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Today we woke at 9:30 planning a 10:30 breakfast of Peking duck. Yeah except the Peking duck place opens at 10 but doesn’t serve duck until 11:30. Wth. They are a duck restaurant that only serves duck 70% of the time they are open.
It’s like going to a bank and being told you can only make a deposit at certain times.
We eat some other dishes and then go back to hotel.
I’m sick. OL is sick. Coughing up balls of yellow grossness. Both of us. My throat is killing me.
But we want to do some sightseeing. Yiheyuan is the Summer Palace. It was gorgeous when I went 13 years ago. One of my fav places.
OL realizes we are actually leaving for South Korea tomorrow. So no time for Beihai park. Good. One less place that will be ruined for me.
Honestly, Beijing was way better 13 years ago. There are too many ill-mannered tourists destroying the historic places. Just the amount of people flowing throw them a day is too much. Add to it people with no respect for culture or history and the decay accelerates.
So we head to Yiheyuan. By taxi. No more subway bullshit.
It takes 30 minutes and costs $9. We are deposited at the eastern gate. Hecticville. Tourists hell. The crowds inside number ten of thousands easily. This is not a pleasant tourist experience. Chinese people push and shove and cut. Stop on stairs to contemplate life. Obnoxious level 11.
This is not the Yiheyuan I remember. Mind you, it’s a weekday. We did all the main attractions on weekdays. And the paint is peeling and faded all along the long corridor. An absolute shame. This place looks worse than in did 13 years ago. Like nothing had been done to maintain it.
How do you sit on a wooden historic monument?! This wasn’t built as a long bench. Look, I get you’re tired of walking but a monument is not for reclining on. Think for a millisecond about how much damage you are doing. THINK.
Inside locked room we peer through glass to see shredded chairs and bedding. Why display such stuff? Cixi must be twisting around in her grave seeing what has become of her beloved summer palace.
They rebuilt the great wall and rebuild all their other monuments, Why leave this place like a ghost town. Well except a ghost town would be cleaner.
We go see the stone boat. It’s been badly renovated. Looks like it will slide apart at any time.
We head into one of the pay extra areas covered by our through ticket. They have a mini concert going on onstage. No seating for audience. The Chinese crowd the stage and the foreigners sit on stairs.
We go to take a few pictures. Suddenly this French kid is next to me with his obnoxious accent saying excuse me, we a trying to watch the show but your umbrella is blocking the way.
Omfg for like a minute dude. Chill out. What I say is I was taking a picture and I’m planning to move right now.
Douche. With all the rudeness from the Chinese you’re going to pick on me for having a parasol on a sunny day and blocking your view for um like a minute. Screw you.
We double back to go to Buddha incense pagoda.
Along the long corridor, an older Chinese man is collecting bottles out of the garbage. I hand him mine. He says thanks in Chinese. I smile. Then an obnoxious 40-something Chinese man throw his bottle at the man to pick up. Wtf is wrong with him? Does he think he is that much better than this guy? At least he’s doing something honest collecting plastic bottles. Bet the other guy steals and lies on a regular basis.
Chinese children wreck havoc on the monument spoiling it for us. They run around treating it like a playground. It isn’t. But their parents don’t care.
No one cares. That’s the big difference here. It’s all about each person for themselves and to hell with anyone else. I can’t imagine being that unconcerned and inconsiderate. And I’m a spoiled American.
The walk up to the pagoda is all uphill. Though the buildings are better maintained.
I start to lose my breathe after the 300th step. I can’t make it up there. I take some pics and then give my camera to OL to get the view from the top.
We leave and catch a cab back to the hotel to do packing. Can’t believe we leave tomorrow. Beijing may be the most disappointing experience on this trip. And I got mugged in Xian.
We went to duck place for dinner and had duck dinner. delicious. So glad we are leaving the city tomorrow. Gotta walk to post office and send box of stuff to ct tomorrow morning.
