Monday, July 11, 2011

A Weekend in Beijing

Well, I’m still behind on my blog posts, and with only 2 weeks left, how will I ever get caught up?! I’m going to try my best, but there is so much I want to share!! I have to go back to the holiday weekend to tell you about my trip to Mainland China. That’s right…I stood on Communist land!! I don’t know if they brainwashed me or if I saw too much propaganda, but I must say…I ♥ Beijing.

My weekend began early when I left for the airport immediately after work on Thursday. I met Sabena and Jillian at the HK Airline counter. We arrived nice and early to avoid any stress or possibility of missing our flight. Were we successful? No, of course not.

After going through security and getting a quick dinner, we thought we had planned everything perfectly. But we forgot the golden rule: always find your terminal before going back to buy food or to shop. ALWAYS. We didn’t do this; we ate first. So, of course, our terminal ended up being at the farthest possible location, a whole subway and 5 moving runways away. We sprinted. We pushed. We huffed and puffed as we made our way across the airport with only 10 minutes until take-off. I arrived at the terminal a sweaty mess only to find out that we forgot the second most important rule of airports: always check the arrival/departure board. Well…we didn’t do this either. But if we would have, the board would have shown us that our flight was delayed an hour. We didn’t have to run at all. At least we didn't miss our flight?!

We ended up going to bed around 2 am and awoke bright an early (around 6:30 am) to get ready to go to the Great Wall!!! I LOVEDDD the Great Wall. Highlight of my weekend (one of the many). It was cultural and athletic and rewarding and beautiful all at the same time.

When we set out in the morning, it was pouring rain. Like, umbrellas-don’t-matter pouring. I began to worry. We walked for about 20 minutes before getting on the Subway to get on a bus to get in a taxi. We couldn’t find the proper Subway entrance, then missed our bus, which forced us to have to take a different bus only to transfer to taxis. It was quite the adventure, and that's when I really began to worry. Soaking wet and surviving off only 4 hours of sleep on the floor, I was not a happy camper. Then, magically, as soon as we arrived at the Great Wall, the rain stopped. It was perfect. It drizzled on and off the rest of the day and there was plenty of fog, but I couldn’t have asked for a better gift. The fog kept us cool as we hiked up millions of steep steps and trekked through unrestored sections of the wall. I was dripping in sweat during certain sections of the hike; what would I have done if it were a hot and sunny day?! I don’t want to find out.

I'm on the Great Wall!!

A little rainy, but so beautiful!

Still reppin' the Deeg!

We walked until we got to explore the unrestored section.
We were the only people around; it felt so surreal!

In our ponchos...gotta protect the backpacks!

The Wall was simply incredible. It was exhausting, but so full of history and meaning. Multiple times throughout the day I had to stop to remind myself where I really was.

Photo of the day!

We all took naps on the way home so that as soon as we got back we could immediately got ready to go out to dinner/out on the town. Dinner was delicious and I loved getting to experience the nightlife of Beijing. Very different from HK, but so fun! We didn’t get back until around 4 am.

On Saturday we went to see Tiananmen Square and The Forbidden City. Both were really interesting and unique. We hired a sketchy Asian man we found on the streets to give us a tour of the Forbidden City. He ended up being hilarious and so entertaining. It was a good choice.

Tiananmen Square
We love Beijing!

First glimpse of The Forbidden City. Hello Mao!

Inside the city walls.

Posing like a true tourist...

We returned home after a long day of walking to get ready for our party. Looking at pictures might lead you to believe that it was a Fourth of July party. Well…it wasn’t. We just decided to dress up for fun!! The party was on a huge boat and we all had a blast. We had people asking to take pictures of us all night, seeing as we were the crazy American girls dressed in crazy American costumes. Once again, we didn’t get home until around 5:30 am.

Ready to go!

A kiss for home. I miss you America!

The next day we slept in a little before going to see the Summer Palace. It was sunny and beautiful and I loved the palace! We decided to rent boats to take out on the lake since it was such a gorgeous day. We all know I have pretty bad luck. So what do you think happened? My boat died. Of course. We were on the lake for a good 5 minutes before we began to realize that everyone was moving A LOT faster than we were. We finally reached the middle of the lake before our boat’s motor gave one last sputter and grew silent. Then we sat for a while and laughed. Finally a random boat of Asian men agreed to tow us back to safety. It was certainly an adventure, and by the time we reached the shore, my stomach hurt from laughing so hard.

Summer Palace

Look how amazing it was! Can you see the city?!

Beautiful Beijing (View from Summer Palace)

Soaking in some sun.

On the boat!

Getting rescued...

On our way back we went to see the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube where the Olympics were held! It was so cool to see them lit up at night - all in all a very special night.

How cool is this?!

The Bird's Nest

The Water Cube

The next morning we flew back to Hong Kong, sad to be leaving so soon but relieved to return to the comfort of our home. It actually surprised me to find how much I missed Hong Kong while I was in Beijing. I loved my weekend get away, but it really made me appreciate my time in Hong Kong. I wouldn’t want to spend my summer anywhere else.

Even though we were exhausted, we rallied one last time to go out once we got back. It was the Fourth of July!! How could we not?! I think I’ll let the pictures describe how we decided to celebrate our American heritage…

What better way to celebrate being an American than with some good old American food?

Chili Cheese Fries and Burgers!

The damage...Happy 4th!

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