BRIGHT AND BRILLIANT BEIJING
(By Canh Thong in Laos to mam in VN, SonThai – Hoai Anh in Canada and others)
Herbal Medicine for the Feet
We went to this small hidden retreat behind the Olympic stadium. It was just a small resort or centre where athletes get their massages. The tour was supposed to include “soothing” foot massage but that was unfortunately only for adults (18+).
For the kids, we got to bathe our feet into hot (it was very hot, but calming) herbal water. At first it gave me a burning sensation but after a while, it was actually very soothing. The heat from the feet dipping also helped with the cold weather!
The Summer Palace Doesn’t Feel Like Summer
It was very interesting at the Summer Palace. We learned how the queen at the time exploited Chinese navy troops’ funds to build this gigantic resort all for her. In the middle of the resort is an enormous artificial lake. We had a look at where and how the royalties lived. But the most fun was when we were let down the now frozen lake. It was frozen solid and the ice layer was really thick. We had so much fun sliding and pushing one another around. Many people were falling their asses off. But some of the falls really looked like they hurt a lot. But as the day progresses, it was time to get off the ice and head to dinner.
Not Too Special Yet Still Interesting Dinner
It was an o.k dinner, heck; it was a pretty bad dinner. However they did serve each table a pig’s foot. It was an “on the house” serving too, which made it even better. Mostly everybody was already full by the time the feet came yet we still dug in anyways. As you may know the saying, “the best things in life are always free” (and the second best are the most expensive).
Back at the Hotel
We headed back to the hotel early that night since we had to wake up early to go to the Great Wall the day after. Tony and James came to my suite and we hung out ‘til about 10. When they were going back to their suite, we all got hungry so we decided to go to the nearby convenient store and bought some cup noodles. We ate together and Tony and James went back to their suite at about 11. Shortly afterwards, they came back to mine and Branden’s room. Turns out, Tony and James locked themselves out of their own room. It took about 30 minutes for the desk clerks to get a room keycard for them but in the end, they did get back to their room.
The Great Wall Is Truly Great!
We had to wake up extra early, which was about 5:00 in the morning. We had the same-old dull breakfast. Everybody seemed tired and miserable. Even Teacher Luck, our optimistic sunshine, who oozes out happiness, was glum. Everyone probably slept late even though they knew that they had to wake up early. Well, I guess the ultra long bus rode covered up for the loss of sleep. The moment we got on the bus, we went straight to sleep. I slept right through to the end of the bus ride, so I have no idea of what had happened, but I doubt anything interesting happened at all.
We reached one of the entrances of the great wall at about 9. We took a few group pictures with a banner that says “Kiettisack International School”. This actually took much longer than I had anticipated, since there were more than just one tourist groups who want to take a group picture. Well… there were many spots to take group pictures but they weren’t as nice as this one particular spot.
We were allowed free roaming until 11:30. We can anywhere we wanted to as long as we would come back by the time limit. My friends and I decided to climb the Great Wall together as a group. It first started out as Branden, Tony, James, Elizabeth, two other Korean girls, and I. We were doing quite well, we got quite far. But then a souvenir shopped appeared so James and I decided to go and buy our souvenirs while Tony, Branden and Elizabeth wanted to continue and the two Korean girls wanted to go back down since they were too tired (it was actually very tiring, very good exercise, haha). So, we did what we had to do, we split up.
As James and I pursued to buy our souvenirs, we met up with some of our other friends (whom we weren’t as close to, but still quite close). We in turn climbed up with them instead. We actually had quite a lot of fun with them and it was actually very nice. We kept on walking until I realized that if we don’t head back down, we would be late. So, all of us hurried our ass back to the rendezvous.
As we waited for our departure from the Great Wall, we took some of our last pictures and drank some Great Wall hot coffee (since it was quite cold there).
To be continued