Flying into Beijing was a little more shocking than I had expected. I knew they had an issue with air pollution, but this was unlike anything I could imagine. It reminded me of a dust storm you would see in Arizona, just pure beige thick air…I landed at sunset, as you can see in the image below on the right, the sun is barely noticeable (bottom left hand side). It was glowing behind all the smog. I debated on buying a mask to wear for the rest of my trip…
The hotel was very cool! Glass bathroom, emergency pollution masks and a futon onto of a wood bed frame…I’ve come to realize the Chinese really like a hard bed.
These motorized bikes are everywhere, and it’s insane how much people will pack onto these!
First stop, the outdoor flea market! I found some treasures that I was able to ship home for $60! Although, they did say it would arrive in 1-3 months…hmm…
This gentleman made me a bracelet! I was able to pick out all the stones I liked, and he strung it up, right there…
Street vendors selling hot potatoes…I was tempted to buy one because it was so painfully cold as you can see from the FROZEN lake below!
Next stop, the Forbidden City & Imperial Palace…I could’t believe how insanely big this place was…it was as if the temples went on for miles. No end in sight and in fact, after 3hrs of walking around I decided to end my tour early, thought I spent enough of my time there!
My first non western bathroom experience was not something I’d like to relive again…funny that this had a top star rating! I was sure missing my heated automatic japanese toilets at this point…
Here on the bottom right is an actual taxi…they are smaller versions and are made out of metal, only fit 2 people (1 comfortably) and they zip around traffic like a motorcycle!
Kung Fu Show was fabulous…these BOYS (not men) are incredibly talented and powerful.
The next day I spent on a tour, which was a nice break from leading my own way. We stopped at the Ming Tombs and Underground Palace…
The caves were quite a walk underground, freezing to say the least, but just amazing that this was all man made.
The walls were so thick, to prevent looters from robbing the tombs.
Treasures left behind…gold and white jade.
Speaking of white jade…we ventured onto the jade factory, i found myself a lovely white jade beaded bracelet!
Then there was The Great Wall. A truly epic moment for me. After taking a ski lift up to the top, I wandered off on my own, taking a nice 2hr walk along the wall. Snow flakes began falling, there were very few others around. I felt like it was a blessing to have been there with such beautiful scenery.
Although I didn’t get to take in how expansive it really is, I think from the hours of walking I got the sense of how extreme this must have been for every individual man to make. It just seemed endless.
Lovely icicles on the trees!
Found a look out tower with a secret stairwell, it’s hard to tell from the image, but the stairs were extremely steep and uneven.
A perfect group dinner to end the day. A few of us decided to make our way to a famous peeking duck restaurant. It was quite an experience trying to oder since no one spoke english, we ended up with WAY too much food. But the presentation was so elegant, the duck was incredible and we left very very full : )