Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The name of a place may hint at a single building but that doesn't mean there's only one...

Candace's Blog:

I am exhausted. I pretty much slept a full 12 hours and felt great. I think this was the first time jet lag's ever really affected me this much. I usually just get into the swing of things right away. We ended up sticking around the hostel last night instead of finding our way to the Forbidden city, which was rather nice due to my jet lag issue.

After lazing around (again) this morning we decided to check out the bar downstairs for some breakfast and ended up going for a Western Style breakfast. It was pretty decent if I ignore the slightly runny eggs and odd tasting sausage. I'm not going to be writing much since Kev pretty much commandeered my laptop earlier and pre-wrote stuffs. :shakefish: (for those of you who get it, I'm such a loser at times) Anyways, I was expecting today to be chilly since this morning was rather cold and overcast. I wore my more shoe-like sandals and hooked my jacket to my camera bag to head on out to the Summer Palace (which by the way, I assumed was a single building. Why do I not remember the research I did on it?). I also stupidly forgot to put on some sunscreen so I may have a bit of a burn, but it's not too bad right now so I should be burn less tomorrow.

The Summer Palace was gorgeous. It was massive to take in at once (it felt much bigger than Pompeii) and we didn't even get to finish it! We're planning on going back later in the week. I'll probably end up swinging by on my last week here too for photos. Assuming of course that I have time since I plan on going to the zoo, the aquarium, back to the wall, see some of those pretty lakes, and so on. I swear I'll need a vacation when I get back from my vacation (it's always like that for me). I also found myself the subject of two tourists photos. Some of the other tourists seemed to enjoy getting their pictures taken with the traveling white girl. I think I may have had more than the two come up to me if I were still blond. Kev got a shot of the second woman getting her photo taken with me. It was rather amusing. I suppose I wasn't too shocked by it since my host mother used to force me next to locals when I was in Spain for the same reasons and I had a group of Asians get their picture taken with Pati, myself and our friends while we were wandering the palace. I've just realized I've gone completely off track.

I should also point out that walking around as a tourist with a normal point and shoot camera is one thing, but walking around and climbing hills/stairs/rocks with a huge camera bag, a small purse, and the DSLR out is something else entirely! I also had another smaller point and shoot out so I could take some snapshots for this blog, otherwise everyone would have to wait until June to see some stuff. I can now see that if I want to become a traveling photographer, I need to get into better shape. Which fortunately, will probably happen on this trip. Go me!

Another (mis)adventure, tour bookings! We hopped into a cab to get to a hotel for a tour group to meet up with us and ended up waiting nearly 40 minutes before we left and thought we were pretty much scammed. The staff was rather friendly after they realized what we were waiting for (I'm pretty sure the manager dude came up to us to tell us to scram since we were unsightly (where has that happened to me before?) but once he understood why we were there, he was so helpful!) When we got back to our hostel and rebooked some trips the hostel owners sent up this girl with a walky talky. She knocked on the door and when I answered she looked at me and then started to speak in the walky talky in Mandarin. I was like "uh… " and wondered if I should shut the door or not. She eventually put the walky talky to my face so I could talk to the reception. I couldn't quite understand what they were saying so I went downstairs wih Kev to figure things out. Turns out that initial tour where we thought we were being scammed. They changed companies and this company kept trying to contact us by e-mail but we had originally typed in the wrong one (being the idiots that we are). We canceled one of the shows and got new and updated information on the second show. There hasn't been too much bad out of it.
We also went out at night to explore the streets (and possibly find a super market) to buy some breakfast type foods for tomorrow, as well as lunch to take with us for the tour. We've got a long day tomorrow so I shall pass this to Keviloo so he may finished typing up his part (I commandeered my laptop back for photos and this) and then we can head on downstairs to post it! Then it's bedtime.

A small sidenote: There are several foot massage places nearby, as the days go by, they seem more and more inviting. I think I'll be desperately wanting one by the end of my trip.

Kevin's blog:

Another day in China, whew, and a long one at that. Ended up unable to sleep last night. Candace wasn't feeling so well and went to bed a 8. I stayed up longer and did some reading, turns out "Hitchhiker's Guide to he Galaxy" book one is very short and fast to read, in about 1 hour I had gone through half of the book! Anyways, around 10 I decided to catch some ZzZs myself only it wouldn't happen. I was lying in bed eyes wide humming a tune from my preschool class. After many hours or listening to the hostel's diverse sounds (snoring, talking, walking, coupling) I fell asleep at around 2 am.