Today slept in until 10am. China is a lot like Italy with food. The Chinese get up early so lunch from 12-2 and dinner from 5-9. Very annoying. Vacationers usually don’t follow native time rituals so we are fucked.
We ate food in room and opted for a lighter walking day. Headed up to Liulichang for souvenir shopping.
The prices were crazy. I don’t get why you open with a price like 580 when you are willing to take 50. It’s so beyond stupid.
I got a wooden Buddha box and a statue I love.The statue started at 650 and I paid 295. It was a lot but I really liked it and it was good quality. But a snuff bottle painter wanted 580 for one bottle. I offered 80 and he turned me down. I don’t want to pay crazy prices for things. Beijing has the worst shopping ever.
I picked up a sandalwood bracelet for OL because the lady shared her cardboard box with us when we needed to sit on a stone wall.
I also got a woven purse very colorful for 6 american dollars. I have also decided to tell everyone I’m from Canada. Americans seem to get the highest prices. And be very hated so I’m trying a neutral nationality.
Liulichang was crazy high prices but at least there were souvenirs.
We dropped everything at hotel and headed to wangfujing. What a waste Wangfujing turns out to be. Allegedly shopping street. But nothing I wanted there. All western brands. I lived next to half the brands in NYC. Why the fuck would I want to buy them here?
The oriental plaza mall has the most confusing layout ever. The map doesn’t match to the code for each place so it’s impossible to find anything. They use zones sometimes but there are like 3 systems meshed together where nothing corresponds to anything. Hardest map ever.
We try to find subway restaurant but can’t. We end up at Ajisen ramen. Udon and beef lunch.
Then hit dairy queen for green tea blizzard. Walk around mall. Nothing I want to buy and the jade is in the tens and hundreds of thousands. Lol.
The bathroom. This is hilarious. Requires going into an exit door. And then through 3 more. The Chinese lady in front of me turned around after one exit door ready to give up. I’ve learned from experience nothing is logical here so I continue onward. She doubles back and follows me to the ladies room. This is a mugger/rapists paradise. How isolated can you make the bathroom?!
The best is that all the Chinese are using the three western toilets instead of the Dunde. I wait. Then exit bathroom and follow signs to mall. Go through one exit and out in mall. Have to walk back to find OL. Seems there are multiple entries and exits to the one bathroom.
We end up wandering along wangfujing.
Nothing we can buy though. Every store is so overpriced. It’s pointless. One place I look at jade. It’s 9000 yuan. The lady tries to help me. I say can’t afford it. She pulls one that is 6000 yuan and offers 50% discount. I’m like cheaper. She pulls ugly ass carving in horrible green color. It’s 600 yuan but I hate it.
Why would you open so high that you are out of someone’s budget and then be like it’s actually this price. So unbelievably stupid.
I stop for a jasmine tea ice cream. Ofc ten Chinese crowd up behind me. Gotta buy whatever the foreigner buys. Can you be more of a follower? Everything I look at or touch, they have to have. It’s just so beyond dumb. If I indicate I am heading somewhere, they all head there. I don’t even have to go there.
The Beijing Department store is another overpriced place. I don’t understand why anyone would waste their money on this crap.
And when half the country doesn’t have proper sanitation, how can you throw money away on Cartier and Rolex? And who is shopping there exactly?
We go to the foreign language bookstore, where hardly any of the workers speak English. Especially the ones on the English language book floor. That’s priceless. Good luck finding anything there because it’s not organized. Nothing matches the labels.
I got a new Chinese dictionary and it cost a pretty penny.
We wandered through the Dong An Night Market.
It was okay but nothing like I remembered. Just a small corner of stalls now. Used to stretch down the whole street. Sad to see how many good things have gone sour in Beijing.
We walk back toward the subway.
I stop at another store. Looks cheap. So i go look at the robes. The lady tries to be helpful suggesting ones but they are not to my taste so i make funny faces and noises to show I dislike them. I want her to know how much i don’t like them and that i am not playing the bargaining game.
