Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Day 2 - China tour

Its day 2 and we’re off to see the sites. After a great breakfast, we followed our resident Chinese ‘expats’ (Tina and Mark). Off we go to the Forbidden City and Tiamennan square. I am really looking forward to these sites.

Every time I asked Mark how far we were – ‘half way’ was his answer. Everywhere, was ‘half way’!! I learned quickly to accept only ‘half’ his word. Mind you, I learned from Tina a long time ago that everywhere is ‘around the corner.’

We finally made to our destination. I couldn’t believe all the ‘#$%&’ people. I swear half of Asia was there. Needless to say, we weren’t that interested in going into these sites. So off we go again to another site, ‘Summer Palace’. This time we went by subway. Our guide (Mark) did a splendid job. In the subway we went upstairs, downstairs, transfer line here, transfer line there. DOD (dear ol’ Dad) asked the magic question…. How far? Guess what our guide told them? You guessed it – ‘halfway’.

We made it and none too soon. DOD was starting to grumble. Once he saw the Summer Palace things were looking up. He seemed to be interested.

This time we did steps, steps and more steps. It was quite impressive; the work done at the time must have been quite backbreaking. The artwork is amazing and quite intricate.

Some history on the summer Palace – it only opened to public in 1925. Its 717 acres and ¾ of it is water. It was original built in the 12 century and expanded in 1860 by the British / French army. It was rebuilt and then badly damage by foreign powers. Then restored in 1903. The imperial court lived here from April 15 to October 15 and only those invited were able to stay.

From the summer palace went by taxi to lunch. Our guide now has ideas of his own. He was determined to locate a restaurant for DOD and Christel. A restaurant specializing in German cuisine. Now, I know why we took the subway earlier on. We walked and walked and walked and yep, walk some more. He was like a dog with a bone – bound and determined to find this restaurant, whether or not we ended up going in circles.

We managed to find a bar area and our guide let us rest. Once we got our energy back we were off and walking again…… Now Mark is determined, he’s rested. Our journey begins again and this time we went around the block. As time went by we had to go for another beer. This time a place called the Blue Frog. Beijing is really growing up. Large stores, and more bars. Our ‘guide’ is now asking the owner of the Blue frog where the “Drei Kronen”, finally….. He knew the area and explained where he thought we had to go. So now we know the area where it should be. Specifics, not yet, so ask, again we did. Two young ladies did there best to help us.

You know what? Let’s take a cab. One thing I learned about the Chinese is…..don’t confuse them because you won’t get anywhere. Since were 5 of us we would have to take 2 cabs. Mark and I took one cab, and Tina, Dad & Christel took another. Mark and I went first. Off we go. Mark told the cab the area and not even 2 min. the cab stopped and told us to get out. He doesn’t know where it is. Thank God the other 3 hadn’t gone. So back we go. We all met up again and once again we begin our search. Here we go a walkin’….. I think by dumb luck we found it!!! We finally found the Drei Kronen. There we sat and ate and drank. Dad was in his element, yakking to all the young women, especially those that spoke German. As time wore on tiredness crept in and Dad started walking around and ended up at a game with a bunch of patrons. I’m not sure what the game is called. It seemed as though it was like air shuffleboard. He did manage to win a game and make new friends. He did have one fellow who wanted to buy him a drink but DOD refused. It was time to go back to the hotel. Two taxis we took and again Mark and I shared a cab and again the cabby didn’t know where to go. Actually, he took up to the wrong hotel (a real nice one). It did work out and we ended up where we were suppose to. The others also had a problem with directions and they did end up back where they were supposed to.

No comments: