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The Eclectic Pen - A Novice Traveler in Beijing Day Three

By: IONE L. (zaneygraylady)   + 85 more  
Date Submitted: 8/28/2007
Last Updated: 8/28/2007
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs » Travelers & Explorers
Words: 823


This was the day of the wedding. The wedding was going to be at six in the evening. Jesse and Iris had a lot to do for the wedding so they would not be available as tour guides for us. We were all on our own. Dave, Kilah, Judah and I decided to walk to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. It was supposed to be a short walk from our hotel.

It was a very hot day and a Saturday so it was also very crowded. We stopped at some shops along the way. A nice couple of Chinese kids approached Dave and me. They were around college age and spoke very good English. The boy was asking Dave questions about America and Dave was regaling him with stories about life in Kalamazoo Michigan. To hear Dave talk there were deer and bear right in our back yard. Dave got his due though because the young man was as good at telling yarns as Dave was. He said he was an art student and had a display right on the way to the Forbidden City. As he and Dave were telling their stories the girl was talking to me. Kilah was getting uncomfortable since we were taken down a street that was looking pretty seedy. I started calling Dave and telling him to come back, but he was ignoring me. I stopped and told the girl we had to go. She could tell I knew something was up and she backed off. Kilah and I were trying to decide if we should leave Dave on his own or try to divert him. Finally Kilah said she would wait with Judah while I retrieved Dave. I followed him into a little shop that was selling what looked like mass produced Chinese art. Not too threatening. I firmly told Dave that we had to leave, that his sister was waiting for us and we had to go now. Dave was not grateful for my rescue and I was angry that he could have put us in harms way.

The rest of the afternoon went downhill from there. It was hot, tired and irritated. My daughter was also irritated and Dave was irritated because we were. We were all bickering. When we found the Forbidden City it was crowded and there was a big line to get in. We crossed the street to Tiananmen Square, which was also crowded. I said I was too tired and hot and wanted to go back to the hotel. Dave likes museums and I donít so Kilah and I decided to go back with Judah and left Dave to his own devices. I think we all had jet lag although we were in denial.

On the way back Kilah and I found Outback Steakhouse. I was tired and famished. The meal was wonderful. It was cool and not crowded at all. We went back to the hotel and decided we were ready for more sight seeing. We decided to go to the Lama Temple. That was a wise choice. The atmosphere was so different from the crowded places we had just left. It was beautiful, serene, and holy. It is a series of beautiful ancient building each with different Buddhaís inside. People were praying and burning incense. Even though I am not a Buddhist I could feel a presence of something holy. Some of the temples had a place where you could put an offering. Although I didnít pray to the Buddha I told my grandson that we could put some money in and make a wish. I told him I wished that we would not fight anymore.

We left the Lama Temple in good spirits. We caught a cab and showed him the card to the hotel. He took us to the wrong Crown Plaza. There are two in Beijing. We showed him the card again and pointed to the address. He seemed very upset. He was talking on a radio in Chinese to somebody to get directions I think. I was very concerned that we had ruined his day. After having a long taxi ride through Beijing we finally got to our hotel. I mentioned to my daughter that I was sorry for the taxi driver and she said, ď Mom, donít you know that he did that on purpose? Our hotel is very well known. There is no way he didnít know the way to our hotel.Ē I still like to believe that it was an honest mistake.

Tips from a weary traveler:
Donít go to major attractions on Saturday or Sunday
Even if you donít think you have jet lag, you do
Many Chinese will seek you out to speak English; they probably have something to sell
If you donít like what you are doing donít give up take a break and try something less stressful

The wedding to follow

The Eclectic Pen » All Stories by IONE L. (zaneygraylady)

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Silvercat - - 8/28/2007 8:51 PM ET
Amazing yarn...I don't blame you for feeling alarmed at being led away from your destination! I'd be uneasy, too. The temples you visited sound wonderful. It is tiring to process so much stimulai at one time tho'...isn't it? Onward to the wedding now.... :)
Comments 1 to 1 of 1