Some douche trying to sell personal massagers (read vibrator). He pushes it against OL chest and then my back. I flip out. First off don’t fucking touch me. Second off don’t touch me with a vibrator. We all know what it is.
We go on to wangfujing subway planning to go to jianguomen for hot pot. But when we got to the subway at 7:20 it was sardine packed again. Who the fuck has rush hour at 7:30 on a Saturday?!
OL announces he cannot walk anymore. So hmm. What to do? We end up going back up into Oriental Plaza. Go to Thai place but they sit us next to kid banging spoon. I mention how annoying it is. OL says lets leave and gets up. Walk across to sichuan restaurant.
All he wants to do is sit. So we eat there. Food was good. Prices were decent. Had diet soda. Beef dish with snap peas and a plate of glutinous rice balls. By the time finished, it was 8:30.
Went back to subway and could fit onboard. Road to Fuxingment and switched to get to Hepingmen.
What a terrible shopping city Beijing is. Really disappointing. Now I have credit card but nothing I want to buy.
Today we decided to get steamed buns for breakfast. In theory this should work out. We found a place with a name in English. So we walk there. It’s about 30 mins from hotel. We arrive and they only speak Chinese and menu is on wall in Chinese. No pictures. Fuck.
I try asking what has eggs in it explaining OL can’t eat eggs. She then points to these cold meat dishes. Ew.
Every vacation, meals are a huge headache. Especially when the hotel has no breakfast place. Or rather no decent breakfast place that doesn’t gouge tourists.
In desperation, I go to bakery and get pastries. OL has oreos and butter cookies in room.
Once we’ve eaten, we set out for Hepingmen station to subway to Yong he gong temple. It’s noon by the time we arrive. We spend 1.5 hours walking around the temple.
It is amazing.
The absolute attention to detail and loving care put into creating each temple building and the buddhas.
I wonder what happened to those people. Because you don’t see craftsmanship like this anymore. The ceilings were ornate. The external architecture saturated my corneas. The buddhas lightened my heart.
I was in awe of the ginormous 18 meter Buddha carved from one piece of wood. I couldn’t get a good pic.
Ofc there was a little boy in croch less pants at the temple. And when his mother went to pray he laid down on the prayer cushion pressing his genitalia into the place where people kneel and press their forehead to kowtow. And also showing the entire world his irritated and brown asshole.
Ew. That mother is disgusting. And do you really think your prayers will be answered when you befoul a temple?!
There’s also a bottomless boy whose dad takes him over to a tree in front of everyone to take a shit. Seriously. On the temple grounds in public. I can’t get over this complete lack of respect. For the temple, for their child and for themselves. It’s just gross.
I loved the semi-covered statues depicting sexual positions with the Buddha. Perfect for teaching the young emperor about sex.
The gift shop however was a massive disappointment. Prayer beads for 1200 yuan. Statues for 800 yuan. Ouch. No books on the temple. Grrr.
Saw a cool metal wall hanging for 200 yuan but what a price.
I just couldn’t.
The shops across the street all carry incense and statues.
Ol saw some gorgeous prayer beads. I’m eating my jasmine tea ice cream
so he has to bargain. The lady however only speaks Chinese. So i translate for her but don’t enter the fray. he walked away at 40, but really wanted them. So we walked back and i said 100 for 2 huge green sandalwood prayer beads. Overpriced but she wouldn’t move more than 10 yuan and OL loved them.
We got on subway and went to Jianguomen.
Walked to friendship store for restaurants. Went to Steak and Eggs restaurant.
It was the best meal we had in Beijing. Clean. Quiet. The waitress spoke English. The food was delicious.
OL had turkey club with French fries. I had super breakfast with 3 scrambled eggs, 2 bacon, 2 sausage, and 1 ham. Home fries and a biscuit with jam.
Felt like I was in the US for a moment. Good service. Good food.
An absolute rarity here in China.
Then we went to the friendship store.
It was an absolute joke. The prices on the goods were equivalent to opening prices at markets and stores. Chopstick set priced at 185 yuan. OL got exact same one for 30 yuan. Wtf!
