Day 13: Great Wall, Ming Tombs, Summer Palace, Peking Duck

I thought I was all caught up with writing, but realized last night that I missed writing about Day 13. Oops. Well here it is, and the last 3 days will follow.

Our second day in Beijing was designated as one of our touristy days.  With Nancy’s family friend as our guide, we adventured through the Great Wall, the Ming Dynasty Tombs, and the Summer Palace, and everything was super pretty.  Beijing is cold at this time of year (colder than Boston), and the Great Wall is a windy place. As soon as we arrived, we found a bunch of kids huddling behind a wall for warmth. Along the way, we were approached by a peddler selling Great Wall magnets, and we stopped to talk prices, not realizing that this kind of thing is prohibited. Part way through our haggling, the peddler grabbed back all the magnets and ran off. We thought he had gotten impatient with us, but then we saw two Great Wall security people running after him. So that was interesting, and we felt bad for getting him into trouble. I guess these peddlers need to make a certain amount of profit before getting kicked out. Anyway, we actually wanted those magnets, and luckily the gift shop at the entrance sells them too and gave us the price we asked for without any argument. The price went down from 1 magnet for 45 RMB to 3 magnets for 30 RMB (4.75USD). As usual, later on, we learned that that price was only OK. I did a bit worse haggling over a panda hat I spotted, but it was about 6 times cheaper than my giraffe hat. ><; We had a great time walking around the Ming Tombs and Summer Palace, but the entire time, I just wished I was more familiar with Chinese history. One day… We also drove around Tianmen Square, the Forbidden Palace, and the Birds Nest (Beijing National Stadium, Beijing Olympics 2008). As it turns out, we didn’t have time to really see anything at all.  And if I hadn’t mentioned this before, everything in major Chinese cities (buildings, streets, bridges, signs, etc.) are lined with LEDs. Shiny!

We had our first and only meal at an American fast food chain, but it was good because McDonalds (as well as KFC) is super popular in Asia. For dinner, we had authentic Peking Duck, and it was delicious. We had something like the 1.4 millionth duck that that particular restuaurant had prepared for human consumption, which is a crazy number. They explained that the ducks require 5 years to grow up and 45 minutes to cook. We had duck tongue, which was pretty funny to eat, duck blood soup, duck remains soup, and little duck-shaped desserts. And, of course, there was the actual duck meat, finely prepared.

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