Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Asia (
-   -   Back In The Land Of The Ming Dynasty (

DMBTraveler Apr 23rd, 2013 05:27 PM

Back In The Land Of The Ming Dynasty
In less than 13 hours of flying from the United States, I am back in Beijing. This is my second visit in less than a year and one I have looked forward to for a long time. In a day and a half I begin a journey that few on the planet have taken. I am headed to Tibet then to the base camp of Mt. Everest (EBC) and to Nepal.

Temperature wise this is a nice time of the year to visit Beijing and the weather is just as forecast as we make our arrival into one of the most populated cities in the world. Surprisingly or maybe not, what we called something else in the 80's when I lived in Los Angeles is today here called fog.

To have the opportunity to again be in the land that gave us fireworks, poker playing cards and “Kung Fu Panda”, I can forgive this and the burning sensation in my nose as I walk its city streets.

My accommodations in Beijing for the next two days is like a homecoming as I return to welcoming comfort of the Chinabox Hostel. The Airport Express Train for about US$4 to the subway system then it is a about US$0.30 fare and a short walk before I crash from jet lag into a cozy bunk bed.

I wake up feeling refresh around 10pm with Patsy Cline in my head. Getting more comfortable for the cooling evening temperatures, I set out to do a little “Walking After Midnight”.

Stepping out of my room and looking straight up, the sky is clear as an almost full moon beams down on the city. Perfect conditions for a night walk. A stop at a 24Hr convenience store and my first meal in Beijing is a dumpling filled with spinach for US$0.30. I could have had some KFC but not a chance for a traveler like me.

It is nice that at this hour of the night in this city I practically have the streets to myself. At Tiananmen Square there are only a few others like myself enjoying the serenity of the city that I am sure only comes from being out at this time.

Down a side street I do get a little scare as something jumps near my feet. Turns out to be a scraggly city cat looking for a late night snack. Further down the road I think about returning to give him a warning as a rat bigger than him crosses my path.

Fortunately, no more scares during my walk just mystical views of “The Forbidden City” and Jingshan Park under foggy moonlit skies. At Beihai Park, I watch a group of men doing some cool night fishing with neon lights from a street bridge. I wish I could join them.

It is well past midnight as I return to Chinabox snacking on a giant ear of corn like I would at the County Fair back home. It has been about a three hour walk with dinner for less than two dollars and although my nose is still adjusting to the Beijing air, thanks Patsy for the inspiration.

ileen Apr 26th, 2013 08:17 AM

Great fun!

DMBTraveler Apr 27th, 2013 03:48 PM

Fresh Pineapple And The Summer Palace

After enjoying a delicious free noodle soup for breakfast with black tea at Chinese Box Hostel, I set out on my second day in Beijing with a minor agenda. The first business of the day is to pick up my train ticket for the start of my trip this evening to Tibet. Next, a visit to the Summer Palace and then a stop at Wal-Mart for train provisions.

Compared to late last night the streets are bustling with activity and I am glad to see a fresh fruit market that is open.

For about US$1, I am chomping down on a fresh pineapple that is as sweet and full of flavor as can be. Like mangoes, this is one fruit I can eat morning, noon and night.

At a train ticket outlet I pay less than a dollar (RMB$5) and I have a hard copy of my “44 Hour Ticket To Ride” in hand. A few minutes later and I am on Subway Line 4 headed for Beigongmen Station and The Summer Palace.

Built in 1750, The Summer Palace was an imperial garden and temporary home of the royal family during the Qing Dynasty. For about five dollars (RMB$30) you can enjoy a part of China's history that in the past only royalty and special guests had the privilege of doing.

The grounds of The Summer Palace are almost overwhelming and there is just too much to see in such a short time. Many of the cool artifacts are in areas that have additional entrance fees. I mostly opt for the free stuff except for a ten dollar (RMB$60) boat tour across Kunming Lake that takes us under The Seventeen Arch Bridge and drops us off on South Lake Island.

Today, the weather here is beautiful and it is enjoyable just to stroll the grounds of the palace and take in the scenery. Across The Seventeen Arch Bridge a few of us are entertained by a group of dancers I call “The Summer Palace Girls”.

The Bronze Ox from the mid 1700's and The Blue Iris Stone, the largest stone decoration in any Chinese garden are just a few of the impressive items on display as I make my way to exit out of The East Gate.

An interesting display I am not expecting as I exit is “The Summer Palace Tourist Volume Forecast” which shows a total of 26,000 visitors yesterday and a forecast of 36,001 for today. I wonder how they knew that I was the extra one that was coming. Very interesting, Kato.

kja May 10th, 2013 06:38 PM

I finally had time to read this thread - thanks so much for posting! You've brought some wonderful memories back to my mind, and I loved your evocative description of your night-time walk. I hope you plan to fill us in on the rest of your journey!

dgunbug May 11th, 2013 05:10 AM

As usual, great reporting. I look forward to following along.

ileen May 11th, 2013 07:16 AM

Waiting to hear about your adventures while traveling to Tibet.
Give us all the details and inspire us to follow your trails someday.
Hope you are having a fantastic time.

DMBTraveler May 13th, 2013 09:34 AM

Thanks, ileen, kja and dgunbug for your postings :)

I have started a new thread specific to the Tibet, Mt Everest and Nepal portion of my trip..

Eventually I will have all of the trip sharing details posted there.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:13 PM.