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Published: October 11th 2010
For the National Holiday, we get a whole week off. On day one, Helen and I had planned an excursion into Benxi to just explore it. We made it to lunch, a pedicure and a nap. The pedicure, however, was rather interesting. It was more like we walked into a foot clinic. They let your feet soak and then aid your toes; to check for ingrown nails and such. They cut your toe nails with a knife and then scrape the dead skin on the bottom of your foot with the same knife. It was an interesting experience to say the least. I wonder if that's how it works around here? We were going to get our toe nails painted after our nap, but I didn't make it out of bed til this morning...and the day is gloomy with high chance of rain.
I'm glad we decided not to go to Shanghai this week after our disastrous Beijing adventure. I am finally getting used to things here and I think a full week of no work and just hanging out will really help. We might do a day trip to Shenyang, which is an hour away by train and definitely
the infamous water caves. There must be holiday festivities going on somewhere around here too...
So Beijing...the main problem of this trip was the fact that we went without our passports. Helen, having traveled most of Asia, assumed that a copy of our passports would be fine to check in to a hotel. However, China operates very differently from any other country in the world, we have learned. Two days before we left, we submitted our passports to the Benxi police department to get our resident visas. This would take 5-7 days. So we spent almost the first entire day in Beijing trying to find a hotel that would take our expert cards (foreign teacher certificates) and/or our copies of our passport. Finally we went to a travel agency who was able to find us a hotel and a tour of the Great Wall the next day. This hotel was not only expensive compared to what we would have paid somewhere else, but it was also out of the way. Regardless, we were relieved to have a place to stay rather than crashing in some 24 hour bar. We then proceeded to shower, relax and nap before heading out
to explore some of Beijing. The evening turned out rather well. So well in fact that we didn't make it back until 4:30 am, after going through at least 10 taxis that refused to take us to our hotel. We slept til noon and missed our tour, but we decided to go to T'ianenmen Square to make up for it. All I can say is at least we went. And I have pictures to prove it. The cherry on top? Our train home left at 7:05 am. We saw it leaving as we came down the stairs...
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