*This was written while I was in Beijing but for some reason I never posted it*
Hey guys, just a little update even though I just put out a post a couple days ago. As the title suggests I am in downtown Beijing at a hostel. It’s quite cold here.
Today I got a mandarin speaking guide to bring me to the Great Wall of China! I walked around and took a bunch of pictures. Unfortunately it has been raining all day and the great wall was completely shrouded in the fog. You couldn’t see very far. A huge bummer for me but there were virtually no tourists so a large majority of my pictures have no tourists in them. It was interesting seeing the wall when it was foggy.
While taking pictures of the wall engulfed in fog. It got me wondering, when the soldiers sat upon this wall, waiting for the Mongolians to attack. Is this what they saw a majority of the time? Overcast skies, fog thicker than pea soup, and a cold you could feel in your heart. Is that what it felt like? I’m sure it did. I could imagine the soldiers, on their normal patrols. Sipping tea out of a glass cup, ready to fire their arrows at a moments notice. It made me feel involved in a part of the history that was made on this wall.
Anyway, it was a lot of fun. I have tomorrow almost planned out as well. It’s going to be a long, fun-filled day! I have 3 large tourist spots I’m going hit up. Tianenmen Square, Lama temple, and temple of heaven. The Forbidden City is also on my list but it is closed on Mondays so I’m gonna try and see it really quick before my flight on Tuesday. I’m very excited. I plan on buying nothing. I got totally ripped off at the Great wall today for some souvenirs. If I buy anything, it’ll be post cards but that’s it. I’m so mad at myself but it is what it is so I just need to move forward. I brought only a specific amount of money with me and I need to make it last for 6 more days. On Tuesday I will be traveling to a highly restricted country with a tour agency. They will be showing me around. I’d much rather spend money there than here.
Beijing is beautiful but scamming is a common thing here. Right when I got off the plane I had already been swarmed by pushy taxi drivers. I found out when I got to my hostel that taxi drivers tend to seek out foreigners, over-charge them for the taxi ride, then give them fake money if the taxi driver needs to give change back. It’s crazy! I’m glad I mapped out how to get to my hostel before hand. I would have had to get a taxi if I didn’t. The internet is highly restricted here, so don’t expect any updates on twitter, I can’t access my GPS either. Life will go on for me I assure you.
I need to be very careful and stick to my guns about things. Shop owners, taxi drivers, and street vendors are all ruthless. They get right up in your face and will not leave you alone. Fine by me, that’s a fight they will not win. This sort of aggressive environment makes me wonder how ANYONE would ever want to come to this city. The sites are cool and all but the level of scamming really hurts my overall experience and makes me never want to come back. I’ve already made the decision that I will come back one more time with my mom, dad, brother, and (this is at least 10 years from now) my wife and kids. Cover the bases and see everything with my loved ones and then never return.
I hope you enjoyed! Have a wonderful day!