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May 6th 2019
Published: July 26th 2019
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Day 3 - May 6th - Beijing – Jade Museum, Great Wall, Hutongs, Silk market

After another delicious breakfast buffet at the hotel, we headed out to see the Great Wall of China. First though was the compulsory stop at the Jade Factory. We saw people carving small items and a showroom with massive sculptures. Lots of tourists and lots of bargains to be had, but we came out empty handed.

Next we arrived at the Great Wall. A perfect 26 degrees and blue sunny skies. We were feeling fresh and energetic. This lasted for about 50 meters! We had not factored in that we would have to climb so many steps! All uneven so you really couldn’t get into any sort of rhythm! Anyway we persevered and climbed to a decent level before I gave up. Barry however kept going, head down and one foot after the other to the heady level 9. Quite amazing for someone who had a hip replacement approx 10 weeks ago! (The problem is that the steps are uneven heights. The one brick level at 125mm is quite easy, the two level at 250mm more difficult; but the three level a nightmare).

In the afternoon there was an optional organised tour on offer ($70 each) to the Houtong district, but we had decided to do it under our own steam and save some money. Which proved to be challenging/rewarding and with the help of Google Translate, some friendly locals, and a pedicab driver who tried to rip us off (and probably did for $10) we found our way around alright. This was a village on a lake in the old part of the city. Beijing today is quite modern with everyone living in large apartment buildings. Houtongs is where you can see the more traditional style housing and shops. We also stumbled onto a large temple area which was a square with many temples around it, devoted to different dieties. Then we headed for the metro to go to an attraction called The Silk Market. Anticipating a street type market with small stalls etc, we were staggered to arrive at a 4 storey building almost the size of Knox City.

Barry chose to park himself at a coffee shop and I went exploring by myself, determined not to get lost! An hour later I found Barry again after purchasing a dressing gown and 6 silk scarves! ( Barry’s comment – the 6 scarves cost $20. On the way out another street vendor offered Rhon 12 scarves for $10. Ripped off again !!) Outside the market, we could have bought many genuine Rolex watches – a real bargain, only $20 each or 2 for $30!

A tiring day – seem to have walked endlessly, so we opted for an easy dinner at the nearest option, which was a fairly upmarket mall with lots of food options – Rhon settled for some Sushi and Barry enjoyed Nachos with everything but melted cheese (must remember that).

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