Friday, August 08, 2008

China Part Five

At this point we had stayed with Curtis and Jenny for four awesome nights and it was time to part ways. We'd imposed on them enough. We made plans to hang out on Friday night (our last night) to say goodbye and to give them our Beijing Lonely Planet since we wouldn't be needing it after that. The night before we all stayed up talking and hanging up until nearly 4 am so we were pretty tired the next day. Jenny actually called in sick for work. Haha. Since we were traveling by the seat of our pants we randomly called a hostel in the area and low and behold they had a private room available for the rest of our stay at the bargain price of $20 (total, not per person) a night. So we packed up and headed over there by cab (14 yuan or $2). Our room was simple but lovely. The bathroom was communal but everything was really clean and well maintained. We even had cable TV (China has even fewer English channels than Korea) and an air conditioner. Actually, we had to change rooms for our last night because our air conditioner crapped out. No big deal though.

Since we stayed up pretty late we decided we wanted a fairly low key day so we decided to take the city bus to the Temple of Heaven. I was so tired on this day and was really dragging my arse around but we took lots of breaks. I'll admit I didn't know much about the Temple of Heaven before I visited it and as it turns out it's in a massive park that you can walk around in forever. It was so gorgeous and peaceful with it's trees and the traditional Chinese music piped through the speakers. Here's a link to all the pictures of the Temple of Heaven.

We spent the whole afternoon touring around and looking at all the different buildings and temples. It was a lot of fun even though I was so tired.

While in the park I noticed a few funny Engrish items. You might have to click on the pictures to read them. I was excited to see that the restaurant in China was selling Chinese food and that I could wash it down with my favorite drink, Hot Choldate.

After we left the Temple of Heaven we relaxed a bit at the hostel and then went out and did some more shopping. I haven't mentioned it in the other installments but we shopped almost everyday of the trip. I must say, shopping in Beijing is awesome! Haggling is actually fun and I think we got some pretty decent deals. I was reluctant to tell Curtis and Jenny what we paid for a couple things (you know, since they live there) but even they said we did good so that was encouraging. The main places we shopped at were Wangfujing Street and Silk Street and Pearl Market. I took a couple pictures of them.

My favorite shopping location was Silk Street/Pearl Market. As you can tell from the picture, it has a lot more than silk and pearls (although you can buy those there too). It was crazy walking through there. I ended up buying a gorgeous Balenciaga knock off. I have no idea about designer stuff so I was probably the worst woman to peddle to (hey! It's a Gucci! Uhhh.. so? It's ugly.). From my research on the subject now that I'm back, mine is a copy of "The First" model. It's a nice bag and I talked the woman down from over 1000 yuan to 130 yuan (which worked out to under $20 for the purse). I may have been able to get my original price of 100 yuan but I liked the woman and I wanted the purse so I cracked a bit. Anyway, we mostly bought presents for other people and almost bought a hacked Wii with a bunch of fake games but then decided against it. I can't wait to return to China for more cheap shopping!

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