I don’t have much time to write this morning because we have a full day of sightseeing ahead of us. Yesterday, our program organized a tour to the Great Wall. The tour bus took us to a very touristy jade factory before dropping us off at the Wall. It was kind of lame but I was able to take some really interesting photos of people carving into jade.
About 45 minutes after leaving the jade factory, we arrived at the Badaling part of the Wall. It is absolutely spectacular. It goes on forever and ever and at such a great height. Most people walk up to the Wall, but because we were short on time, we took a gondola up (and back down). It blows my mind that people built this thing. The weather was perfect and the sky was a crisp blue. Everyone says that Beijing is always cloudy and smoggy (and unbearably hot in the summer), but we’ve been experiencing great weather.
After the Wall, we took the bus back into the city to see the Summer Palace. I’m still unclear of the history of this site, but the emperor’s favourite concubines would stay here. There is an impressive (and giant) man-made lake right in the center. We walked around the Palace and took a beautiful dragon boat back to the west gate.
We headed to Houhai lake-area, which has some beautiful hutongs. One side of the lake is lined with bars that have colourful sofas, rooftops, and live music. We hopped from rooftop to rooftop, enjoying the sunset and Tsing Tao.
We ended our night back at Sanlitun. The story about getting there is short but funny. So, there were 7 of us and like I have said, it’s sometimes impossible to get a cab (and not get ripped off). A man in a van offered to take all of us to Sanlitun for 80 yuan (which is expensive for Beijing but so cheap for us). A few of us had to sit on little step stools in the trunk but we made it safe (and in time) to Sanlitun and now I have another funny Beijing story to tell. In Salitun, we went to this crazy bar called Migas. I have never seen such a high concentration of foreigners in one small area. Migas has a spectacular view of the Beijing skyline and has a swanky NYC rooftop bar vibe.