The park was packed with locals and foreigners engaging in a variety of different activities: a Chinese game like hackie sack, tai chi, and badminton. Most were just walking around like us, taking in the sights and admiring the perfectly manicured gardens.
// the photo is a bit blurry and it looks like a double exposure, but ladies, this is how you go to the bathroom in China (it's the same way in Japan) //
// a bike with a wheelchair attached to it...genius //
// these traditional Chinese hats saved the day (later in this post) //
// not jealous of those guys //
Jade is to the Chinese as diamonds are to Americans. According to our tour guide, the Chinese didn't know what diamonds were until the 80's. We got a very quick lesson on jade, then we're encouraged to look around the showroom of the factory to purchase some of the jade goods sold there. Once released from the tour guide, the saleswomen flock to you and haggle you to buy, it's really uncomfortable!
// jade phone //
Upstairs from the cloisonne factory is a Chinese restaurant, Jindian Restaurant, where we had lunch. A restaurant on top of a factory? Yeah, we were skeptical at first as well...but it ended up being quite good. All of our meals included a glass of free soda or beer. A glass of water on the other hand-- that will cost you. This meal in particular included some 56% alcohol by volume "fire water" which we took shots of from little mini chalices. Free hard alcohol + Shopping = Smart Move (for the business). We got a little buzz going then they gave us some time to peruse the goods and of course, we wanted (and did) buy everything!
// 'resraurant' //
At this time of year, 6 out of 10 tourists visiting these popular Tourist destinations are Chinese citizens that live in the countryside, many are not accustomed to seeing foreigners, especially tall blond ones! They wanted to take pictures with us and after about 10 minutes of taking photos we began our decent. With uncontrollably shaking legs and a trail of men asking us to stop to take pictures every couple of steps we finally made it to the bottom, safe and victorious.
Happily back on the tour bus, it was a 2 hour ride from the Great Wall to the world famous Peking Duck restaurant where we dined on-- Peking Duck of course. This restaurant has 300 locations worldwide, as you can imagine, the duck was delicious.
Full and exhausted we came back to our hotel and went up to the 28th floor to enjoy a nightcap at their rotating rooftop bar which gave us a 360 degree view of the city of Beijing which stretches 100 miles by 120 miles.
Our elaborate plans to go sing karaoke and stay out til 2a were never executed, but I think it's safe to say we were all very content when our heads hit the pillow.