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Published: December 1st 2010
21/8/10: We flew from Urumqi to Beijing. The flight cost us a fortune 2100yuan each. We had to fly because all the train tickets were booked out. We arrived at 1:00am in the morning. As we waited for our baggage I realised that my Aussie hat and sun glasses were missing. I had the airport lost and found ring our plane but there was no sign of the hat. I was upset more about the glasses than the hat as there was a new shipment being sent to our friend in Germany.
We had to pay 100yuan to get to the hostel, all the public transport closed at 11:00pm, again we forked our more money. By the time we were in bed it was 2:30am.
22/8/10: I had a great sleep in the air-conditioning but for some reason Jacinta just could not sleep. We woke up around 8:30am, it was earlier than we wanted too but it so we could go to Tienanmen square and the Forbidden city before the big crowds came. It was only a quick bus ride into the square costing 1yuan each; bargain. We got off at the last stop and tried to walk through the
crowd of people, there were people absolutely everywhere. We still weren’t sure if we were actually in Tienanmen or not, there were no signs so we just walked around. Finally we managed to ask a westerner confirming that this was indeed Tienanmen Square and the Forbidden City was behind. We made our way through the thousands of people still not knowing where the entrance was. It wasn't hard to find, we just had to look for the 200m line packed with Chinese tourist. We didn't want to wait around so we paid 2yuan to get into the palace gardens instead. Before we even entered a Chinese student man tried to scam us by looking at his art collection that was on display. The scam is noted in the Lonely Planet, it’s basically an attempt to lure you into the art display, they then tried hard selling tactics to buy his art or others art at inflated price. I was unaware of the scam at first until later. He tried to get us to go but as usual I was stubborn enough and played dumb until he got the message.
We walked through the gardens looking at the 500 plus year
old cypress trees. We then ventured outside placing ourselves right in front of another entrance to the Forbidden City. We must have discussed the pros and cons of going into the city for 15mins. The entrance fee was 60yuan each (roughly $10Aus), it sounds stupid but we actually debated on if we wanted to waste 120yuan to go in. We came to our senses and paid the money. We entered into the city following the crush of people. When we got inside the main yard we were impressed by the size of the grounds and the buildings. The buildings were extremely beautiful, coloured with many different designs under the eaves. This is as far as it got for us, everywhere we went it all looked the same, same style buildings and similar courtyards. We walked around the huge grounds emerging back out the exit an hour or so later. The crowd got so bad that we had to shuffle our feet just so we didn't trip on the person in front. Knowing what I know now we wasted our money going in but we had to do it; you cant come the Beijing and not see the Forbidden City, there
is too much history and its too important to the Chinese to miss it. I think our lack of impression comes down to our travel fatigue and the fact that we could not have been bothered to do anything or see anything. Even the lack of interest in finding out about the history made for a short blog. In some ways it was hard to find out about the Forbidden City because there was no history boards to explain what it was all about. We came out knowing just as much as when we went in.
23/8/10: Caught up on internet, ate yummy food and did a shit load of shopping.
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