This was the part of the trip that I was most excited for. We took the train from Suzhou to Beijing. The journey took 14 hours but it was a whole lot of fun. We had our own rooms and although it wasn't that fancy but it was an experience. Now if you read this blog long enough, you know how the Constantly Dramatic One has a weakness for classic, black & white movies and in those movies they usually have scenes in trains and for me it was like a throw back to the Hollywood Golden Era to be there.
The whole time I was in the train I kept checking if somehow Cary Grant just happened to be on board as well. He wasn't. On accounts that we were in China and that minor thing of him being already dead. Though I kept on checking if he was on board but I swear to God if I did saw him on board I would most definitely shit my pants.
What you're looking at is a pic of our bunker. Its messy coz well, it's my bunker.
The view from my bunker. Sis slept on top and I kept on kicking the top mattress just so I could piss her off. It was very comfortable sleeping in the train because it was rocking all the way and you felt like you're a baby sleeping in the cradle all over again.
This was the best part. When you slide the door closed, there's a huge a mirror behind it. The mirror is exactly opposite the window. Whatever view of the outside scenery was reflected on the mirror so that was cool and beautiful at the same time.
They had a mini restaurant on board but it was all over-priced. Not surprising of course. And it was quite irritating that they stocked up more on the alcohol than mineral water.
This view of the restaurant. All the time I was in the train all I could think of was that particular scene in North by Northwest. You know, the part when Cary Grant's character Roger O. Thornhill said to Eva Saint Marie's character Eve: “The moment I meet an attractive woman I have to start pretending I have no desire to make love to her”. To which she replied “What makes you think you have to conceal it?"
I adore that movie.
Say it with me "Variety".
The first place that we visited as soon as we reached Beijing was the Summer Palace. It has some very interesting history regarding a Dowager Empress called the Dragon Lady who ruled China with an iron fist.
These are poems and stories about the Dragon Lady drew on the floor of one of the courtyard of the Summer Palace. Apparently it's an art form of some kind and as soon as it dries off the people would draw it again on the floor. Another story, another poem but all about the Summer Palace and the Dragon Lady.
This was the longest hallway in the whole of Summer Palace. As you can see there are paintings on the beams and on each beam there is different painting hence a different story.
People in Old China had waaaaaay too much time on their hands if you ask me.
We went to see the Pandas! Goddamn pandas were cute but so damn lazy. All they do is sleep all day long. I was ooohing and ahhhing coz they were so cute but when I stood there for 15mins and still no movement, yeah that's when I got irritated and wanted to drop kick every panda there was.
No wonder they're facing extinction....lazy mofos.
Men playing Xiangqi by the roadside. Yet another scene that could easily be in a copy of National Geographic.
Don't get me wrong, the Kung Fu and the whole Gymnastic show was amazing. They can do some amazing shit but the outfit that they wore? Ghey. Like check out this one. This by far was one of the manlier ones. Totally made a mockery of the art of Kung Fu.
This was the opening scene to a dream sequence in the show; damn smoke was all over the place. Because my sister and I was sitting right in front of the stage we were like "Oh fuck. The smoke gonna drown us.We're gonna die suffocating in the place! Oh God!" Of course we didn't, but we like the dramatic connotation that comes with the statement.
Kung Fu = Manly. Blue tunic = Ghey.
What were they trying to sell here really? I wanna know.
We went to a Jade factory/outlet. It was one of the most boring-est shit I have to endure in my entire life. Here you can see the process of carving a jade stone into something else.
Beautiful and it has some Feng Shui properties to it but most importantly an opportunity for the Constantly Dramatic One to camwhore. No matter where we go in life, we must never forget about our priorities. And my priority is to camwhore whenever possible.
We went to the Great Wall of China right after the Jade Factory. On the day that we climbed it the wind was blowing so hard that you would actually sway around because of its intensity. On this day, the authorities banned children and extremely skinny people from climbing the Wall because there are cases when people actually get blown off the wall and plunged to their deaths.
I know it sounds funny as fuck but I am not making this up. The wind was so horrible on that day that not only was it already a bitch to climb the stairs in five layers of clothing but everytime the wind blew everyone have to literally stop, duck and take cover.
This is the view of the Great Wall of China, mid way to the First Tower (aka 1st checkpoint). It was such a bitch climbing the Wall. First of all I went there during winter so yes, five layers of clothing and bear in mind that the Wall is ancient. The steps are not like modern day staircases; these were made of stones and by hand. The steps were not equal in size. Some were too high, some were too low, some were lopsided but generally the whole thing was uneven. Coupled with the wind and the fact that you kept on having to take cover, it wasn't a fun day for me.
This pic was taken from the Third Tower (aka 3rd checkpoint). It was a big deal for us to get to the third tower because people usually just reached the 1st checkpoint and turned back but Sis and I bitched and moaned our way to the third one. This was the furthest we can go coz after that we were too exhausted to climb any further up.
The whole time I was climbing the Wall, my hand and my legs were shaking like crazy. My sister thought it was coz of the cold but truth is I was scared shitless. Heights and the Constantly Dramatic One do not go together. But I figured it's not like I climb the Great Wall of China for fun everyday you know. Its now or never so I climbed and I swear the moment I saw the view and how high I was up from the third tower, my heart almost jumped out of my throat.
The climb down was worst than the climb up. The climb up was tiring but the climb down.....well you can see how high up you really were. I took longer to climb down then I did climbing up. I was also praying to God to not let me embarrassed myself on the Great Wall by shitting my pants. God was listening.
And oh btw, Ancient Chinese Mythology states that "He who climbed the Great Wall is a warrior". So bitch, I am a warrior.
The weirdest shit happened to me on Tiananmen Square. I was running around taking photos when I heard someone calling out my name. My actual name. Scared the Bejesus out of me. I was like "WTF?!! Which China person is stalking me?!". And then it turns out it was a friend of mine from college. How cool is that? Bumping into your friend in a completely different country? And on Tiananmen Square no less.
One of the many courtyards in the Forbidden City. Ancient Chinese Legend states that the Royal Treasure of the Chinese Dynasty is buried underneath one of the courtyards of the Forbidden City. But since the China Government have forbidden that any digging work being made in the City, the legend remains a legend.
Here we are in front of one the courtyards that they used to shoot the Last Emperor movie. The lady in the red hat is my tour guide. She's Mongolian and she could speak five languages fluently - including Malay. Woman speaks Malay like a real Malay, it was very impressive.
The Bird Nest Stadium of what is going to be Beijing's official stadium for the upcoming Olympics.
Told you my ass has got nuthin on the panda's ass.
My sister thought it would be funny to take this pic. Yes, I was hugging the blanket but that's just because I was too lazy to ask for an extra pillow. It's not like I have blanket issues or anything like that.
And that's it. The whole China trip in a nutshell.