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Published: July 11th 2006
A view of the park's greenery
After the Great Wall yesterday, we didn't feel like finding another hotel since ours didn't have vacancies for the night, so we crashed with Edwin, Jerrell, and Laura at the Peninsula Hotel, the nicest hotel in Beijing. But we stayed out all night anyway at a bar watching the world cup games. For some reason the Taxis went on strike for a few hours that nigh, though, so we took a couple of tuk tuks. We agreed on a price of 20RMB per tuk tuk, but then halfway to our destination the drivers decided to change the price to 100RMB each. I told them to fuck off and left, then found a cab who would take us.
First we went to this outdoor area where there was this HUGE tv screen with lots of people watching England v. Portugal, then went to that club/bar for the Brazil v. France game. Both the teams I wanted to win lost. Oh well. We were out until after sunrise, and we only went back to the hotel because Edwin was drunk enough that he was starting to cause trouble and would have gotten in a fight if we didn't drag him away. We
Not really sure what this flower is, but a lot of the Chinese people were taking pictures of them, so I thought I'd join the party.
got back to the hotel around 5:30 am and Edwin caused a huge ruckus in the room, waking Jerrell and Laura who had already gone back. So when Edwin proceeded to start mooning everyone, Jerrell grabbed Edwin's belt and started whipping his ass with it. Pretty funny stuff. I got a short video clip of the beginning of it, with Chuck beating Edwin with a pillow. All was god and fun until Edwin hit his lip on the corner of the nighstand and started bleeding everywhere. Not that it was a serious injury, just a bloody one. We finally got him to stay in one place and go to sleep after that.
Today I spent the day on my own - the rest of the group crashed at our third hotel of the trip, the Taiwan Hotel, being too tired from the night before. On a Sunday afternoon it was a perfect day to visit Beihai Park and see all the Chinese families picnicking and paddle boating. Plus the park had nice scenery.
From the park I went to the Forbidden City (officially called the Palace Museum). Luckily I had my Chinese Student ID, since it cut the
The tuk tuks we were on before they tried to rip us off.
admission price from 60RMB to 20RMB - a pretty little savings of about 5 USD. Not too shabby. The city itself was sort of boring to me after seeing the Temple of Heaven a couple days ago - all the architecture is pretty much the same in these ancient temples and palaces, no matter what century they seem to have been built in. Not much innovation here (and it's the same today - the modern architecture and transportation technology stuff is copied from Hong Kong, the media is copied from the US, the fashion is copied from Europe, etc. China is a culture of copycats). Still, the gardens were really cool, and if I'd had time to see some of the exhibits, they might have been cool too.
After the Forbidden City I was supposed to meet up with Chuck and the rest of the group outside the front ticket counter for the flag ceremony at 7pm, but the City closed at 5pm. To kill time, I visited an art gallery of student and professor art from a nearby university that was in Tiananmen Square, and then hung out by the gate and talked to the random Chinese people
The world cup at the outdoor screen, England v. Portugal
who wanted to practice their English by talking to me. When the military guards started to prepare for the ceremony and the crew hadn't arrived, I got a little anxious - all of our cell phones had run out of minutes so I had no way of knowing where they were or what hotel they were at (since they figured that out only after I left them that morning). After I started to panic a little, I decided that maybe they couldn't get into the square since the guards had blocked it off a little earlier, so I walked out. I panicked a little more when I saw the HUGE masses of people. Yet somehow I lucked out because Chuck managed to spot me from across the street (a very big street at that). We watched the flag ceremony, where they take down the flag for the night, and headed back to the hotel.
For dinner we went to this restaurant to get Peking duck, and walked out when we saw the price - 198RMB. We asked a local street vendor where we could get good duck after we bought a phone card from her. She pointed us to
The world cup at Brown's, a bar mostly patroned by foriegners, Brazil v. France.
a restaurant about a 15 minute walk away, and we decided the duck sort of sucked. But the fried lamb we got was AMAZING. It made the whole trip worth it. I wish I could remember what it was called. Tian Tian or something like that, near the Taiwan Hotel through a back alley.
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