October 16, 2009

Sorry to keep you all waiting so long, I shall continue with my China story.
This was the one day that we could share with the boys, once again we decide to let them make the plans. While they decided what they wanted to do Caitlyn and I ordered breakfast which pretty much just consisted of coffee and some fruit. While we were in the hostel’s restaurant we started talking to this group of people that we had been pretty familiar with seeing places. Found out they were from Toronto and teaching English in Korea. (these people didn’t fall into the stereotypical English speakers because they were from Canada). The only real reason why this is important is because we saw them earlier this week in the Hongik University area where Caitlyn gave them her phone number and they gave her theirs but not really because her phone doesn’t show the number of who’s calling so if they don’t call us we’ll probably never see them ever again but still it was cool that we saw them in Korea. Back to our plans,
The boys decided that they wanted to rent bikes and go to the Olympic parks. Would have been a good idea but I don’t know how many of you have been to Beijing but the streets there and the drivers are a little ummm… not the best place to ride a bike in traffic with no helmet. As they were talking to the travel agent (who like the other agent from the previous hostel had the hotts for Alex, quite amusing.) Caitlyn and I debated whether we really wanted to go. Our decision was made when the woman informed the boys that there were only 3 bikes available. PERFECT. Now Caitlyn and I were able to do something else until the lady started trying to get some workers from the hostel to let us borrow their bikes even after repeated no gestures from both Caitlyn and I (she really must have liked Alex) I finally verbally explained that we did not have any intentions of riding bikes to the Olympic parks. So we sent the boys on their way even though Alex just told us he hadn’t ridden a bike in three years. We were sure they were going to die, or at least something bad would happen to them. (we later found out that after just a few hundred meters dan’s pedal fell off and they had to go back. Too bad Caitlyn and I couldn’t have seen that… but we were too busy make plans to go to the Summer Palace!
First we decided to try and take the subway because the travel lady told us that it would be the easiest way, so we got directions and started walking to the subway station which turned out to be CLOSED. For no reason. There was no sign at all it was closed because it was –unclear. Phrase of the country. So we grabbed a cab fearing the worst. Cost about $8 each. Seriously and we were far away. The summer palace was really pretty and once again people swarmed us from pictures (what more could we expect?). Alright maybe they didn’t swarm but there were definitely some fans. We saw a huge Buddha and the lake and everything else and it was really cool and big. We also went to the shopping street which was under a bridge by the water and everything there was really cheap and right next to the river so it was really pretty. My favorite place there was the kite shop. It was so cool! They had all these great kites in different colors for really cheap. I think they were more for decoration though but she did have some string that you could have tied to the kite.
Our adventure back to the hostel started with sketchy, SKETCHY cab drivers who probably didn’t have a license. I know this mostly because they were telling us the fares before we got in the cab and also because one guy tried to drag me to his car, that was a white HONDA not even a freaking cab. Really creepy so one guy finally was like ok I’ll do it for it was 80 yaun. We told him to take us to Tiananmen Square because it was close to the hostel and even though his English was pretty good I didn’t feel like dealing with a language barrier. After we though he wasn’t even going to take us the whole way we finally realized where we were and got out. Caitlyn had been saying the whole time about how she wanted to ride on the hitch backs motorized from a bike motorcycle thing. We saw one, her one chance but she didn’t want to run after it so after a split decision I chased it down, seriously chased, and got him to stop. We pointed on the map to where to take us and he let us in. SO FUNNY. He was singing the whole time and I really thought I was going to die the way he was swerving in and out of traffic we should have been hit/hit things so many times. And I guess at one point I sort of elbowed him on accident and he was all “HEY HEY HEY HEY HEY.” Caitlyn took a video of the whole thing. It’s hilarious.
Got back to the Hostel. Now today was another important holiday for China, it was the mid autumn festival or something. But the most important thing to know is that they eat moon cakes. At the restaurant in the hotel the sign outside said free moon cakes and plate. We thought that it meant we got free moon cakes and a free dish so we went in and got a plate of spaghetti and ate the moon cake, pretty good. Glad I tried it. Was sort of dry in the middle don’t really know how to explain it because it was sort of a romantic atmosphere in the restaurant meaning that the only light we had was from candles so didn’t really see what I was eating. Then the boys came back from their adventure which by the way they said was great. Feeling a little bad about not letting the boys choose what we did that day we let them decide what they wanted for dinner. (we pretended we hadn’t eaten yet). Where do they take us? AN ALL YOU CAN EAT AMERICAN BUFFET. We immediately nixed that idea. Ended up eating in a restaurant inside a mall nearby which was alright, at least it was a Chinese restaurant. Then decided to check out the floats at Tiananmen Square now that it was dark out so we could see them lit up.
They were really pretty and I’m really glad we went but Caitlyn and I were tired. The boys also decided that they wanted to eat their moon cakes sitting in the middle of Tiananmen Square. We immediately walked away pretending not to know them because they were SITTING IN THE MIDDLE OF TIANANMEN SQUARE WHILE NO ONE ELSE WAS. Kind of annoying but whatevs nothing bad came from it. The floats were great and it was nice to just walk around but Caitlyn and I were tired so we decided to head back. The boys had an earlier flight than us so after making a wake up call we told them to knock on our door when they got back just in case.
As Caitlyn and I were settling into bed we hear the inevitable sound of someone coming into our room with a key. Looks like we had knew roommates…
A couple from the United Kingdom busts into the room freaking out while apologizing at the same time. They were frantically searching their bags and so we asked them if everything was OK. They explained to us that they had just been switched into our room after having their previous roommates who they said “judging by their accents were North American” had gone through their luggage moving things around packing up their stuff. Turns out that the North American (I’m sure they were from the United States but they had just said North to be polite) had booked the room just to themselves and had been upset that the hostel had put other people in it so they took the liberty to pack up the peoples things for them while they were gone. The lady from the front desk came to the room later as the woman was telling us how they are ski instructors and had been traveling in the off season for the past 6 months seeing most of southeast asia. Sounds like the dream life to me! Maybe I should take up skiing… anyway the lady came to the door and said that the girls wanted to apologize for going through their stuff the couple declined saying “that’s nice but we really don’t want to talk to them seeing as they’ve been through our stuff” which to me seemed like an appropriate response. The cheery on top was that they couldn’t take a hot shower so they went back to the desk to ask them to fix it, after the boy couldn’t fix it the front desk gave them a room upstairs that they could use to take a shower and Caitlyn and I were allowed to use but didn’t because we were in bed and had to wake up early for our flight. Finally we all went to bed.
Just in case anyone was worried the couple didn’t have anything stolen. Such a strange experience.

