Sunday, October 18, 2015

Beijing and Shanghai

Olympic Park in the rain
We got to the airport in Beijing fairly late at night and luckily got a taxi who had no problem finding my friend Evan's apartment complex. After a bit of asking we found the right building and followed some people in to go on up. I hadn't seen Evan in over 3 years so it was great to see him as well as a shower and bed!
Both Evan and Payam had to work most of the time we were there, but we got a couple meals together and they helped us do all the touristy things. We walked around the Olympic park and forest, went to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, although we couldn't go in any of the rooms or the National Museum because you need your passport and Evan told us to leave turn behind...
We also found a public bus to take us to the Great Wall. We went to the most touristy and famous section, but we went the opposite way as most people and it wasn't too crowded. We even had some moments up the by ourselves! Rare in China.
Evan and Payam took us out one night to meet up with a bunch of people from Evan's class. It was fun to meet other foreigners there, and we got vegetarian food with his friend David first.

Our last morning was National Day, so we hung out and ate Kerbey Lane Cafe pancake mix before the boys took us on their scooters to eat dumplings and drop us off at the subway. We made it to the train station with plenty of time which was good because it was packed. The whole country was going on vacation!

We got to the train station late at night and took one of the last subways to the hostel stop. Supposedly it was only a 10 minute walk to the hostel, but the map and directions weren't great so it took us a little longer. But we finally made it to the little alleyway it was on! There were no dorms left in the whole city, so we stayed in a double room that was supposed to have 2 twin beds but just had a double.
We didn't do that much in Shanghai. We stopped by the People's Park on our way down to the big shopping street, E Nanjing Rd, and along the Bund promenade along the river. There were so many Chinese tourists. We took advantage of our free time to do some planning and look into Tibet trips.
On our last day, we got up early and jogged down to the Bund, and it was so much nicer. There were other joggers out, old people dancing and doing Tai Chi, and older men flying intense kites. And not many tourists! I walked around our neighborhood, Jing'an, and found some cool buildings and fun shops. I also stopped in Mao Zedong's former residence.

E. Nanjing Rd. in the morning

overnight train
We liked Shanghai a lot but it was still a big city, even with it's modern and more European look, so we were ready to get on our overnight train to Huangshan.

We left a bit of home in the hostel in Shanghai