It's A Big World

and I'm just a squirrel trying to get a nut.

 

 

 

We went up the CC television tower for a 360 degree view of Beijing. It was quite amazing and apparently we were lucky as it was clearer than normal.  Apartment and business buildings rose from the ground as far as the eye could see. Of course that can be expected from a city with a population of nearly 18 million.

The guy squatting was an image frequently witnessed throughout China. I tried to do the squat but had a hard time standing back up!

The guys in the red hats were a tour group. I found it funny that tour groups wore the same colored hats – again, we saw groups of tourists with bright colored hats throughout Beijing…

The Hou Hai district was an interesting area of Beijing that had modern bars and restaraunts that surrounded a small lake and stream. Live music, karaoke, and interesting people made for an enjoyable afternoon/evening. Certainly a place that tourists wouldn’t know about.  Good thing I had a local to show me around.

Even though we ate at a modern restaurant, the facilities were not of western design. Note the traction on the squatty potty – don’t want to slip!

The square is situated right next to the buildings holding the top offices of the communist government. Across the street from the square is the entrance to the Forbidden City.  The square seems to be most known for the site of the Tiananmen Massacre. Primarily students and intellectuals were protesting actions of the communist government (1989) when the military stepped in and stopped the uprising through aggressive acts of violence. Some reports suggest nearly 3,000 people were killed.

I haven’t posted anything lately because of the very limited access to internet.

We flew from Beijing to Ho Chi Minh City – connecting through Hanoi.

We didn’t get to our hotel until around midnight but we managed to still explore the area.  The place we are staying is popular among backpackers so many of the business speak at least English and we see many “westerners” around the area.

We hit it hard the first night and saw the sun come up :) After a few hours of sleep we met up with some of Kevin’s friends who live in Ho Chi Minh and they showed us around for the day. We didn’t hit the night life as hard but we still managed to make a good showing.  We left to go on a tour of the Cu Chi tunnels. The Cu Chi tunnels were used by the Viet Cong before and during the Vietnam war. We took a boat up and rode the bus back. It was a great experience but it was a little bit odd hearing the story from their points of view.  When we returned to Ho Chi Minh, we went through the War Remnants Museum. Kevin’s friends told us that they just changed the name of the museum from something like “Museum of American War Crimes.” They had American fighter jets, tanks, artillery, etc. on display and there were several floors of photos taken during the war. Many of the images were very graphic and harrowing. Was really surprised they displayed some of the images…

Our schedule has been changed somewhat…we weren’t even supposed to be still in Ho Chi Minh but the other guy that was to meet us last night had some major issues with his flight. Basically, his flight was canceled to mechanical malfunction and was delayed 24 hours.

We were going to go to Phnom Phen to see the killing fields museum and then head up to Angkor Wat. Because of the delay, we are now going to fly directly to Angkor Wat and spend two full days there. Our flight leaves at 11:40am tomorrow.  Eventually we will make it Bangkok – some way, some how…

Has been a great trip!  Feeling great. Haven’t been hit with any traveling bugs – yet.

All for now…

Today was a low-key day and we used it to rest and prepare for the next week on the road.  Darren, Kevin, and I ate some McDonald’s this morning and ran around the neighborhood getting some last minute things done. Pictured is a McDonald’s delivery driver…using a bicycle of course. The other picture is one that is scene all around Beijing – a delivery driver of sorts.  It’s amazing what can be hauled on a little bicycle. Darren and Kevin had to get haircuts so I tagged along and got a head, shoulder, arm, and finger massage. Not a bad time.

We took a stroll through Kevin’s neighborhood and ate some traditional Chinese food. Actually this was the first traditional Chinese meal we’ve had since I arrived. We were going to head to the Silk Market again but didn’t want to stand outside and hail a cab in the rain. Instead we opted for watching episodes of the British version of The Office.  Pirated DVD’s of course.

We fly out at 3:45 tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon and we’ll be staying in Ho Chi Minh City Saturday and Sunday night.  After that…who knows!

Real quick post this time as we got in late last night and are heading out early today to do some last minute shopping for our trip.  We fly out Saturday morning (tomorrow).

Day 5 consisted of eating some great dumplings for lunch and then we went to JinShan Park which overlooks the Forbidden City.

We crossed the street to actually enter the Forbidden City and we found out they quit giving tickets at 4:00pm and we were there around 4:15…so Kevin told the security guard in the booth we were just going to take  a picture by the big red door at the entrance and eventually the guard agreed to let us do that.  As soon as he wasn’t looking we took off!  The Forbidden City is an outdoor labyrinth of concrete hallways and buildings. There were large concrete courtyards throughout…very cool place and the entrance fee was even better!

The picture of the guy with is shirt half way up is representative of what guys do when it is hot out.  It is so normal that this guy does it in a picture…

Earlier in the day we took the scooter in for a repair as the tire blew while I was riding on it.  We picked up the scooters and went to a hole in the wall to eat some pasta, home made chips, fried bread, lamb, and some beers.  For an entree, three appetizers, two beers, and two waters…the total bill ran around $9. Not bad.

The picture is of the outside of the dive we ate in. They cooked the bread and lamb skewers in the black thing behind the guy sitting down…