrow to pick us up on Thursday to take us to the hotel we’re staying at near the airport. At some point I need to buy an extra bag for my stuff. I’ve accumulated a lot of souvinears and gifts over the past month or so and I’m going to have to check a bag on the way home I think. Hopefully I can buy a cheap enough bag and hopefully our cab will not be too expensive. I’ve been praying. I’m glad God has already provided us with a cab, two days prior to our needing it.

The weather has been phenomenal. Our first full day in Beijing was on Sunday. We visited Tienanmen Square, the Forbidden City (which is the ancient palace of the emperor and has over 8000 buildings), Jing Shan (which is a park with a mountain peak which overlooks the Forbidden City), and that evening we went to the Olympic Stadium.

 

Yesterday we spent the day at the Summer Palace. The Summer Palace is a huge sprawl of land surrounding a lake with many gorgeous buildings, a temple, and many gardens.

Today we toured the Temple of Heaven. Many of the temples are surrounded by parks which are patroned by many old people. The Temple of Heaven had whole sidewalks full of old people playing hackysack, women knitting, men playing chess, people dancing, singing in a choir format, and doing taiji.

We also went on an adventure to find the Muslim section of Beijing and managed to find the oldest mosque in China which I think dated back to the 13th century. (I promise I’m getting on that religion post).

Tomorrow we will get up much earlier to go to the Great Wall. I will end China with one of the world’s most renowned monuments. Thursday I will grab some of my last delicious Chinese food, spend the rest of my money, and get ready for my 15 hour journey (MUCH SHORTER THAN THE WAY HERE) home to Kentucky.

 

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