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Anna’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 10 Jul 2007

Location: Beijing, China

MapWe arrived in Beijing a few days before our friends were due to arrive. We checked into the hostel, did a bit of planning and saw some sights. We went to the Art Gallery, walked around Beihai Park and took a boat out onto Beihai lake. The weather was gorgeous, right up until the evening before our friends arrived, when we had a very very very heavy thunderstorm. We were worried that the weather may stay like that, but thankfully, during the two weeks we only had rain a few times (and only for a few hours at a time).

It was a brilliant two weeks - so great to have our friends out here, we all enjoyed it and managed to cram loads of things in - a perfect way to end our time in China.
On the sunday we met 6 of our friends at Beijing Airport (who had all flown over from the UK) and the holiday began. We started off with a walk through the Hutongs to our hostel, and then a walk up to Tiananmen Square by which time they were all ready to collapse from exhaustion - so we had a lazy evening and an early night.
Which was just as well because Neill and I had decided to take everyone to The Temple of Heaven Park early the next morning to see the old locals doing Tai Qi. It was great, there were so many people in the park; dancing with fans, Tai Qi with swords, morning excercises to Celine Dion (My Heart Will Go On - on repeat!!), playing traditional instruments, singing Beijing Opera and loads more. It was really interesting to walk around and experience. We also looked around the Temple of Heaven and other sights in the park, one being the Whispering Wall (apparently you can whisper something at one end and someone will be able to hear it clearly at the other end, unfortunately it was too busy by the time we got there to see if it actually worked or not!).
After lunch we had a few hours to kill before heading to the train station, and as the Natural History Museum was the closest thing, we headed there - the main reason was to see their 'Human' exhibi tion. It was so gruesome - human bodies cut up and plonked in jars (it didnt seem like much care had been taken with the exhibition at all), there were two full bodies with all the skin peeled off apart from their fingertips and ears, heads sliced in half, a spine in a jar too small for it, a childs head with the mouth pinned wide open, plus loads more - it was all so horrible, but amazing to see. And especially as all the kids in there on school trips weren't fazed by it at all!!!!
After being sufficiently grossed out we collected our bags and headed to the train station for our overnight train to Luoyang. We had a short wait for the train, so all sat on the floor playing cards. An audience slowly built up around the 8 of us and they stood watching us the whole time we were there - a new experience for the others!
The train journey was good and arrived in Luoyang early the next day.