Published: June 13th 2011June 4th 2011
Once upon a time, in a land far far away called China, two western travelers rose from their slumber, when the clock struck 6.30. The ever exhausted travelers were pleased to find that this day he clock had struck at the right time, as twas but a day earlier they did but rise an hour premature. The fixed their attire, applied the appropriate spf protection and feasted upon the breakfast provided for them. The guide Selena crossed paths with them, and they boarded the beast which would courteously transport them for the following day of travels. The beast visited many tribes to gather the remaining mystical beings who would be joining today (once again non other venturing from the land of England).
As much as id like to carry on in this way, its taking far too long to write - so continuing normally. Once everyone was collected the cheeky Chinese chic Selena- who always has a smirk on her face- took us to Tienanmen Square, telling us some info on the way. She informed us of its use in ancient times, and how the pickled body of Chairman Mao is encased in a crystal case in a building there. I remember seeing him on my first trip and thinking he was asleep and would wake any second. No doubt if he did it would be breaking news considering hes been dead years.
We took our photos of the square, where I was pleased to find a bit of the picture heat was taken off us today as we had a black family in the group that seemed to intrigue the locals. After we went straight over to the Forbidden City, which was heaving because of a 3 day bank holiday. The pure size of the place was overwhelming and it just oozed detail and history. Its one of those places where you can just imagine people of power congregating, the Emperor walking the halls with his 3000 concubine- pimp or what?!- and great feasts that no doubt included cabbage or broccoli- the Chinese like those veg- and some big beast of some sort. However after a while of walking though the 6th hall of heavenly something, and the gasps as locals saw a black person and a ginger stood side by side, it got a little tedious and we all began to get bored.
So the lovely Selena rushed us through the rest of the tour and back on to the bus, where on the way we saw a lot of beggars with really sad and scary mutations. I didn't like it. We drove on next to a classical Chinese medicine house. We were taken to a room and given a lecture by a Chinese doctor with a Texas accent. He must have learn English from cowboy films as his greeting was 'Howdy Partner' and kept on exclaiming 'Chinese Medicine YEEEHAA'. It baffled everyone. He told us that Chinese medicine was an ancient technique which prevents, unlike Western medicine which cures. He invited a doctor who practices in that type of medicine in to diagnose problems we may have. He accurately told a one legged member of our group, 'I think you are misses a limb' , he noted that the girl who wore glasses had a problem with her eyesight, and most impressive of all for me... he noticed Emma was hormonal! I can safely say after such an experience, Chinese medicine is the way forward.
We stopped for a quick lunch before heading to The Temple of Heaven. It was a small restaurant with- Im sure the Chinese call it different- a lazy suzy or something in the middle, you know the round thing that spins, pretty sure they call it a lazy sueme, don't quote me though! We got to know our fellow tourists whilst there. We sat on the nice table with a couple from Singapore- IS EVERYONE FROM SINGAPORE LOVELY?- and the black family I mentioned previously, who were from Haiti. We swapped stories and backgrounds, and had general chitchat which was great! The Fish head spinning around in the middle was a little off putting may I say, but apart from that a great meal!
Leaving the restaurant, there was a short drive to the Temple of Heaven. We got out and entered the attraction. It was basically a park full of OAPs- Entry's free for them- so as you can imagine it was quite quiet, just the tap of the walking sticks on the wooden floors of the decking. I say decking, its not like something your Dad builds in the back-garden, its a proper walkway, painted to look amazing with great intricacy. We couldn't walk the whole grounds, as it is sooooo big (Not as big as Heaton Park though pfft Prestwich got it goin ownnn!), but we visited the main temple where the Emperor worshiped. It was amazing and all built with no nails. I'm sure she mentioned 'No More Nails' the brand, but after some research they definitely weren't around in the 1600s. Once again it was so colourful and well done it put to shame all the temples I've seen back at home in Bury and made for a great photo!
We were all a bit annoyed to find out that the next stop was a pearl factory, which was yet again another attempt for the tour guides to make us purchase something so they got commission. The talk was actually really interesting- we were told about the clams they come from, the different types of pearl and how to tell fake ones. Once again me and Emma were mistaken for boyfriend and girlfriend but after a quick, 'Her my girlfriend, girl please, we just friends', everyone was convinced it was nothing more. Our last stop of the day was The Summer Palace. We were told that it was a beautiful place, but we weren't prepared for how spectacular it was! The sun was shining, I was creamed up to the max, cool shades on, and we boarded the boat to the main island. The boat was great, the water was lovely, it allowed us to get an amazing view of the Park, with all the colourful pagodas rising out of the green trees of the picturesque hill side (J.K Rowling eat your heart out!). Getting off on the the Island was just as stunning, with the famous 'Long corridor'- the longest art gallery in the world- providing us with much appreciated shade we could walk up and down and look out onto the lake and sights ahead. Despite us visiting the Great Wall and Tienanmen Square and all these other, more famous sights, this was the one which was the most memorable and breathtaking!
Sadly they wouldn't let us stay in the park that night so it was off back to the hotel for a wild night. Or just a cheeky Pizza Hut and a bevvie at our local, whilst we play cards. I know boring but, another long day ahead again tomorrow. Wish us luck!