This past weekend (my second weekend in China) I traveled to Beijing with some of my good friends. This country still continues to amaze me, and my trip was absolutely amazing.
My journey began Friday afternoon. After our weekly Chinese Language table and tutoring ended around 1:30pm and I was on my way to Beijing literally minutes after. To get to Beijing, we took the Tianjin subway to the Tianjin train station, where we bought our bullet train tickets to Beijing. The train only cost about 55 元, which is just under $10. That’s dangerously cheap – I want to go back already. The bullet train took about 30 minutes at a high speed of about 300 km/hour which is equal to over 185 miles/hr. From the Beijing train station, we took the Beijing subway for about another 30 minutes until we were to our destination. This is the first time I’ve traveled without an adult or knowing exactly where I was going or what I was doing, and it was both exciting and somewhat scary. We left the subway station and were on a street in Beijing. My group of 7 friends, including me, knew our hotel was in the area, but we were not exactly sure where. After walking around for half an hour and asking some people, we finally found our hotel and checked in. Our hotel was a 3 star hotel, and we only paid about $40 (US dollars) total to stay the night, it was so cheap because the cost was split between 3 people!
After settling in, our group went on a mission to find the famous Beijing Peking duck (北京烤鸭). We found 大董 (Dadong) which was a couple blocks from the hotel. This meal was one of my best meals I’ve had since coming to China. It might have even been the best. We ordered 5 dishes, and we had 3 complementary dishes along with it. Everything about this meal was wonderful. It was very expensive, but it was worth it. I spent the night with the same group of friends as well. Beijing is awesome.
On Saturday, a group of 5 friends including me traveled to Tiananmen Square. We took the subway again, which is very convenient. We were got off the subway and walked up the stairs only to see a big temple with Chairman Mao’s portrait. We walked around the beautiful area, filled with people trying to sell various goods without getting caught by the police. We didn’t buy tickets to enter the Forbidden City, but I am most definitely going back. After walking around we entered Zhongshan Park (中山园), a beautiful area with rows of trees and probably the freshest air in Beijing. Because of the ridiculous amount of pollution, the air quality and smog is terrible. We had a lot of fun walking around, and stopping for an ice cream snack. I was completely content.
From the park, we took the subway back to the train station and made our way home to Tianjin. By this point, we were tired from our travels. It was a wonderful feeling walking up the subway back in Tianjin, knowing we were home safe and sound.
For dinner, I had my first Subway meal here with Meghan and a friend. The subs here are so much smaller, but it was nice to have a familiar meal. Meghan ordered soda and we decided to refill it, only to realize that 2 minutes afterward the employees had put up a sign reading “No Refills” in English…oops.
My trip to Beijing was amazing. We were not there for very long, but it is so easy to return. I can’t wait to explore more of the city; I will be traveling there many more times while I am here.