The China trip – summary

First off I just want to say thank you to Lisa and Lee (our tour guide and driver). Our trip wouldn’t of been half as informative, fun, and noteworthy if not for you. Thank you for showing us your incredable home.

Now for anyone who cares to know about our trip I will give you a full recap.

Sept 19th
Caught the 6AM flight out of Guam to the Kansai International Airport – in Osaka, Japan (That is the new airport that is being built on a man made island in the south of Japan. The terminal is a sculpture all by intself.) From there we flew on to Beijing. It should be noted that for some reason there were problems with my ticket… Nothing major – just enough for my husband to threaten to leave me behind while he went on the trip. He even promised to take lots of pictures for me – 😉 .

We arrived in Beijing ~ 2pm did the whole customs, immigration thing and then luckily found Lisa, our tour guide, right away. She speaks excellent English – which is more then I can say about myself. Lee – our driver – unfortunately did not speak English, but she definately knew how to drive in the craziness of Beijing traffic. Anyway – off we went to lunch (which had a small show going on at the time), to fuel up and recharge.

From there we went to the Temple of Heaven. The main building was under renovation so we didn’t get to see it – but the gardens more then made up for it. They were spectacular. As was the rest of the complex. After that we took a rickshaw ride of the small, twisting roads behind the Forbidden City. Back there a “normal” road was 6 feet wide. It is slowly turning from a poor man neighborhood – into a rich mans… It should also be noted that this area is adjacent to one of the big bar areas.

By now we are starting to crash hard (exhaustion) – so we went to dinner and then on to our hotel for the night.

Sept 20th
This was a free day for us. We spent the morning visiting the National Museum for the People. It was pretty cool but I guess I was expecting more. China has the terra cotta worriors, the history of the emporers and the beautiful artwork that went with it, many dinosaur fossil sites, ect and yet there were not exhibits for them. Many of the exhibits they did have did not allow pictures so we didn’t have as many as I would like. The rest of the day was spent shopping and eating in the back alleys off of Tian’anmen Square – haggling to our hearts content. Picked up a beautiful piece of art for my mother-in-law. She will love it.

Sept 21st
Lisa came and picked us up at around 8:30. Off we go to explore Tian’anmen Square. Chairman Mao’s Memorial Hall had a line that had to of been at least a mile long… never seen such a long line before. Walked around and giggled at the large tour groups… then moved on to the Forbidden City.

I can’t begin to tell you how incredable the Forbidden City was. We were there easily 2 – 3 hours and I could have stayed there twice as long and not seen the same thing twice. Anyway – we went to lunch after that (that lunch sucked – but such is life).

After lunch we visited a pearl “factory” – where we were shown how the Chinese cultivate fresh water pearls (and of course offered the opportunity to buy some). After that we moved on to the Summer Palace. We entered on the far side of the lake and took a “dragon boat” ride across to see the building in all of its glory. We didn’t get to see much of the main building (just the exterior) but we did see the “Long Corridor” with its magnificent paintings and some of the outer buildings. All were very cool and very crowded. Hit up a silk factory after that and picked up an all silk bed set (the quilt is even stuffed with silk). Dinner (which was excellant) and back to the hotel afterwards.

Sept 22nd
This was another free day for us and again we spent it shopping (With all the tours there is little time to go shopping except in the gift shops of the various attractions.) This time we went to Wangfujing Street (Walking Street) – one of the biggest shopping areas of Beijing. Unfortuantely it wasn’t really what we were looking for. It had all the high end stuff – Hermes, Rolex, things like that. We prefer the smaller shops.

Anyway – the clothes, silks, art, jade were all incredably cheap as compared to the states, but you have to know what you are looking for. There are more then a few fakes mixed in with the real deal.

Sept 23rd
This was our busiest day. We started out with the Great Wall. It was fabulous… well except for the fact that it almost went completely vertical. Stair Stepper had nothing on this baby. And it wasn’t like all the steps were of uniform size either… nope – a step could be 4 inches or 1.5 feet high. I only went to the third watch tower… Jason went all the way up (he only turned around because the wall started going down and he didn’t want to climb back up later). Both of us had an incredable time there and now we can mark off visiting the Great Wall from our life’s TODO list.

After the Wall our legs were rubber. Luckily it was time for lunch. The food was pretty good and we got to check out the enamal ware factory that was next door… After that it was time to go to the Ming Tombs. Again – it was beautiful… and the few steps involved really burned in our legs 😉 . From there – on to the Jade factory. Here we were shown how to distinguish between the good stuff and the not so good stuff (did you know the good jade is hard enough to scratch glass?). We picked up something for Kayla there.

After that we were supposed to see a chinese acrobat show but the matinee viewing was cancelled for the evening show. So off we go to dinner (Peking Duck – Mmmm). Then back to see the evening show of the acrobats.

The show was very good (I have an AVI file someplace – have to find it and upload it). And I would recommend it to anyone going. By the time everything was done – it was ~20:30. Time to go back to the hotel and pack for our fly out tomorrow.

Sept 24th
Eat breakfast – finish up any last minute packing and chill out… Lisa meets us at ~10AM to take us to the airport. They do things a little different there… immigration and customs goes first – before you even check into the flights. And you can only check into your flight during a designated time. Also the airlines are not grouped together (like a Continental counter). Instead you have to find the counter that will handle your flight (they airlines change out counters depending upon where the flight check-in will be which is in turn determined by when you are flying out). It was all a little odd – but you quickly figure things out. Once you are done checking in – it is just like any other airport in the world. It should be noted that we again had a few problems checking in (this time it was both of us though). Again we had to check in at Japan (where for a while they couldn’t find our reservations/tickets). Everything eventually was straightened out and we arrived home on Guam at ~1:50 AM. We arrived a little late since the plain had to be rerouted around a typhoon.

So there you have it – our entire trip in a nutshell. The hotel was nice but we had more then a few problems (like getting the computer in our room that was promised – took 3 days to get it. Never did get the extra pillows and towels, and the kitchenette was basically disconnected so the fridge and stove didn’t work). Minor stuff – but kinda irritating. If anyone would like to know our tourguide’s contact information I am more then happy to pass it on along with a very high recommendation.

Comments (148)

Raj ShekharSeptember 27th, 2005 at 8:11 pm

Nice pics . Thanks 🙂