I just can’t leave Beijing without seeing the Great Wall of China. It’s like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel tour, going to Brussels and missing out on our famous little man (Manneken-pis), going… well, you get the idea… That would be really shameful!! So, I set my alarm clock around 6:20, got up at 7:00… (the buzzer option is the worst invention in history!?! I keep pushing on that button).
After a long bus ride, we finally got to the wall. Unfortunately, the chairlift to the top was closed due to bad weather (ugh, bad luck again!). So, we started
walking or should I say climbing! From far away, you wouldn’t think so… but it’s actually really steep!!
This is me! In China! Standing on the Great Wall! A dream come true!
Then, it was time to go back to the city, and for me to grab a cab for the airport… And, that’s when it all went wrong!
First, we hopped on a bus to the city, which wasn’t a fast direct bus, but one which stops many times along the way. (very bad idea!). Secondly, traffic was crazy. At one point, we stand in the exact same spot for 23 minutes! And finally, a woman sitting just in front of us, let her kid pee in the middle of the alley. It was absolutely disgusting!
We stepped out of the bus, and I grabbed a cab for the airport. I swear the guy was the slowest driver on earth. At one point, I even asked myself if he didn’t do it on purpose! And, when we finally arrived and I paid him, he didn’t give my change back!
He trew my luggage out of the trunk, and just left (with my money!). He didn’t speak any English, so yelling at him wasn’t going to solve anything. At that moment, I was so frustrated and angry!!
But the worst part was that I didn’t make it in time to catch my flight. The check-in desk had close 10 minutes ago. I just felt like screaming (and I do, I scream inside for a long minute!) Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I kept breathing slowly, trying to figure out what to do next. I finally spotted an information desk, and a sweet Chinese student welcomed me with a smile!
She didn’t speak much English, but thanks to drawings & mimics, we understood each other. She helped me around the airport: to buy the next flight (on a Sunday, not an easy task), to get a free internet connection, and to do my check-in. When I thanked her for spending more than an 1 hour of her time to help me, she just said “Helping you, one person, is a good day”. I was soo surprised and touched!
On the plane to Bangkok, I was really tired and emotional. I had one rough day (that ended well though). And, I didn’t know what to think about my last days… I clearly had mixed feelings about my trip to China.
- Fantastic food – all dishes I ate were incredible!
- The amazing historical sites, Forbidden City & Great Wall.
- Walking for hours in the Hutongs, witnessing some daily life scenes.
- The Chinese traditional tea ceremony.
- Going to the hairdresser and paying only 4 € for shampoo, haircut & brushing!
- Chinese waving goodbye, or just running away from me as soon as I was speaking in English. Me: Excuse me, could you please …? …ugh…the man just ran away !
- Feeling completely lost in a city, where all road signs are written in Chinese characters and I can’t read Chinese, damn it !
- Feeling cold days & nights – not being able to feel my toes, fingers, or nose is just horrible!
- Chinese taxi drivers always trying to steal more money from you.
- The crowded streets, the pollution, the constant noise, the crazy traffic.
- Feeling like a sardine in a can, when taking the metro.
- Their overall bad manners: spitting in the streets, making loud slurping noises when they eat, cutting in line, urinating in public, tossing food on the floor in the restaurant, cleaning their ears and nose with their fingers, … It’s just gross!!