Last Morning in Nanjiecun & Back to Beijing


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June 15th 2019
Published: August 31st 2019
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15th Jun: We weren't meeting for breakfast until rather late, so I decided to go for one last walk around. I headed over to East is Red Square, Which is right next to the hotel. It was still pretty early, but it was already hot outside. The square was really quiet, and a complete contrast to the evening before. I headed over to the large statue of Mao in the centre and got some photos. I then made my way around the four large portraits of Stalin, Lenin, Marx, and Engels. This place is definitely one of the most surreal places I've been to. Next to the square, there was a small park, that I hadn't been to yet, so I took a look around there. It was pretyy quiet, too. Only a few old people and some of them had thwir grandchildren with them. The park would be a nice place to linger with a book if it was a little cooler, and if I had more time. I made my way back to the hotel to stand under my air con for a bit to cool down.

We headed out through the gate into the adjoining city, it's
Josef StalinJosef StalinJosef Stalin

East is Red Square, Nanjiecun
funny how as soon as you walk through the gate, the atmosphere and noise level changes. I made sure to some photos of the murals that are om display on thr inside of the gate as they are pretty unique. We found a restaurant not far away and ordered some bowls of noodles. I had some really nice noodles with lamb in a creamy broth covered with corriander. They were really yummy, I just wished that there had been more lamb. We returned to the hotel and grabbed our bags and called a Didi to take us back to the train station in Luohe. I had really enjoyed my time in Nanjiecun. It was eye opening, in a good way, and I got to see a totally different side to China, and to see what it was like in the past. I'm glad that some collectivist communities still exist. Back at the train station, we still had a bit of time before our train was due, but it was too hot to venture outside. While we were in the train station, we decided to try one of the local snacks meant to give you a buzz. I think it is
Vladimir LeninVladimir LeninVladimir Lenin

East is Red Square, Nanjiecun
meant to be similar to betel nut, but I could be wrong. People are meant to chew them and then spit them out. These treats wwre wrapped in gold wrappers and inside was what looked like a piece of tree bark with red blob inside it. I put the whole thing in my mouth and started to chew, it was a bit awkward at first. I can't remember the taste, but it was pretty strong. I chewed it for a while, but the buzz was pretty minimal and I was happy to go spit it out in the bin.

We arrived back in Beijing in the early evening. Our hotel was a short walk away from the train station, very handy. After dropping our stuff, and a quick change, we headed out for some dinner. We took a Didi to Sanlitun and went to a restaurant that sold duck. After only seeing one other foreigner on our travels, it was a bit weird to be surroundrd by so many and to hear so much English conversation. The duck were ordered was simply delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There's no greater taste than biting into to freshly cooked duck
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East is Red Square, Nanjiecun
skin. I think I love the taste of the skin more than the meat. We also ordered a few other dishes, the stand out one being the potato dish. It looked so good when it arrived that another table ended up ordering it. The raste didn't disappoint either. Feeling rather full, we headed out for a walk around Sanlitun. Since it was a Saturday night, the place was jumping. We ended up at an outside bar for a drink. I really wanted to try the peanut beer they sold, but it was ridiculously overpriced. I settled for something dark and heavy, which wasn't a great choice. Then it was a cab back to the hotel to get ready for an early morning.

16th Jun: We were up early as we were heading to Chairman Mao's Mausoleum. First stop was McDonald's for breakfast. The first Western food I'd had in almost a week. The coffee helped to wake me up and I love hash browns so I was content with that. Then we took the subway to Tiananmen Square. I have been to Tiananmen Square quite a few times, but never been to the Mausoleum, probably because it involves getting
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East is Red Square, Nanjiecun
up early, which is something I struggle with. Also, you are allowed to take nothing into the mausolseum with you, which is normally a bit awkward when travelling alone. The queue wasn't actually too bad for the weekend, I think the rain was keeping people at bay. We joined the queue, which moved rsther quickly. I don't know if it always moves this quickly or if the rain was helping to speed up the process. We had to show our passports to be admitted, I can't remember if we had to show them at the mausoleum security checkpoint or just the security checkpoint to get on to Tiananmen Square. Some people in the queue had flowers to lay before Chairman Mao. It was very different to visiting the Kims in Pyongyang, a lot more relaxed. There wwre guards inside to keep us moving and were only really got a brief glimspe of Chairman Mao. We came out the other side of the building and it was all over. The atmosphere, here, was a lot lighter than visiting Kumsusan Palace of the Sun.

We headed back aound onto the main part of Tiananmen Square, which was filled with tourists. We
Chairman Mao StatueChairman Mao StatueChairman Mao Statue

East is Red Square, Nanjiecun
could see Mao's portrait hanging on Tiananmen Gate, the entrance to the Forbidden City. We then headed across to the National Museum. After showing our ID to get tickets at an outside booth,we headed to the museum's main enterance. The museum is absolutely huge and we definitely didn't have time to see or do it all, so we stuck to two of the main galleries. I think the first exhibition we saw was 'The Road to Rejuvenation', which displays How China has changed and developed since the Opium War until the present day. The exhibition was huge and there was a lot to take in. Some of the stuff had been covered in Shaoshan, but there was a lot of new information and, of course, some glaring omissions. I definitely need to return to see everything again as I'm sure I forgot a lot of it. The second exhibition we saw was 'State Gifts: Historical Testament to Friendly Exchanges'. I enjoyed looking around this gallery as there was a lot less propaganda and just lots of artifacts on display. It wad interesting to see the gifts that had been given to China and what each country sees as a good gift. On our way out, we came across a smaller temporary exhibition (at least I think it was), this room was filled with sculptures of famous Chinese people. I was rather pleased with myself that I was able to identify a few of them correctly.

We hopped on the subway and headed across to the Military Museum. I really love that most of the big museums are free, although it does mean that they are busy it's nice that they can be enjoyed by the masses. Once again, after showing our ID we were given a ticket. The building didn't really look that special from the outside, and I couldn't really judge its size, so I was surprised at how big it was. We entered into the main hall, which had loads of different aircraft and rockets on display. I know nothing about planes, but it was still interesting to take a look around. We wandered from exhibition hall to exhibition hall. I was impressed thst the museum had so much on display. I definitely need to go back in the future and look around again. There was just so much to take in. I really liked the military
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East is Red Square, Nanjiecun
themed art. We had back rather a lot into the morning.

We headed back to the station for a final lunch. We went to a random restaurant near the station and ordered some dishes to share. The food was pretty good, better than I thought it would have been for such an establishment. I did enjoy the entertainment provided by another table that were kicking off over their bill. We ate and drank beers before returning to the hotel. I collected my bag and made my way back to reality, the holiday now over.


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East is Red Square, Nanjiecun
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