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The Adventurer’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 03 Feb 2007

Location: Beijing, China

MapIt's been a really great couple of days so far. Thursday I woke up from a great night's sleep and went down for a 7 am breakfast (free)--complete with eggs, bacon, and toast. Went back to sleep for a couple of hours and got up and went down to check out. As I was about to plan my day, I happened upon some cool people who were heading out to a place called the Temple of Heaven Park, so I joined them.

We rode the bus to the park. This was an enchanted place with trees, plants and shrubs lined up perfectly to add to the beauty of the place. I'm assuming this place would be even more breathtaking in the summer. We saw a temple in here where they prayed for good harvests, and some other places where they made sacrifices. Highlights include the Echo hall and the Whispering Wall that went around it (see pictures for explanation). After the Temple of Heaven, we all headed back to the hostel where I waited for Brian to finish work. We met up and went for some kebab on a stick--pretty good. Went for a beer after and headed back to Brian's. We chatted late just catching up and practicing Chinese (I'm still struggling with this!)

Yesterday was a great day of chilling out, getting my bearings and re-energizing myself. Finished Harry Potter! Practiced my Chinese, and made some travel arrangements. My itinerary has changed a little. I'm heading to Shanghai tomorrow night by train--be there by Monday. From there it's off to Xi'an to visit the terra cotta warriors guarding a famous emperor, unearthed in the 70's, and a very famous place to see in China.

Last night we went out for an awesome Italian dinner and lots of wine. Then we went to a cool pub style bar, drank Sangri with Brian's friend Laura and indulged in a hooka pipe--popular in India with flavorful, but harmless smokeless tobacco. After pondering and philosophizing for a lengthy time, we headed back to the apartment. Practiced some more Mandarin--toughest language I've ever had to practice, I've gotta say! I forget even the simplest things, but I'm getting how to say, Where is the bathroom? An all important question when traveling.

That brings us to today. We went out for a wicked breakfast complete with waffles topped with strawberries, eggs, bacon, and toast--and bottomless coffee. I'm enjoying all this great food now because I'll soon be in a place where I won't know what I'm ordering or eating! We're off to an art gallery that's offering free wine and food.

The weather isn't too cold right now, although the night is a bit chilly. There's so much construction in Beijing right now as they are preparing for the 2008 Olympics. It's changed so much even since I was here in May. I'm glad I got to see what I did before it was taken away.