After 15 hours of flying, we finally arrived in Beijing, China! I quickly showered after arriving to the Penta Hotel and went out to eat. As Nilaani and I were walking around to find a place to eat, we realized how much we stood out. Many people asked to take pictures with us! After a failed attempt to order Chinese food, Nilaani and I walked back to the Hotel and caught up on some sleep.
The next morning began with a five star breakfast! The hotel’s breakfast had more that I imagined. They served American breakfast foods in addition to noodles, rice, dumplings, and more. After breakfast, we had a brief program orientation, grabbed some Starbucks, then jumped on a bus to head to the Great Wall of China. We had a sassy tour guide that told us funny stories to make the hour and a half trip go by quick. I’ve noticed that the roads and highways in China are much prettier. They are covered in roses and are landscaped very well.
As we got closer, our tour guide asked us if we wanted to walk or take a shuttle up to the Great Wall. The group agreed to walk, since you only come to the Great Wall once. DO NOT WALK. Our tour guide forgot to mention that the walk was 76 flights of stairs straight up. Walking up was a huge mistake. We arrived to the Great Wall about 45 minutes later looking very sweaty and hot. The Wall was so beautiful and we spent the next hour and a half walking and taking pictures. The group met up at the slide to toboggan down. This was definitely the highlight of my day!! It was so satisfying to slide down the mountain that we walked 76 flights of steps up. After making sure everyone was back at the bottom, we loaded the bus and bused back to our hotel.
It was time for dinner and Dr. Lee took the group to a restaurant in the mall called Hot Box*. It is basically a Chinese Melting Pot. We each ordered one or two vegetables to cook. We placed food in the boiling soup and dipped in in sauces that we made ourselves. The restaurant also had a buffet of fresh fruit and vegetables. Nilaani and I were thankful we were sitting at a table with hungry guys because the food never stopped coming. At the end we even got to see a man dance with a long noodle before putting it in our pot to cook. We slept very well after this grand dinner.
*Update: it’s Wednesday and Nilaani and I just found out the restaurant is actually called Hot Pot…oops