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Published: July 15th 2013
The adventure has begun! Boarded our flight with no problems. China Air was fine, usual slightly cramped economy seats, but it was all Ok. The flight was 11 and half hours and we got a little bit of sleep (I watched three movies). Our driver met us as we exited the customs area, even though we had told him to meet us about an hour later. He was a little confused when we tried to leave our big suitcases at the airport but after a quick phone all to his boss it was all sorted.
The trip to the Great Wall took about an hour. Weather was warm but very hazy. When we arrived at the car park we couldn't see the wall because of the haze. We bought tickets for the cable car up and the toboggan down and set off. It really is quite amazing when you think of the time, effort and people that must have been involved to build it. It dates from around 1400BC! Unfortunately the haze blocked any spectacular views from the wall but the wall itself was amazing. We climbed some very steep steps, used our first Asian squat toilet (yuk) and sweated
The toboggan down was good fun, although the Chinese couple in front of us were very slow! We found our driver after surviving the gauntlet of cheap trinket sellers (very pushy) and we headed to the Ming tombs where we had a pleasant walk through the park pavilions.
We were then dropped off at Beijing West train station. Wow, this place was big and crowded. I asked a policeman if we were in the right place to collect our tickets, he said follow me and took us for 10 minute walk to the right place! Thank goodness we asked. I collected the tickets with no problems and we then had a 5 hour wait! We went into a little takeaway place and ordered, with lots of pointing and smiling, some dumplings rice and what we thought was stir fry except it was cold!
We then found the waiting room, again huge, found a section of floor and waited. We were the entertainment for all our fellow travellers! They all stared at us and smiled. One young girl asked Emily to help her with her English and had her photo with her. We slowly managed to
get four seats together and continued waiting. Once it was time to board it all went smoothly, we found our hard sleeper cabin where we had two lower bunks, two upper bunks and one one middle bunk. We had a uni aged boy in the other middle bunk,but he spent most of the time with his friends. We settled in, played some cards and went to sleep. Fingers crossed that when we wake up we will be in Xian!
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