Monday, August 31, 2009


Courtney and I have just got back from a week's backpacking in China. We had a crazy 3 days from me finishing work to getting on the plane. Even then I had problems with my working visa expiring, but as I wasn't going to be doing any work when I got back I could return to Korea on a tourist visa. Cool beans.
Our hostel was a brilliant place, nestled in one of Beijing's Hutong districts. We were about a 20 minutes walk south of Tienanmen Square so had a pretty central location. It was really strange and quite humbling to go from South Korea, where we have a foothold on the language and culture to being dropped right at the bottom of the pile again. Still we managed to fuddle along okay. Our biggest problems arose in restaurants where we seemed to be ordering too little food. Never quite figured that one out.
We had about 5 days in Beijing. We walked around Tienanmen Square, looked in at the Forbidden City, ate fried scorpions on sticks, saw the preserved body of Mao Zedong and rode bicycles. We also spent a day on the Great Wall in Simitai, a 4 hour bus ride from Beijing. It's a very steep section of the wall so can be kind of treacherous in places but means that its also fairly quiet up there. We walked along it for about a mile or so, awestruck that we were there on the Great Wall of China. Our exit strategy off the wall was via perhaps the best form of transport available: zip-line! We also took sleeper trains to and from Xian, where we were saw the terracotta warriors, 6,000 of them unearthed after 2,000 years underground. It was a stunning sight.
Despite the chronic lack of sleep, suffering from Beijing belly and not really knowing what was going on at any moment, it was a fantastic trip. The people of China came across as friendly and most spoke excellent English. The sights were everything we could have hoped for them to be. All in all it was a fantastic experience and a wonderful way to end my time in East Asia.

No comments:

Post a Comment