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Ash’s Travel Diary

Friday, 21 Apr 2006

Location: Beijing, China

MapSettled into Chinese life a bit more now but still a lifetime away from fitting in.

I spent yesterday touring Tiananmen Square & the 'Forbidden City.
Tiananmen is were all those Chinese students got squashed by a load of tanks in 1989 although we don't talk about that, wink wink. The Forbidden City is adjacent to the square & is where all the past emperors lived for the past 500 years.
I can just about remember the images of the Tiananmen massacre & its strange to stand in the middle of the square thinking this is where it all happened.
They're both 15 minutes away from my hostel & are amazing sites but i won't bore you with anymore.

I mentioned learning some Chinese with some of the local girls...well i shot myself in the foot. Got chatting to two girls in the square who were keen on learning English. So we strolled around for a while & they invited me to see some of their artwork in the National Museum. I gladly obliged & before i knew it, i was forking out 200 Yuan (14 quid) for a silk chinese scroll with a personalised message to me.
Its actually not bad & wasn't really a scam but i was a bit cheesed off at spending so much & at being a little naive.

Today, i've spent the whole day at 'The Summer Palace' on the outskirts of Beijing. The first & last emperoress lived there. Reason for first & last being that she blew all the people's cash on this palace.
Fair play to the ol' girl, its pretty spesh. 3 sq kilometres of lush green setting, 70% being a huge lake in the middle. I did the whole lap so now my legs are about to drop off.

As for China, its amazingly cheap. I bought a new coat yesterday for 50 yuuan (3.50 quid) & didn't even barter. Went out for a meal today & had the full works & a big bottle of beer for 1.30 pound. The beer was 2 yuan (14p!). Now you see why my scroll was a rip off!

Probably going to put off the Great Wall til Monday because the Chinese have gone mad for sightseeing & i dread to think how full the wall will be this weekend. Plus, my legs need a rest.

Take Care