Sunday, April 26, 2009

Beijing here we come!

Well, we got up this morning ate our last breakfast in Tianjian, we are gonna miss that hotel :(. anyway. checked out. Met our Driver and off we went. About an hour and a half drive to Beijing. Not much to look at, fields and fields. We drove in a VW car, driver didn't speak any english, and hey we dont speak any chinesse, talk about trust. Driving into Beijing, you start to see signs about roads, There are 6 rings roads around the city. Think 285 in Atlanta times 6! its mind blowing. Anyway, made it into town, We are staying at the Holiday Inn Express Temple of Heaven. New hotel that opened week before the Olympics. It is in a Local part of town within walking distance to the Temple of Heavan, and if we get adventurous, we could walk to Tinenaman Square, but doubt Karen will want to walk it. Cab rides here are very cheap.

We checked in and felt good about the check in. I booked this hotel online a few months ago and was taking a leap of faith I made the right choice. Of course nothing will ever compare to what we just checked out of in Tianjian. I guess I could have booked something like that hotel in Beijing, but really didn't want to spend that much. When we checked in, there was a film crew there filming scenes for the hotel for a commercial. I didnt pay any attention to them until after I check in, got my key and turned around and they were filming me and Karen. We were a little surprised> they lady in charge just said no worries, just shooting a commercial. Guess we will be famous here one day. Room was nice, very small. some nice things, Bathroom smells a bit, but everywhere in china seems to smell a little like this. Signs over the water facet say don't drink, Even the chinesse dont drink the water here. They have bottled water for you in the hotel room.

After a short rest, nap for me, we headed out on our own. Walked to Temple of Heaven, which was a nice walk. Chinesse people everywhere visiting this Park,Temple. Its like americans going to D.C. I guess. The Temples, building were amazing. We spent about two hours walking around and got some great pics.

Left Temple of Heaven and got a cab, and went to the Pearl Market. Walked in and I was right in my element. Loved every minute of it. People shouting to come look at their stall. Every stall was the same. Watches everywhere, shoes, clothes, Iphones, electronics. you name it, it is for sale here. A friend from my sunday school comes to beijing a lot and told me where to go and who to look for on the first floor and even sent me a watch of his that was broken. Sure enough I found the guy, told him who sent me and he wisked us away to his store out back? We left the building and walked down this back alley, Karen was very nervous, i kept telling her this is what we were suppossed to do. He was taking us to the really good Fakes, anyway you can see the pics. after passing some chickens, some lady selling big bottles of beer, and some locals playing some kind of chinesse checkers. we made it to this little 8 by 8 room. Full of Watches, Ties, Sunglasses, etc. Peter started fixing the broken watch and pulled out several cases for me to look through. I found two that i wanted, bought one for Coach Gibbons, and talked karen into getting one. Didn't have to haggle since he new that David had sent me. I just told him what I was going to pay and he said that is fine. I'm sure he still made money, but i felt good about it. As we were looking Peter's wife brought in three Big German Guys. They were a bit nervous to come in, but when they saw us in there, they came on in and started shopping.

We then went back in and looked for the kids northface jackets, we had trouble finding small sizes, so don't know it they will fit, or really how long they will last. but it was fun getting them, The sales girl was very pleasant. spoke about 7 languages, Her parents didn't speak english, they owned the stall but she did all the talking. I looked at Tommy Bahama shirts, Polos, Hilfiger, you name it they have it. all fakes but really looked good. didn't buy any though.

We then headed over to buy a bag to put all this stuff in, and the dolls karen bought in Tianjian, We bought a doufel bag, she started at 800 yuan, i said 70 and away we went, I really worked her, I finally gave in at 140. that is 20 bucks US. I'm sure it will fall apart, but hopefully will get me home, it is a swiss bag with wheels. They are very good and haggeling, the key for me was to get my final price and smile and say, sorry last price, They would say , your killing me, no profit, and grab you as you walk away. then after the deal she would say you hard dealer, your mean. Pretty much if they sell it to you. then they made money, but i was satisfied with what I got it for. All this takes place with a calculator, so as not to tip off anyone else that might be listening. She would type, then I would take it and type my price. It was a lot of fun.

Karen has already made comments about my blog today that the real history part of seeing the Temple of Heaven was about three sentences, and the Pearl Market experience is two full paragraphs. Hey I have my priorities straight. I was here to shop. Almost bought a ipod but didnt feel like it would really work. It looked real, but so did the Iphone's, "works in america" is what they would say. I told them no thanks,

After cab ride back to hotel. we rested and then headed for the Quanjude Peking Duck, it was a short 10 yuan ride, about 1.50 US and we headed right in. This is a famous place to eat duck and is a must if you are in Beijing. We went up to the second floor, Very crowed, looked at the menu, couldn't figure anything out and the waitress walks up and says, "you want special" . we said OK.

The Special was a 9 piece meal, and by looking around, was what most people were eating. Of course we were the only americans around. Just chinesse people. We just smile a lot and they look at us with curiosity. Meal starts coming.

First : two colds. Duck Wing (raw we think) we both tried it, couldn't get past it was called duck wing, interesting texture, really didn't care for it, but tried it. Also had cucumber in a sauce, it was good,

Next was Shark Fin soup. Not bad, interesting. bland.

Then, Spicy Shrimp Dish. pretty good, we ate all of it.

Next, Chinesse Kale, lettuce type

then, cook came to table and cut Duck in front of us. They bring small thin pancakes in a bamboo steamer and plum sauce.

Last was Cake, Cookie (strange) and Fruit. It was a good meal. Duck was great. Will eat small dives now and pay fraction. You can eat for 3 bucks here and be stuffed. That is what we will do tommorrow.

Cab ride back to hotel was interesting. We hailed two cabs, and neither knew where the hotel was. We then find a nice man who said yes. So we went and he pulled up to the Temple of Heaven east entrance. 12 yuan. (about 2 bucks) We got out thinking our hotel was around the corner. Well it wasn't. I said to Karen, Lets just walk a bit and see if we recognize anything.. Well that is what is different about men and women. See, I liked the challenge of walking and exploring. Well Karen, Not so much. after about a 20 minute walk, and her not talking to me for a while. I decided to try another cab. again, cab didn't know where to go, so we didn't get in. Finally one nice cab driver said yes, i take you. He didn't know where to go either. So I asked him to Call hotel. In China, you always carry a card for where you want to go. I had the hotel card, so he called and couldn't get through. I finally just took the phone from him and called myself. finally getting the hotel on the phone. we were close. Apparently if we would have walked the other way we would have made it, of course I choose to walk in the wrong direction. Anyway, heard about that one for a while. Women are always right. Women are always right. We made it back.

Tommorrow is Great Wall Day. We have arranged a Private Guide who Stacia recommended. He is meeting us tommorrow in the lobby with a private car. Two hour ride to wall. at least we will have a guide. Hopefully will stop and see the Olympic Stadiums and get many pics. Sorry for writing so long. Karen is fast asleep, so she can't read through it and check it for me, so I'm sure there are many gramatical errors. Hope I didn't bore you to much. Off to bed.


  1. ooh yay! great wall! sounds like quite the adventure - enjoy enjoy!!

  2. what great pictures! we are praying for you here at Trinity UMC!!
    Laura Eanes

  3. Coop - I thought your blog for this day was absolutely wonderful (even though Karen didn't proof it for you!) ...I felt like I was there in the shops haggling over the prices with you! Can't wait to hear more about your adventures in China!