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Published: January 30th 2008
Relaxing with The Works for feet!
Judy had to talk Rags into this but he did enjoy it!
Saturday 26th January Happy Australia Day!
Arriving at the station just before 7am we headed straight to the subway, amazingly finding an entry right out the front. This wasn't the way we had come when we left Beijing previously but we didn't complain.
We stopped at the dumpling shop not far from our hotel for breakfast so it was almost 8am when we reached the hotel. What a lovely welcome we had - a smiling; “You're back”! We were quickly shown to a room similar to our last stay and we collected our cases and did some repacking so we knew how much room was left to fill.
After showers we debated where to go, Judy suggesting the Summer Palace, a site we'd left until this visit but Rags (surprise) suggested that we go to Sanlitun Yashou Clothing Market for MORE shopping which is what we did! We were there so long we ate lunch and dinner upstairs in a clean, well organised food hall. Part of the time was spent on the 4th floor where we found a very popular spot and we spent a couple of hours enjoying foot massages, pedicures and hot oil treatment,
a bit of a luxury! This five story building has everything from jumpers and outdoor clothes to jewelry and carpets! We had a bit of fun bargaining for items for ourselves and gifts.
It was after 8pm when we arrived back in our room and when we'd finished unpacking our shopping Rags went straight to bed as he still felt unwell, leaving Judy to relax and write up the blog. Another long, busy day!
Sunday 27th December
Lots of noise disturbed us at about 0400, yelling and the banging of doors. This continued for an hour or so, thankfully stopping at about 0500. We found out later it was the hotel staff who were off on their Spring break, back to their families for the Chinese New Year celebrations.
Later in the morning we saw on the news that transport in the south of China was chaotic due to snowstorms and buses not running. We got out just in time.
Panjiayuan markets, (aka the Dirt markets or Sunday markets) were our first stop today. A subway ride followed by our first bus ride in Beijing saw us there. The first impression we had
from seeing the market was that it was like the swapmeets we have at home, only about 20 times bigger and 40 times busier. It had a fantastic atmosphere, no-one appeared to be in a hurry and you weren't being hassled by sellers. Wares for sale included Cultural Revolution memorabilia, antiques, artwork, vases, jewelry, and the usual knick-knacks. We didn't buy much here as our bags are already reaching their limit. If they hadn't been, many interesting objects could have been purchased.
As it was lunchtime, and there was no food on sale in the market area, we went into the town area where we found a street of restaurants. In front of us were 3 Westerners who looked as if they knew where they were going so we followed them to one. Not a word of English was spoken but we ended up with an eggplant & capsicum dish, pancakes stuffed with spring onion & egg, and another dish we have no idea what it was except it was like rice balls covered in sesame seeds in a honey sauce. All were delicious. We met the other group on the way out, Victorians, the daughter living in the
area for past 7 years.
A bus ride back to the Silk House, not for any particular reason, but the bus passed it and to have another look! Great intentions, but we left a couple of hours later with another jacket, tops, toys, mah-jong set, etc, goodness knows how we'll get it all into our bags! Not another thing is to be bought on this trip!
Monday 28th January
Today we finally made it to the Summer Palace! We had an interesting conversation on the subway with a girl from Ohio who was working in Beijing teaching a Chinese actress English so she could star in an American film. What a great job. She doesn't start work until 1pm each day either.
The Summer Palace covers a huge area of which Kunming Lake, occupying three quarters of the whole area, is the focal point. The ice was so thick people were walking across it so of course we joined them. A little slippery but ok once you get the hang of it. Maybe the reason why many Asians we have seen at home shuffle their feet as this was the surest way to walk
on the slippery surface.
The main part of the palace buildings were built high on the hill where they had good views and would have caught any cooling breezes during the hot days. There was a slight breeze today and we soon worked out why it was the “summer' palace as in winter it was bitterly cold.
On the way back we had time for Judy to have a Chinese haircut. This being preceded by a neck and head massage by a junior.
A quick shower and final pack at our hotel and we were off for a quick meal. Rags didn't fancy another Chinese, nor did we have time for one so we ate at Macca's - always one nearby!
The car we had booked to take us and all our luggage to the airport was awaiting us on our return. An easy trip with no traffic jams saw us at the airport well before 8pm for our 10pm flight. Judy spent some time browsing the few duty free shops that were open, apparently Qantas flights to Australia don't warrant the opening of most of them.
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