Thursday 18 Mar
Waiting for the Wall
After all the St Patrick's day celebrations we had a day of rest (yeah you know what that means) The next day we had planned to visit the Great Wall in the morning and went to bed feeling quite excited. We got up early to see a familiar Yellow hue to the sky. It was a dust storm similar to the one we saw in Sydney. We decided it wasn't a great time to visit the Wall so walked around the corner to the Forbidden City to check it out. It was really fantastic to imagine the opulence that the emperor lived in all those years ago, and a lot of the things we saw we did have use our imagination because the audio tour was rubbish!
We went back to the hostel to do some wedding planning and that evening went to a local restaurant for Dumplings. They were delicious, even the Donkey Dumplings were tasty!
Scorpions on a stick
However, the most exotic food to be had in Beijing was on snack-street, where you can buy anything and everything on a stick and eat it (or more likely pose for a photo with it and throw it in the bin!) The next morning we hit the shops again wandered through some of the city's parks. It's amazing what happens in the parks on Saturday.... Karaoke, Gambling, Choirs practicing, women belly dancing, and cults practising some kind of meditation / dance routine, ah and of course a comedy photo costume shop! After all that we barely had the energy to drag ourselves out to the Olympic Village, but it was great to see it as the sun went down and the birds nest lit up.
The next day we awoke to yet more dust so once again our trip to the Great Wall was cancelled, we were beginning to think we'd never get there! We were also beginning to think we'd never get out of Beijing so decided to hit the Great Wall when we returned to Beijing before our flight home. In spite of the dust we ventured outside and occupied ourselves with a visit to the Zoo, where we were lucky enough to arrive at feeding time for the pandas - hilarious! And also happened upon a peacock with its feathers on display in an attempt to woo a fair maiden (who was having none of it!)
On our final day in Beijing (David's birthday - the big 33!) we had a cooking lesson with Chunyi in her lovely Hutong home. She taught us to make and cook dumplings and some delicious noodle chow mein. We couldn't wait to get home to Ireland to try the recipes again.