The whole point of the friendship store is to give foreigners a fair fixed price. A bit above what the good bargaining price is. But don’t rape them blind.
I get why no one goes to these stores anymore and they are closing down in most cities.
What I don’t get is why the government can’t turn a profit. Price everything at 10-20 yuan above the best bargaining price. Look we foreigners hate the hassle of bargaining for every little thing. It’s annoying and time consuming and we know we will never get the real Chinese price.
We don’t mind a little premium for a pleasant shopping experience. But charging ten times more than the bargaining price I can get is just stupid.
We walked onward to the Silk Market.
What a disappointment. I remember the fun of the outdoor silk market back in 1998. This is a poor substitute. The stall sellers are super aggressive literally grabbing a woman’s wrist. One corralled me into her stall and refused to let me out until OL reached around and pulled me out.
They opened with insane prices. 600 yuan for a small statue. Look I’ll go up to 60 but when you open that high I start at 35. Because you’re an asshole. I’m not getting tricked into the let’s meet in the middle bullshit either.
The silk robes were lined with polyester. Or scratchy brocade inside without a lining. Crap actually. Absolute crap. Nothing I wanted to buy. The scarves are okay but nothing I hadn’t seen before. Honestly Shanghai and Xian had better markets.
We left without making a purchase.
Walked to Guiyou department store. Browsed for jade but the cheapest piece started at 1200 yuan. Ouch. The cheapest one I kinda liked was 3000 yuan. The girl said we have a discount. Yeah not that much. I don’t get this price high thing. If I don’t know how much it costs I don’t really want to see it or like it. No point. Bargaining is the most corrupt system ever. It’s a way to fuck the customer to the wall with a nail gun.
So we attempted to get on subway at 6:30. Bad move. People were packed in like sardines ala Tokyo. We left. Wandered through another market. Decided to go to Baskin Robbins by friendship store to kill time. Had a green tea ice cream.
Then walked to jianguomen
and caught the subway to Hepingmen. Got more snacks for OL breakfast and water.
Dinner nightmare begins. We walk to fast food Chinese restaurant. The menu is not so good. We figure out what we want and order but she tells us nope only have two items left on menu. Wtf?! Why give us the menu then.
We leave. OL asks where, everything is closing. I say KFC.
At KFC they hand us a picture menu that has been defaced and is impossible to read. I tell her we can’t read it and ask for another one. But they don’t have it. Wtf.
So I ask if it is breast meat. She looks at me with zero comprehension. And I don’t know the Chinese word for breast. I am so fucking tired of this country, I grab my breast and say breast meat. She giggles and says yes. So I say I’ll take it. Get OL fries and ice cream.
Sit down to eat inside KFC on Qianmen. This is a nice area of town. Or so we think. Until a Chinese guy spits a giant mucus ball on the floor at KFC near us.
I kinda comprehend the street spitting but inside a restaurant?!
He’s just a pig dressed in human skin and human clothes. I mean this is beyond anything. I don’t understand how you can aspire to western luxuries and remain such an absolutely savage beast.
You can spit in a napkin or a bag. But on the floor of a restaurant. No. Inexcusable.
We walk back.
I check out the robe I almost bought. The price went from 30 to 85. I agree to 45. But then I examine it and there are all these loose threads and pulls in the sewing. Badly sewn piece of crap. So we don’t buy it.
OL and I decided to check out our hotel/hostel restaurant. Big mistake. First off the girl has a bill counter that she thinks tests the veracity of the bill. No dumbass that is just a bill counter.
She runs our bill through it 10 times. A bill OL just got at the HSBC ATM yesterday. So um it’s real. She takes another one from him. Same issue. The she runs one from her cash register through. It still doesn’t work. Yes idiot your cash machine is broken because it doesn’t verify the authenticity of a bill. And a comparison to one in your cash register doesn’t prove anything.
