Well, that didn’t take long…
On night 4 I found a snorer in my room.
Not just any snorer though, nope, I found the coveted “loud as f*ck” snorer who can penetrate even the best earplugs.
Yup, it was a sleepless night last night!
I ended up grabbing my pillow and blanket and crashing on the couch in the common room around 4:30am to catch a few zzzz’s.
That was pretty much the last straw for this hostel as it already had a few strikes against it (location, all non-English guests).
So, this morning I got my next 2 nights refunded, packed up my gear yet again and went off to a new hostel.
Now, you’d think I’d learned my lesson from yesterday as I was helplessly lost and walking around in circles looking for a stupid little dot on the map on my phone.
You’d think that.
Really? Have you not been an avid reader of my blog?
Of course I didn’t learn my lesson!
And, yup, I once again was helpless lost and walking around in circles looking for a stupid little dot.
Today was a little different from yesterday though as today I was running on little sleep, no food and a time crunch as I had made plans to meet up with Danielle and that time was fast approaching.
In fact, I ended up not finding the hostel and taking my entire big backpack with me to meet up with Danielle.
Lucky for me she had been staying at that hostel for the last couple of nights so she’d be able to lead me to it later.
Anyway, I showed up to our meeting point a few minutes late, exhausted, cold, hungry and lugging a big backpack.
Danielle offered to carry my daypack for me which I thought was pretty awesome and my big backpack wasn’t even that bad as I’ve downsized my packing quite a bit since the last time I had something like this happen.
So, we were off to explore…
The day turned the corner pretty quick when I found a street food stall selling Jianbing, that wondrous pancake/crepe concoction with egg, bean curd and other goodies mixed into it, on our way to the first temple we were visiting.
Amazing what good food can do to your spirits.
The first temple we visited was the Lama Temple.
Just so we’re clear, when I say temple, it’s not like a big building that you can walk through staying out of the cold and the wind.
Nope, when you’re going through a temple you’re actually walking outside most of the time moving from building to building popping inside and out.
Have I mentioned it’s cold in Beijing?
Yeah, it’s damn cold.
Oh yeah, the Lama Temple.
So, Danielle and I were in the minority as most of the people visiting the temple were there to pray.
I always feel weird visiting temples as I’m not religious at all and it always feels like I’m infringing on their solemn rituals snapping photos like a tacky tourist.
I do try to be respectful though and, honestly, seeing how devout and committed the people are here is quite moving regardless of your own religious beliefs.
The other temple we visited today was the Confucius Temple right across the street.
Interesting enough, this temple was 30yuan ($6) while the other one was only 25yuan ($5). Name brand appeal perhaps?
The Confucius Temple was completely different as no one was praying here and it was more like a museum about the man and his wisdom.
I can only believe that as we went through the temple Confucius would be saying “Only stupid man walk around in the cold”
So very cold.
Anyway, time for lunch and some goodbyes…
We headed back to the area where my new hostel so I could drop off my bag and checkin.
Turns out the damn dot on my map was listed in the wrong place and the hostel was actually a few blocks away.
Lesson learned. Don’t trust the dot and always write down the address and phone number.
Alright, all checked in – let’s get some lunch!
This was actually Danielle’s last day in Beijing as she was headed to warmer parts down in the south of China so this was our farewell meal.
We stopped into the perfect place – a little hole in the wall restaurant filled with local and not an English word in sight.
We were just going to point at pictures on the wall but the lady at the register offered up an English language menu.
For lunch we ordered potstickers, a lamb skewer and some dumplings.
And then, just for kicks, after we finished all of that we ordered some duck cause, well, we crazy like that.
As we were finishing her meal Danielle said she had a gift for me and my heart melted.
It was just such a sweet gesture and so unexpected that I actually felt really bad that I had nothing to give her in return.
She pulled out the perfect gift – a toy giraffe made of wood.
It was perfect because she actually put some thought into it as she had noticed the other day I had taken this photo of Guido my little stuffed dinosaur (horse? giraffe?).
I ended up giving her the only thing I had on me to give which was a keychain of a little white blimpy character that I had snagged with the locker key from my last hostel (shh! don’t tell them).
I kept the key part so now I guess we each have half of an ilicitly obtained locker key.
Anyway, I walked with her to the subway station and we hugged and said goodbye.
I really hope and know in my heart of hearts we’ll end up crossing paths again as we’re both travelers at heart.
I headed back to my new hostel around 4pm. I splurged the extra $30 a night for a private room cause, well, I thought I deserved it.
I didn’t really have any plans for tonight as I was pretty tired but, in a spurt of energy, I got my ass out the door again around 7pm.
Time to do some more walking in the cold.
Seriously, are none of the tourist attractions inside?
I took a long 45 minute subway ride up to the Olympic Park where the Beijing Olympics took place in 2008.
I had read that the buildings are lit up beautifully at night and thought “hey, I light bright shiny things!”
The trip was well worth it as the park is beautiful at night…
After walking through the Olympic Park for a half hour I was back on the subway for another 45 minutes to get back to my hostel.
By the way, when you visit Beijing you spend alot of time on the subway.
It seems like everything is at least a half hour ride away which, I guess, is a testament to how truly vast and spread out this city is.
I returned to my neck of the woods around 9:30 and quickly found out that late nights are not a thing here in Beijing (or at least the part I’m staying in) as pretty much everyone was closing up shop.
But what about dinner?
I walked up and down for a bit and finally, reluctantly, settled on McDonalds.
I did, to my credit though, try something not on our regular menus back home.
In fact, I don’t even know what was in my burger (various meats, maybe an egg?) and, frankly, I’m good with that.
So, while walking around aimlessly may have started the day and Mickey D’s may have ended it, there was so much awesome stuff in between that in the end you can chalk it up to another great day.
Here’s to Beijing being awesome!
Tomorrow is sadly my last day here but I’ve got some pretty awesome stuff planned for tomorrow too so stay tuned…