It's A Big World

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

Browsing Posts tagged China

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.

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!

Today we hit one of the eight wonders of the world, the Great Wall of China. The weather was about 15 degrees cooler than yesterday so the heat was much more bearable.  After a quick breakfast, we took a cab to get to the subway, then rode it across town to get on a bus. The bus ride was about an hour as we headed up to the mountains surrounding Beijing.  The Great Wall was amazing. To imagine how hard the peasants must have had to work to build the structure. We hiked to the highest point (in the area) with plenty of rest breaks along the way.

For dinner we went into a section of Beijing called Hou Hai. It was a trendy restaurant/bar type area that attracts many tourists. A nice lake and channel ran through the district providing a nice scene. We ate pizza and drank some beers on top of one of the restaurants.

(The pic w/ the hole in the floor is the squatty potty version of a toilet that if found throughout China…even in the McDonalds)

My Southeast Asia Adventure begins in a few days and I’m not quite sure how to pack. I need to fit everything I need for two weeks into a backpack and still leave room for any souvenirs I want to bring home with me.

The itinerary as I know it is like this:

July 2nd – Fly from KC to Chicago and then the 13 hour flight to Beijing.
July 3rd – Arrive in Bejing
July 9 or 10 – Fly to Ho Chi Minh
July 16 – Fly from Bangkok to Kansas City

What will we be doing is still up in the air. I’ve listed some of the places we may be visiting on other areas of www.schieferecke.com.

While in Beijing I will be staying with my friend and former grad school classmate, Kevin. A South Dakota native, Kevin lives in Vermillion during the academic year and lives in Beijing for two months each summer and still owns an apartment there. He knows the lay of the land, the right people, the best places to eat, and most importantly – the language.

One of Kevin’s friends that lives in China permanently will meet up with us to fly to Ho Chi Minh. Another friend of Kevin’s will be flying in to Ho Chi Minh from Sioux Falls, SD and the four of us will begin the 800 mile trek to Bangkok, Thailand. Travel arrangements have not been made but we know we must make it to Bangkok within 5 days for me to catch my flight home. All we know is that we will be crossing through Cambodia and I hope to visit the Killing Fields museum as well as travel on the Mekong river.

I’ll post more as I know more!