So we go to the buffet. It’s a fucking joke. For 38 yuan. Nearly $7 American. You get a small scrambled egg which god new how long was there, boiled egg, pancakes which looked ancient, egg roll of greasyness. There is tea or coffee. Then there is cereal and dried oatmeal which is okay with butter and sugar. Actually the best part of the meal.
There is bread and jam and nutella.
Dried out fruit. Ew. OL gets bananas cause they change colors when turning. There is some pickled veggies, suspicious looking meals and cheeses.
We avoid all of them.
At other hotels, breakfast was $2-4 American dollars and good. This shits the bed. More than that it is just another example of how much this country hates tourists and seeks only to rip them off.
But we wanted to get a quick start and get to the Forbidden City. So we ate there.
Headed up to Qianmen to get to Tiananmen. Not as easy as it sounds because of how streets are uncrossable. I think we needed 4-5 underpasses to get there.
We walked up to Tiananmen, where we encountered the ferocious mao line.
Legions of people line up to shuffle by his remains. Most of Tiananmen is taken up with the line.
Figure out a way to the Forbidden City using underpass. As soon as we start out of subway, an Asian girl starts harassing us. Asking us questions. We walk away. She follows. Finally OL just says no. She calls him a shit so he tells her she’s a shit.
This is par for the course here. Most peopler are looking to rip you off. And pissed when you don’t want to fall for their scheme.
The crowds are bad, but the elbowing shoving and jarring is downright barbaric. We are not in a mosh pit people, and I use that term loosely because I have never seen human beings act the way they do here.
Ticket buying is difficult because most ticket booths are not well labeled. We accidentally got in line and bought tickets to go up in Tiananmen gate. Which we didn’t even want to do.
The Forbidden City ticket line is an exercise in frustration. First some asshole who’s hawking tickets lies is yelling about there being a two hour wait for tickets. I ignore him and get into line. Or rather the penned in single file lines that someone is constantly cutting in front of with a nice shove at the window.
Old lady keeps hitting me with her umbrella. Guy behind me is seriously molesting my back with his elbow. Awful. I don’t know why lining up is such an ordeal here.
And this whole it’s cultural argument is bull shit. You either have a sense of personal space and respect others, or you don’t. And they don’t.
Because Hong Kong and Shanghai are not like this. Which to me disproves the cultural crap.
Finally get the tickets and OL and I join the herd of jackals entering the Forbidden City. It’s a free for all. Seriously.
Many of the ceremonial halls are closed to visitors. Kinda disappointing since guidebook talked about them.
Still the architecture is amazing to see. I just wish they has better control of the crowding. It was so much better 13 years ago than it is now.
But they do have the doors to a few buildings but roped off. I can see why. Chinese shove jostle elbow and pretty much kick to get a view before anyone else. Don’t try waiting patiently for your turn because it is Never ever your turn here. It’s whoever bullies the most who gets to see.
I stop trying after two experiences with this crap.
Honestly, the people ruined the experience for me. I don’t get why anyone would act like an animal in public at a historic site.
To drive home the point, some woman yells at her kid and spits food on OL. Fucking spits on him. He’s like Kour I’ve been to Yemen and never got spit on.
We try to make the best of it but honestly you can’t under these conditions.
You don’t want to know how much effort it took for this shot. I basically had to put aside all sense of human decency and wade into the mosh pit. Elbows and parasol utilized to fullest extent. It’s all about bullying. And I hate it. That’s why there aren’t other pics of the inside of places.
We try to see what we can and leave.
Go to nearest McDonalds and have lunch. It Ofc is a trek. I get the spicy chicken sandwich by accident. Damn you picture menu.
Some boho caucasian girl comes up and asks me if I speak English. I hesitate. Is this a scam? Unsure, I say yes. She asks if I know a good hostel in area. I look at OL. He says no we aren’t staying around here. Who goes to a foreign country without a reservation or a list of potential places to stay?!
And our hotel/hostel is a couple miles away and the opposite of good.
