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Published: April 28th 2010
Day one Chris's Section
At last, after volcano related delays, we're in Beijing. The flight was pretty good, but our arse cheeks had died a death by the time we arrived. We landed at 6am local time (11pm UK) and we were shattered. No sleep for me on the plane as always. Lou managed a few hours - as always. We made our way through the airport with no problems, got on the airport shuttle (25 yuan - £2.50) then onto Beijing's excellent underground system. It's very simple to navigate (English signs - yay!). It's also only 2 yuan per journey (20p!!!). An excellent way to get around.
By the way, I will be mentioning the cost of things quite often. When I was researching this trip I found it very useful when people mentioned prices/costs etc. This helped me put together my budget, so I intend to do the same for other travellers that might read my blog.
After briefly getting lost, we found our hostel, the Happy Dragon. First impressions are good. All the staff speak good English. The hostel has free wifi, is clean and has a good atmosphere. We've got a double en-suite
room (220 yuan/£22 per night). It's very clean and even has a telly.
After a few hours kip we went wandering. On a whim we got the subway to Tiananmen Square. My god, so many people! We got quite a few stares from the chinese tourists. I expected to see more westerners. I think we saw less than 10 all day. We walked into the forbidden palace grounds - huge. We didn't go into the palace itself as we were knackered and starving hungry. We're going back tomorrow.
We're doing a great wall tour on Friday. Very excited about that. The tour costs 260 yuan (£26). I'm sure we could do it cheaper ourselves, but this price includes breakfast, lunch, transport, and the wall ticket. Not too bad really.
The plan is to go to Xi'an on Sat or Sun. Yet to be decided. We really need to read out lonely planet guidebook to get a solid idea of where we are going to go. I think it's going to be an early night tonight! Bye for now. Louise's Section
Up at 5:45 at my sisters, dropped at Heathrow, wait went very quickly and
then hurrah on a plane at last, spent most of the time watching the wing for build ups of ash but all ok.
Dodgy earphones on the plane, broke me telly after 2 hours, then i-pod died, child kicking my seat most of the journey, great plane food though (I know sad). Broke buttons on my combat pants on arrival (knew the sewing kit would come in handy) passport control nearly didn't let me through, he had to mime to me to stop smiling so I looked more like my passport pic, they are bloody thorough here.
Chris got us lost finding the hostel even though we walked up the right street first time. Lovely hostel, other travellers think Chris is an alchy after having a beer at 8:45 in the morning. Tienanmen Square is immense and haven't even gone fully inside the Forbidden City yet. Got papped for the first time by a china man and one little girl was just completely agog at me.
Underground system is great, think I could even do it on my own now, just make sure you have small notes or change though for the machines. Not too much hassle
either from anyone after our money and hostel is fab. Now nursing sore feet, allergic rash to my trousers and trying so hard not to fall asleep as it's only 6:45pm at the mo. At least the snookers on the TV, should just about keep me awake for a couple more hours and even though it's been a grueling day still damn better than being at work.
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