Temple of Heaven

15 04 2010

Our last day in Bejing. After our afternoon yesterday we were a little tired of the place- the spitting, the dirt, the crowds and the hassling people. Mao’s Mausoleum had a line of tour groups doubled around it so we didn’t worry about visiting it. We walked from our hostel to the Temple of Heaven. It seems like the whole place- all the buildings and gardens- were all built just for animal sacrifice rituals to heaven. The ‘whispering wall’ might have been fun if there weren’t so many other people yelling at the wall…

We took the subway out to a northern district, with the plan on visiting the Summer Palace and having lunch at place in the area. As it was, the restaurant was about a 1km walk from the nearest subway exit (the blocks were really big) and they had minimal English. We finally figured out that it was buffet for 39 yuan each. We took small plates each and helped ourselves to some dishes, but then the staff took it upon themselves to bring over more plates to our table. Obviously, if we can’t speak Chinese, we can’t help ourselves to a buffet! So they put little burners with a stock and tomatoes on our table, then 3 big plates of greens, fungus and tofu to put in the boiling water until it cooks (cook yourself then eat). Then they brought over a plate of 5 cakes for our dessert, followed by a big plate of fruit. We were so stuffed by the end of it!

We felt too full and tired to continue walking all around the Summer Palace so decided to go straight back to the hostel. We collected luggage and washing then headed off again for dinner at Loving Hut. There was meant to another branch close by so we tried to find it but couldn’t and ending up eating at the same place as 2 days ago. They seemed to be happy to have us back and even gave us a take away bag of extra food for our journey, telling us to come back if we are in Beijing again.

Another crowded subway ride and a walk to the West Beijing station to where the overnight train to Xi’an departed. We found our waiting room and boarded our soft sleeper carriage. Fortunately the other passengers above us when straight to sleep and weren’t noisy at all.

So far our idea of China has been dirty, noisy, crowded and pushy with lots of spitting and smoking. On the upside, its cheap and the food is tasty.

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