We walk back to Jingshan park. Enroute we see a kid standing on the top of stairs to a building entrance on a busy street squatting and peeing with his mom holding his hand. Clearly encouraging him.
Evidently children pissing and shitting on the streets is a common practice here as evidenced by the assless and crochless pants kids wear here. Kids being anywhere from a baby to 5. How is teaching your kid to pee and poo on the street potty training? I don’t know why they don’t have pooper scooper laws.
I’ve seen a woman walk her kid in our hutong to get it to shit. I say it because frankly this is not human behavior to me. Public sanitation seems to be unheard of here. Or at least unwelcome.
We get to Jingshan Park.
We climb up for a panoramic view of the Forbidden City. It’s worth the hike up the hillside. Gorgeous.
Also a super cool Buddha in the temple up at the top.
Sadly, all the pagodas on the hill were being simultaneously renovated. During the summer high season. This Ofc makes sense if you hate your tourists, which China seems to outside of Shanghai and Hong Kong.
We wander around park and make our way back to McDonalds for Oreo mcflurries. Enroute old man jumps off bike in front of grandkid and presses one nostril while blows his nose out onto sidewalk. Disgusting.
And the spitting. Oh god. It brings to mind hissing snakes.
Then took the Dongsi subway to Heping men and walked down to hotel. Passed liulichang.
A Caucasian guy comes up and asks if I speak English again. I’m like yes. He asks where the night market is. I tell him not around here. Its near wangfujing. He says cab won’t take him there. How is this my problem? Your vacay you figure it out.
Since going we’re to the Great Wall tomorrow, we decided to hit store for food for breakfast in room. Ol got bread. I had nothing went to Muslim supermarket and found croissants and cookies. On way back, we missed hutong street. Lol. I reminded OL it was before chicken lady, literally the lady who sits out on the side of the street with her chicken.
Dinner was Peking Duck. Delicious.
OL hates the skin so more fatty deliciousness for me. He loved the plum sauce. The restaurant was nice and we decided to go back again. I picked up a couple tshirts on the stroll home.
We reawaken at 11am. To a fresh smelling room. Wow. Progress.
We eat in room. OL munches on chips and Oreos. I ask if he likes breakfast in bed in Beijing. He fails to see the humor. I eat a coconut loaf with cream inside and a three flavored bun with red bean, coconut, and cream as three mini buns linked together.
Banks are generally closed from 12-1 so we decide to take a leisurely stroll to the subway. We walk up the hutong to Dazhalan
At Qianmen, we go into subway where they only sell one way tickets that must be used that day at that station. The attendant is nice enough to tell us this before we buy them from machine.
Wtf? No day pass no weekly pass no stored value card. This sucks. Worst subway ticket setup ever.
We take the subway to Jianguomen nei and look for HSBC. It is Ofc across a multilane semi highway. We find an underpass and make our way there. We ask the teller to help us but she says she cannot access my account without the ATM card. But she is really nice and refers us to customer service.
That girl is even nicer. She cannot access my account but she says I can get a one time lump sum of emergency cash given the situation. So we say let’s do that. It requires calling the US branch, me answering a ton of questions and them okaying the sending of cash to me.
Ofc HSBC laid everyone off (30K people recently) so it takes about 20 minutes to get through. Finally get live operator and she tells me my account number is too long. Because I added a number in case something happened. So I drop the last zero and poof correct account number.
I have to answer tough questions and I fail one. So they ask more. It’s intense. Especially cause if I fuck up I can’t get my money.
OL is with me the entire time. A total rock. it takes about 2 hours but finally the US bank pays my emergency funds. All the Beijing Jianguomen HSBC employees speak fluent English and go out of their way to be kind to us. The HSBC here jumps into action and releases 3100 yuan to me as soon at the US bank says they can. Minus a 160 yuan transaction fee. Which is wonderful.
The workers were super kind and helpful. A ray of pure sunshine in Beijing. Made me glad I banked with HSBC.
Finally have cash again and can enjoy my vacation.
