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Beijing-Taian-Shanghai Trip

October 10, 2011

Yesterday, my 2-week vacation eventually ended. I was really sad on the last day, as with any other vacation I had in the past. It was too hard to say bye to my dearest friends, over and over again. It is as hard to go back to my regular life, alone here in Beijing.

One of my favorite things to do post vacation is going through the pictures. Revisiting the joyful and rare moments my friends and I spent together. This time was definitely one of the best vacations I have had for a long time. It is a bonus that my long-time high school friend visited me in Beijing. Thanks, Siang, you’ve put the most smiles on my face in the last two weeks than in the last several months alone 😉

Here are some highlights of the trip:

Finding our way to meet our tour leader in Beijing airport. First, we called the contact number but the person did not acknowledge waiting for us. She kept saying, “Which tour group are you with?” in Chinese, and it was hard trying to explain “Aren’t we supposed to meet you at the airport at 11 am?” I had to call three different phone numbers, explained the same, until we eventually met our tour leader. Then she said, “You guys are not in my list of people to pick up.” Glad things worked out in the end.

Watching the sunset from Temple of Heaven.

Purchasing our first bag of tea and teacup from Dr. Tea, one of the so-called government tea factory.

The particular porcelain teacup had a picture on it that would change image once filled in with hot tea (hot water). It was sold for 100 RMB in the tea factory without room for bargaining, and we later found it at a street shop for 50 RMB with some before bargaining. Andre claimed that he was so mesmerized by the mei nu who served us tea that he bought the teacup.

Watching the Forbidden city from the tower at Qingshan Park.

I wish there was less fog that day, though it was still breathtaking.

Hiked the Great Wall.

Lucky us there were not that many people from the particular entrace we went to. The hike up was tiring as there were a number of knee-high stair steps. The hike down was scary because the stairs were very steep!

Learning that insurance can be fun, or at least watching Andre trying to make benefits out of his.

“Oh, my lost jacket may be covered by travel insurance.” “Our flights are delayed?” (with a hint of hope of getting some compensation)

Hiking the Tai Shan, one of the top 5 most sacred mountains in China.

Alright, we did not really hike it, as we took the bus on the first halfway up the mountain, continued by cable car. We only walked down the steps half the way down. My knee was seriously crying out loud. The scenery was gorgeous everywhere.


Visiting Hefang Jie in Hangzhou and Nanjing Lu in Shanghai.

These two market, gosh, were such happening places. There were so many varieties of local and “international” products. Tourists flocked them like crazy. We also had the special chance of eating at one of the most questionable food courts we ever saw.


Seeing a public meet-me-up place in downtown Shanghai, by the People Square station to be exact.

Later on we learned that a few of these people may be looking for their own soul mates, but most of them are parents meeting other parents to talk about their sons and daughters. Age and salary are the basic statistics.


Bargaining for the ticket up to the 100th floor at Jinmao tower.

The original ticket is 150 RMB each, but the tour leader offered it for 130 RMB each. We insisted for over 10 minutes to get them for under 100 RMB each, but lost :D. 125 RMB it was. The view? Nothing too special. Seeing the city view without the blurry window glass is better IMHO.

Watching the Impression Lake show at Hangzhou’s Xihu.

The show was mostly a play of color and dance on the water. It wasn’t as dramatic as I thought it would be, but I loved the song and the dances. Reminded me of how much I love dancing. I think everyone else had personal reflection time during the show. Who knows who they were thinking? 😉

Biking around Xihu.

It’s free for the first hour as long as we paid 300 RMB deposit fee per bike. But beware, if you did not properly return the bike, other people might be borrowing it over and over again under your name. Praise God someone did return it and I was free from my bond. It was a beautiful lake. Wish I had more time with Aibing just strolling through and chatting.

Of course, each moment was precious and I will remember them for a long time. Thanks for your time with me Siang, Andre, and Jimmy!


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