70 hours in Beijing Part Two
Second Day in Beijing
We were up early for our next day's touring and went down for breakfast again in the restaurant. One thing that never impresses me is a Chinese breakfast - and we found it difficult to find anything. Tea, yes, cereal yes, and boiled eggs and a whole range of traditional Chinese fare, which didn't look appetising to us, so we picked and ate some biscuits.
Our tour guide and bus arrived on time, but we were to be disappointed. No airconditioned bus as promised - and paid for - but a dungy little bus with no leg room for the foreigners on board. Not happy. Nothing we could do but complain.
Our first visit was the Ming Tombs - essentially it is a museum with some quite extraordinary exhibits and very well laid out. One could have spent hours there. Apparently there are several tombs dotted through the hill side but only one is open to the public.
The area around the Ming Tombs is very dry country side - it looked pretty desolate to us, but of course it was the end of winter (and a prolonged cold spell at that) so there were few leaves on all the trees going up to the tomb area. Acres of fruit trees waiting for the warmer weather were planted along the side of the roads, which were very busy as it was a long weekend.
After the Ming Tombs we had two more visits - one to a Jade place where we were pressured to part with our money for some amazing jade jewelry and artifacts, and one to a traditional Chinese Medical centre.
Our tour guide was one of the disciples of this type of medicine, and explained the round red mark on her forehead, which was from a suction cup the day before to cure her headache. Here English was pretty poor and along with the lousy bus, she did not impress us.
Anyway we were told that a medical professor would examine us, but feeling our pulse, looking at our tongue and eyes, and making a diagnosis and suggesting treatment. We were all ushered into a room and a Chinese girl explained the routine again, and then announced "Here comes the professor now." A beautiful Chinese girl appeared. Hardly a professor!! And we were right. Followed closely by was the "professor" - in fact there were two famous professors, and we each in turn submitted to the "examination" and each were recommended some strange treatment. We all declined, and later in the bus compared our "diagnosis" - all pretty much the same, really. Good for a laugh.
We had lunch at the Jade place - and it was a disappointment. Yukky really, but we ate what we could before boarding the bus and heading up the mountains to Badaling.
There are several places to view and walk on the Great Wall, and Badaling is where the tourists are generally taken. It is crowded, treacherous, and amazing.
(Recommend visiting during the week - not a choice that we had!)
We did go up on a cable car which saved the legs a lot, and then when we got out it was wall to wall visitors. I climbed up for quite a distance. The steps were uneven and slippery in parts and I wondered how they'd get me down if I broke my leg, so I declined going all the way to the top. There are other and better places to see the wall, but I have been on it and I am impressed.
How the Chinese did it all those years ago is amazing!!! It is truly awesome!!
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