We go to McDonalds for lunch next door and I splurge 7 yuan on pineapple pie and taro pie. I prefer the apple.
I have the fish sandwich but they put cheese on it ew.
I decide to pee but the restrooms are out in the shopping area. So I double back to get OL. I got way too much cash on me to venture anywhere alone.
OL comes with me. Western toilets with tp and soap. Very cool.
We leave uber grateful to the amazing staff at the HSBC.
Try to get taxi to hutong but drivers swears not know where street is and refuses to look at my map. BTW, this is first year Chinese to explain. And I do in Chinese. But he doesn’t want to take our fare clearly. We get out of cab disgusted.
Walk back to subway and subway to Qianmen.Walk back to hotel to drop money off. Stop in a few Dazhalan shops.
Lots of touristy junk. Make it to hotel safely and hide money in suitcase and lock it.
Then we decide to see Tiananmen square at night. Guidebook recommends it. So we walk all the way back up to Qianmen area. But it’s not doable. It’s all roped off. Grrr. We find this out after taking 3 underpasses to get nowhere since it’s blocked off.
Walk back and go to Gobuli for dinner. They are famous for their buns stuffed with delicious filings. I wanted 2 of each bun. Waiter suggested set meal which is a complete tourist trap ripoff. You get 1 of each of the 8 buns and a bowl of gross pickled veggies and millet porridge for 120 yuan. Get a set of 6 to go for 30 yuan-I find out later. Ouch. OL get tofu dish for 40.
When we go to pay, the waitresses giggle when the register lady rings us up and announces the total. I turn to them and say look I know I just got ripped off there is no need to laugh in my face. The register lady gives me my change and says goodnight.
My fault for letting the waiter lead my astray. But honestly, I wanted 2 of each bun and he made it seem like the set meal was the better option. Ass hole.
We go back to the hotel. Want to salvage the night. So I decide to get tokens to do a load of laundry. Get the tokens from the front desk and she asked you go now so I thought yeah now.
It’s in the hostel basement. In the hostels help-yourself kitchenette and launderette room. Um this place is filthy btw. Not just messy or a little dirty. No we’re taking filthy.
I put my load of clothes in and the soap lady comes with the detergent and puts it in my wash.
I refuse to leave my clothes unattended so I sit there. Washing is 50 minutes.
OL asks me can you see the black hairs in the chopsticks used for eating. I look over. Yeah. Try not to look around. He asks how can you not.
So the second washer is free and I dispatch him to get my clothes and get the soap lady back down here.
I have both washers going and in walks Bavarian guy. He asks clod wash clod?
I say yes both washers are being used. He asks clod how long? I say about 30 minutes. So he leaves his clothes there.
Meanwhile, 3 French girls come in to empty their dryer. First off, they cannot figure out how to open the dryer. Giggle feast ensues. They scamper out to hallway. Brave one ventures in and goes out to hallway to laugh. Takes several tries for them to figure out how to open dryer.
Then they erupt in fresh giggles. Clothes are sopping wet. Won’t dry wet. Need to be rung out wet. I know because one of them wrings out a top in front of me and water splatters on the floor.
I think Uh-oh and hope my clothes are okay in washer.
So then another girl joins them and all four attempt to wring out hand washing. And piling them on the edge of a chair back. I know it’s only a matter of time before they topple over. Onto the filthy floor. And they do.
Soap lady comes in when my wash is 4 minutes from done. She tells me to put my clothes in dryer, which runs 99 minutes. She looks disgusted by dumb French girls. Then she grabs Bavarian guy’s bag of clothes and starts emptying into my old washer. She gets to bag of his panties and puts them on counter between the sterilizer and the toaster. The counter where people make their toast.
Bavarian guy comes in and freaks about French girls wet clothes. Soap lady asks if he wants include panty bag in wash. She doesn’t touch it. He says yes and grabs bag to add to washer, but panties fall onto counter. He does not notice. Soap lady gets disgusted look on her face and picks up panties that are partly touching sterilzer and tosses into washer. Bavarian guy is super-hyper and jarring with his motions.