Ah! The final day of our China adventure. One started with a knock from Shaun to tell us they were leaving for their flight. And that was the last time I ever saw Shaun in China.
Caitlyn and I were thankfully awakened by a wakeup call that we had scheduled that they decided to do. Maybe they were bored but I’m just happy they made it. We got up and had breakfast waiting for the hostel shuttle to take us to the airport. Once a van came to the front we got in and handed him the receipt. THANKFULLY he realized that we weren’t supposed to be in his van seeing as that was the van going to the great wall. (how tragic would that have been?) and got into the real shuttle which was just a man hired from the hotel driving us to the airport. Don’t worry it wasn’t sketchy at all. And nothing bad happened
UNTIL we were driving on the highway and we started feeling some weird things and the car started moving weirdly. WE GOT A FLAT TIRE. By now nothing was surprising Caitlyn and I. In fact it was pretty hilarious that in fact as we were going to the airport on our way back to Korea that we got a flat tire. The man was apologizing profusely as he pulled to the side of an extremely busy highway. Caitlyn and I got out of the car and tried to help him but he was having none of it, which is pretty smart since the car wasn’t even really off the highway. So we did what anyone would have done. Taken pictures! (well just Caitlyn my camera had run out of batteries.)
Don’t worry. We made our flight and surprisingly there was absolutely no problems getting home. Which is scarier in itself I think. Making it back to CJ was a weird feeling but we were finally home!
And that was it, our trip to China! Now we can go back to the craziness of Korea.
Shaun, Alex and Dan all made it safely back too.

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