We were up a 8, showered, and downstairs for a much wanted western style breakfast of bacon and eggs. I still have no clue where they hide their cook and kitchen… Anyways, then we had to figure out where we were going. Forbidden city or Summer Palace. Since it was overcast, we decided to go visit the palace, thinking that if it did rain, at least we would be inside the palace….that was a mistake. Now the Summer Palace is more of a small city than an actual garden. It consists of many large buildings, a very elusive temple (no matter which way we too, we didn't find the way in until we were leaving). The garden span for a kilometer or more and it has it's own, humungous lake right in the middle of it. Although the name is misleading for the size, it comes nowhere near to describing the beauty of it. It is sincerely the most serene place I have ever been in. Some parts of it are were like walking back in time. I won't eternalize myself on describing it, I don't think I could do it justice anyways. After 4 hours of exploring, we have possibly seen only 1/3rd of it. It was decided, we were coming back this week to see it all since we had to leave to see our kung-fu show.

Back to the hotel, with a cab, in middle of downtown Beijing rush-hour traffic, I can't get over the way people drive here. They make reckless driving an art, I am surprised there I have not seen a single accident so far. Anyways, back to the story. At the hotel we ate some rather tasty pizza (yes I know, here we are in China and we're eating western food. What can I say, the stomach wants what the stomach wants). After that it was the kung-fu show.

It was all very disappointing. We had booked our show online, same site where we booked our hostel. The receipt told us that the pickup would be at another hotel. So once again, back in the cab and off we were ( I am getting tired of taking these cabs). We got there and had a few minutes to wait before pickup time. Only thing is, there was no one else…but it was still early enough. Time past by and a hotel host came to see what we were up to and when we showed him our papers to the show, he seemed quite confused, so he offered to call the number that was on our receipt but no answer. As Candace has explained, it was all a bunch of unfortunate coincidences.

Tomorrow, Great Wall and Kung Fu!

Ciao X O


The first few are of things taken while wandering around the Summer Palace. I'm not 100% sure what each building is or where we were.

Some pretty bridge....

Part of one of the several pretty lakes (I think there were 3-5 of them)

Me and that second random asian woman.

Kevin's elusive temple....

I think this is a part of a palace or temple or.. something.

Our hostel room. this was taken from the mini entrance hall.
I swear I've been taking pictures of Kevin. I just keep taking them with my good camera instead. I shall try to remember to take some with him with my smaller one tomorrow.


  1. Wow, what a day you guys seem to have had!
    The Summer palace looks amazing, wish I can go there some day!
    Behold Vama-chan The Western Travelling Girl With Those Soul Stealing Black Things She Aims At Stuff!!! Get your picture taken with her, stare all you want while she eats and shake her hand, all in one fantastic and life changing experience!!! See? I could be your agent, so Random Asian People can discover you in an orderly way and paying the due amount of yuan to help you through your daily needs, LOL
    I didn't understand much about whathappened with your kung fu show, but I collect you worked everything out and weren't scammed?
    Keep on going to great places and taking more photos!!!
    Lots of hugs!!!

  2. Single building? Dude, asian palaces are more of a compound, silly. Everyone knows that. *shakes head* Dorks.

    ^__^ The palace sounds awesome, though- and it's a shame for the kung-fu show, but oh well. Hey, have you seen a McDonald yet? If you do, see if they have the teriyaki burger, I'm curious!

    Your hostel... looks like an actual (cheap) hotel room. That's crazy! :o

    Man, I'm all nostalgic on Japanese temples now. *sniffle*

  3. Eni: The Kungfu show worked out in the end, which was good. ^^ The Summer Palace was amazing. I could spend days there and still not see enough of it.

    Nora: Yeah, I temporarily forgot that palaces are compounds. And for the record, not everyone knows that. I could easily find 20 - 30 people that don't know that.
    We've seen plenty of McDonalds, we haven't gone into any. I can't stand the stuff in Canada, I'm not about to subject myself to it overseas. =P
    Unfortunately if you pay for a private room you basically get a cheap hotel room. I prefer the dorm accomodations. It's more social.

  4. Well... Everyone who's got any interest in asian cultures? Lol, alright then, no McD's. Still, if you ever stop by one to go to the washroom, check it out for me. ;)