I loved Beijing. But sadly, I didn't get an I <3 BJ shirt. Maybe next time I'm there.
So for our last vacation, which was 4 days, we decided to go to Beijing. We left after teaching on Thursday to go get bus tickets to Guangzhou-- where our train was at-- but they didn't have anymore seats. So instead, we got tickets on the sky train (that were cheaper and less time consuming. Hmm. Wonder why that wasn't our first option. Meh, whatever). The train ride to Beijing was 21 hours, and that is quite a long time, so I didn't want to be stuck wearing jeans for all of that. So I wore my pajama pants, and packed a pair of jeans and a couple shirts, then I'd wear my pajama pants back home on another 21 hour train ride. Well as we're waiting for the sky train, I realized that I left my pants at home. Haha. Oops. So that's why in every picture of me in Beijing, I'm wearing pajama pants. Didn't have anything else.
So we got our train at like 6:30 or something on Thursday, made it to Beijing on Friday at 2 or so, then our group (which included the girls from 3 different schools) split into 2 groups. 4 of the girls went to the Pearl Market, and the other 8 of us went to get Mexican food. I know, I know. We're in China. Why would you get Mexican food? Well, because I live in China, so being able to get Chinese food isn't that big of a deal. I eat Chinese food for 3 meals every day, plus snacks in between. But there is no Mexican food anywhere in China that isn't a really big tourist hot spot. So yes. We were awesome and ate Mexican food. And it was fantastic. Friday night was their Ladies' Night, so they had burritos for only 15 yuan (or you could get their vegetarian burrito for 10 yuan). That was a nice surprise. I got a pollo asada burrito and then also split a carne asada chimichanga with Jessica. So much food, but it was so delicious.
After dinner, we met the other group at a Chinese Acrobat show. It was pretty sweet. Unfortunately, the traffic was really heavy, so our taxi took FOREVER to get there, and we only saw half the show. But you know, it was ok. Because the half of the show we saw was well work the 17 bucks I paid for the entire ticket (seriously. They had those motorcycles in the metal ball thing driving all fast and awesome. and then they kept adding motorcyclists. There were five. FIVE. It was insane), and the taxi ride was actually a lot of fun. It was nice to sit there and talk with Ashley and the sisters-- Courtney and Maddie. Those girls are awesome, and I miss them terribly now that I no longer see them every week at church. Boo for having to come home!
Anyway. After the acrobat show, we hit up a night market. Jessica, Caley, and Ashley tried scorpion. I thought about it, but seeing the scorpions move around kinda made me decide against it. Ha. I don't know, eating something that's alive and has a stinger isn't exactly on my bucket list. I know, I'm so unadventurous. I think I'll be ok though. I did eat some delicious fruit thing that was coated with melted sugar. Mmm. Once the night market closed, we headed back to our hostel and called it a night.
The next morning (Saturday) we were up and at it early early so we could see the Great Wall. So awesome haha. I don't really actually have much to say about it, actually. You know how it is. Get a van ride there, climb up a ton of steps to get to the actual wall, hike the wall for a little while, take awesome pictures, head back down, possibly do some shopping (I got some dried kiwis. Quite possibly the best fruit ever to be dried). Except that I did have an awkward moment with another tourist. So if you look way up the wall, there was a section where you could see some Chinese writing on the ground. I was just chilling there up on one of the guard posts, and a girl was taking a picture of it. She said, "[blah blah take a picture] even though I don't know what it says." She seemed nice and friendly and everything, so I chimed in with, "I hope it says, 'The Great Wall.'" Ha. I thought it was amusing. Not the funniest thing ever, not particularly clever, but an amusing thought none the less. She just looks at me, dead serious, and says, "No. It doesn't." Oh ha. My bad. What a crazy lady.
Side note-- before leaving the guard post I was sure to pretend to light a fire and say, "Now all of China knows you're here," and then I imagined someone looking at me saying, "Perfect." I rock. Also, I totally did some of my awesome Kung Fu moves on the guard post. I was probably fighting off some of the Huns.
After the Great Wall, we went to the Silk Market, and then we were going to go to the Pearl Market, but everyone was having so much fun at the Silk Market that we just stayed there. I got some pretty cool stuff. Some of it is touristy China stuff, but I also got 3 pairs of cons (for 45 yuan each:: about 7 bucks) and a Converse hoody. Oh, and a duffel bag. I was originally going to just get rid of the duffel bag I brought here but upon comparing the one I bought in Beijing to the one I have currently, I can't justify getting rid of it. It's too high quality. The only thing that's really wrong with it is that the strap is breaking (which is funny, because it's only breaking because I had too much heavy stuff in it when I came to China because I was over the weight limit of my checked bags by quite a lot, but wanted to bring everything I had packed anyway, so I just moved the heavy stuff from my checked back to my carry on). That's fortunate, though because the duffel bag I just bought came with 2-- check it, TWO-- shoulder straps. So now I've got two duffel bags, and I'm excited :) After the Silk Market extravaganza, we went to get dinner. Ha. Yeah... we got Mexican food again. Ashley and I were in kahoots this time, though, and we split some pollo asada nachos (quite likely the best nachos I've ever had. legit.) and another carne asada chimichanga (and I'd only actually had frozen chimichangas, so aside from the exact same one I had had the night before, it was probably the best I've ever had also). So goood!
Some of the girls went to see the Bird's Nest after dinner, but I've never really been an Olympic fan, and I was really tired, so I just went back to the hostel to sleep and prepare for another RIDICULOUSLY early morning.
Sunday Sunday SUNDAAAY. We went to see the Forbidden City/Tian'anmen Square. It was so awesome. I loved it. We only had a couple hours there, unfortunately, because we had to catch our train home at 1 that afternoon, so we had to be on our way back to the hostel for our stuff at 11. The Forbidden City opened at 8:30, and we were there well before that, so we still had 2 hours. We ended up splitting up into different groups so that people who wanted to spend more time in the Forbidden City could all hang out together, and people who wanted to be in Tian'anmen Square could go there earlier. Courtney, Maddie and I ended up staying in the Forbidden City the entire time. It was SO COOL. And we barely saw anything! It was really awesome, though. I loved it. We were there so early that the pictures we took are just of us. There aren't ridiculous crowds on every side of us. It's nice, I definitely wouldn't change that. It was fantastic.
Then we hit the train back home, and got back to our apartment at 2 on Monday. It was a good vacation. Beijing is so awesome, and I am definitely going to hit it up again in the future. But I'll spend more time there, that way I can see it all :)
Oh, and for the record, trains suck. Sitting for 21 hours is not fun. Some of the girls in our group actually slept on the floor haha. Which was convenient for me, because then I got to sleep over two chairs, and I could put my feet up.
Oh oh oh oh. Actually, I do have one more story. We were on the subway, and we met a guy who looks JUST LIKE Tony Stark. It was remarkable. Like, if you told me that Robert Downey Jr. is living undercover in Beijing, I would be 100% positive that I met him. I'M ON TO YOU, ROBERT DOWNEY JR. Ha, but really. It sounded like him, looked like him. I'm (partially) sure it wasn't, but it was still exciting.