While my mom and aunt were visiting us here in Korea in November, we took a four-day weekend trip to Beijing, China. This was a tour that we booked through the travel agent on our military base. There were 30+ people on the tour with us, together for the entire trip except for a free afternoon. We had a great tour guide who was very informative and made sure that everyone had a good time. This was such an amazing trip filled with interesting food, beautiful sights, and intense shopping. The best part was experiencing it all with loved ones. Being able to cross things off of our bucket list is pretty cool too :)
We stayed at the Hotel New Otani Chang Fu Gong. It was a very nice hotel with clean and comfortable rooms. There was a bar, gift shop, money exchange service, and a few different restaurants. We had a great breakfast buffet at one of the restaurants everyday that was included with our stay.
The Beijing National Stadium, aka Bird's Nest, built for the 2008 Olympics.
So much traffic everywhere! These cars were all trying to go the wrong way down the one-way street we were driving on. Our bus was bigger and it won :)
There were a TON of people riding bicycles. Some were pedal bikes and some were motorized. There were also a lot of mopeds and three-wheeled bikes. There was a wide bike lane on almost every street we drove down.
Taxis... everywhere... in all colors! The taxis were cheap unless you are going a long distance in rush hour. Make sure the taxi driver turns on the meter when you get in. Some taxi drivers will try to negotiate a price for the trip which often ends up being overpriced. Official taxis have a license plate number starting with a "B". Outside the touristy markets, random men will approach you and offer you a ride in their vehicle for a price. If it doesn't have a "B" plate, then they are not real taxi drivers. We got offered a ride in an unmarked van... no thanks, better safe than sorry!
On our first evening in Beijing, we were taken to an Acrobatic Show at the Jin Sha Theater. The performers were very skilled and put on an entertaining show.
Here is a montage of video clips from the acrobatic performance:
After the show we made a stop at Wangfujing Night Food Street, also known as Donghuamen Night Snack Street. This is a night market with over 100 vendors selling all sorts of food and snacks.
Some of the food looked normal and quite tasty!
However, there were some other things that may make your stomach turn...
There were quite a few "insects on a stick" available such as scorpions, silkworm pupae, and large crickets. Johnnie and I are always up for trying new things so we each at a scorpion! Crunchy, not a bad flavor, but so gross to think about! I'm glad we did it but I won't be doing it again!
One other treat that we sampled was the "fruit on a stick". The fresh fruit was coated in a hard sugar glaze and it was delicious!
"One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things."