Christmas Eve, The Great Wall and Party Time
|The wall stretching off into the distance|
Once we got back into Beijing Sam and I decided to go for a celebratory Hot Chocolate and Baileys across the road at 365 Hostel where Tom and Hannah had moved to because it was far too cold over in our hostel. Sitting there, I was hearing the coffee machine preparing delicious drinks but all I could think about was it sounded like people were hacking up and ready to deposit the phlegm on the floor. I will never understand how the Chinese people think it's socially acceptable to spit everywhere, including restaurants. Prior to the Beijing Olympics in 2008, the government had implemented a no spitting law which stated that if they were caught, they would be fined a substantial amount of money. Unfortunately the habit has been a way of life for the Chinese people for too long so the law failed and the spitting continued stronger than ever. If any Chinese person is reading this please stop the incessant spitting, it's disgusting and it's wrong and I don't want to hear it when I'm trying to munch down my Peking Duck!
As it was Christmas, the very kind and hospitable staff in Leo Hostel put on a party for us in bar so I headed back across the road to change my clothes and get ready for an evening of fun and games. When I arrived at the hostel I was greeted Caué who had finally arrived from Ulan Bator. He followed the same route as me but managed to get a bed as it wasn't full (lucky git) and he got a train instead of the bus, which got him in later than the bus.
|Club House, somewhere in BJ|
|Not really a hutong but still a side street in BJ|
I headed back to 365 Hostel as I felt like I should have a soothing Baileys and Hot Chocolate and rejoice in my new instrument. When I arrived I found Thom and Hannah sitting there having a quiet drink and so I joined them and showed them my new instrument. The next half an hour turned into a flute off with all of us trying to get the best sound out of the instrument. Surprisingly Hannah was a flautist but was the last to get a sound out of it, which caused her great pain and anguish, nevertheless she would not be beaten and persisted until the flute sprung into life. We went back over to the Leo Hostel and met up with June, Karin and Caué and went to Chinese for our Christmas Dinner. The drinks then began to flow and we geared ourselves up for another fun evening of drinking.
|The Bird's Nest|
When I arrived back it was time for yet more drinks as Hannah and Thom were unfortunately leaving the next day for Japan and Sam was leaving on a jaunt round China with her family. So we began drinking again at 365 Hostel and although they were adamant they were not going to have a late night because their flight was early the next day, they managed to stay up well into the next day. We played a few drinking games but the most popular and easiest by far was a drama game Hannah and I taught the group where the group have to take turns counting but in no particular order and if two people count at the same time, they had to drink. I had never played it as a drinking game before but with a large group it was good fun. We even made Hannah and Thom race to pack their suitcases which caused great hilarity. Later we were joined by other people an Australian guy and Natalie, an English girl living in Hangzhou learning Chinese and between her and Sam I had learnt some very important sayings, Happy Christmas, Happy New Year and Terracotta Warriors.
27-28 December 2010
BANG BANG BANG, my head was hurting, my stomach was cramping, all of my body stiffened as I got up from the bathroom floor. The last three nights of heavy drinking, eating and lack of sleep had caught up on me and I was officially thoroughly hungover. I went down to the bar and consoled myself with a steaming mug of tea which the lovely Summer had graciously made and delivered for me. The only thing I did that day was go to the train station with June and Karin to buy our onward tickets to Xian for the next day and eating a McDonald's as a hangover cure. Even though my hangover had hit hard, it didn't stop us going for another drink, but this time in our bar.
At some point during my stay in Beijing, Thom, Hannah and I went to see the Tianqiao Acrobatic Company which is notably one of the best acrobatic performances in Beijing. The performance was awe inspiring and the technical difficulty that the troupe showed was spectacular. We just sat there throughout the performance gasping each time a performer jumped of their high perched and landed safely. This was the only piece of performing arts that I managed to see in Beijing and I was content as it was so good.
Leaving for Xian
Our last day in Beijing was a write off as I was completely shattered and all we did was sit around talking and watching films until we had to leave for our train. As we were leaving we had a huge problem trying to get a taxi to take us to the train station. There were plenty of them but they just refused to take us and we are still unsure why that was. We finally managed to get one after Karin smiled sweetly at the driver and got to the train station with plenty of time to spare.
As June, Karin and I boarded the train heading to Xi'an I had a smile on my face as I thought back on my time in Beijing, how great it and the fantastic people I had met. June and Karin, Thom and Hannah, Eric and Justine, Sam, Caué, Yves, Natalie, the German guys, the Russian guys and even the strange Irish guy who we couldn't understand. Without those fabulous people, Christmas wouldn't have been so good. We had so many laughs together it is hard to remember them all and it is incredibly hard to express the fun we had in this blog. Spending our days floating from the Leo Hostel to 365 with friends made it feel like home. So thank you for making it a great experience and memory!!
That's it for Beijing. There are so many things that happened whilst I was there I cannot possibly write them all down for you but it was perhaps the best part of my trip so far. Stay in tune for more on China.... Thanks, Andy.