We woke early. Today we were supposed to be travelling to Pingyao, but still
didn't have the train tickets - we had to consider what plan B was going to be.
Steven opened the computer and there was a mail from CWTS - they had the
tickets, which was great news. We breakfasted and packed and arranged with the
Chinese travel agency to drop them off at 11am.
Perhaps the best thing about the hotel was the view over west Beijing - not
least the temple in Jingshan Park, the Dagoba in Behai Park, the TV tower and
the roof tops of the Forbidden City.
We waited for the tickets in the lobby, they arrived an hour late - but I
suppose it was a case of better late than never. The weather had made a turn for
the better - the sun was shining and it was warmer. We were all a bit tired and
stiff after the two last days’ long walks, and decided to enjoy the sun with a
leisurely stroll along Wangfujing.
We shopped a bit - Lene bought jacket and Yanmei a wristband - nothing heavy.
We took the customary pictures of Yanmei and Daji in the the bronze rickshaw and
we rested in the sun and watched life pass by. We went to the Wangfujing snack
street and wandered past beetles, scorpions, grasshoppers, sea urchins and
more, many alive and waiting to be deep fried – and watched as one foreigner tried a sea urchin.
We stuck to the more appealing caramelised strawberry, pineapple and paradise
apple skewers. However it must have been fun to see us eat them as one girl
wanted a picture of us all (as always I at first thought she wanted me to take a picture of
her, but she wanted a picture of us and then with us!)
Walked around in the sun enjoying watching the people, before taking a late
lunch – Chinese, as Daji didn’t want to eat Sushi! We walked back to the hotel
to collect our luggage and took a taxi to the Beijing West railway station – a one hour drive
through heavy traffic, during which both Lene and I managed to fall asleep.
Getting into a Chinese rail station is like getting into the gate at the airport - just the Chinese have all types of containers with luggage - and if it's too big to go through the metal detector, nobody bothers! Some security. We passed through with only a minor scare - Steven couldn't find the train tickets and at first thought he must have left them in the taxi. A second check through all his pockets and he found them!
We had time to spare - Lene, Yanmei and Daji watched a man making noodles (just
as much as he watched them!), before we made our way to the waiting room at our
gate. The area was packed as always - no sitting room available. In China you
wait at the gate until about 20 minutes before the train is due, at which time
they open the gate and everybody makes a mad rush - why I don't know, everybody
has numbered seats or beds!
We picked out a few other foreigners in the waiting room, and it ended up that
all the foreigners were in the same compartment, one of what must have been 20 -
25 carriages. The train left on time at 19:03, Lene almost immediately falling
asleep, Yanmei practicing on a porcelain flute she had bought the previous day,
Daji playing Gameboy and Steven writing the day by day description you are