So I have a load of panties and tshirts in dryer and a load of tshirts in washer. 99 minutes in dryer. French girls re-dry their clothes, which means no second dryer. So OL must take my load of tshirts to the room to dry. I stay with my washing while he MacGyver’s ways to hang it all up.
Btw OL has been to front desk 3 times. Once to get extra token for washer, once to get soap lady, once to get hangers.
Random guy comes in to use dryer. Both in use. He asks me if this is prime time and how are mornings. Like I’m the fucking laundry queen.
I’m watching the dryer and I realize mine stopped turning. At 48 minutes. Open the door and it is warm but damp. Ugh. So I decide to call front desk but phone not work. I’m enroute to front desk when Bavarian guy asks, clod done? I say no dryer not working. Going to front desk. He looks alarmed.
I go to front desk and they call soap lady to meet me in laundry room.
When I get there, she has her hand in my dryer amongst my panties as does Bavarian guy. Who tells me, clod not dry. She then takes the filter off dryer with all the dust in it over my clothes. Ew. First off Bavarian guy is touching my wet panties and now soap lady is redirtying them.
She announces dryer is broken and leaves room. Bavarian guy follows her.
She returns sans Bavarian guy and say get clothes and takes me to another dryer on first floor in hostel wing, which has its own drying room for hanging wet clothes. This indicates to me place has shitty dryers. I put my clothes in the dryer and she goes to push the button but it’s fallen into the machine. Ugh. But the clothes turn.
Now I go to tell OL about the laundry developments. He’s in the shower. I go to write a note but can’t slide it under door. So I ring doorbell.
He answers fresh from shower. I catch him up on everything.
Then go back to laundry room. A little while, later he comes down to relieve me. He will sit with clothes while I shower. I feel bad but he insists.
He doesn’t return to room until 12:40 am. And guess what? The clothes are all damp. We now use chairs and drawers to hang clothes on. It’s a panty village in our room.
So we get up at 6:15 for breakfast at 6:45. Breakfast room opens at 6:50. We are only ones there. We get to eating. Then go finish packing.
Checkout at 7:30. It does not go well. Attendant at front desk presents me with a bill for 1190 yuan for room. We already paid this on Expedia at the time of purchase. So then she shows us another bill for 595 yuan. 433 yuan for long distance calls to credit cards and mom after robbery. 160 for breakfast. OL goes to pay this.
But because they took a 100 yuan deposit on my credit card he gives her 500 yuan. Then they ask for my credit card and I’m like it was stolen. I don’t have it. I have to repeat this ten times because they don’t speak English. And the only girl that does refuses to wait on us. I’m done trying to speak Chinese since the front desk acts like my 8 years of college and grad school Mandarin are impossible to understand.
Finally, the only one that speaks English is forced to help. She explains that there was no charge to the card. Just a preauthorization. Ok. So we pay the extra 100 yuan. I don’t have that receipt since it was STOLEN WITH MY WALLET. Now we understand and pay the entire 595 yuan. Which is about $100.
We step outside to get our taxi that we arranged yesterday and the guy tells me we have to wait because he has to change cars. Then he puts us in a taxi with a new driver who drives us to the airport.
At least he uses air conditioning so we don’t have to endure the stench of Xian anymore. OL munches the last of his super minty candies. BTW, they are named Unick. Say it out loud. Made me giggle for a while. Unick candies in China. It’s so wrong.
He takes us to terminal 1 because our flight is with China southern. Evidently flights are organized by carrier number. CZ is at terminal 1. When we get there, the meter reads 85 yuan. But he charges us the price we agreed to with the private car driver of 130. Yet another fuck over in Xian.
We get out and cannot find our flight on the big board. OL asks where to check in. We are sent to line 5-10. When we get up there the attendant makes a call and then tells us we need to be at terminal 2. Ofc.
We ask if there is a shuttle bus and if it’s outside, she says yes yes yes to everything. I think she just wanted to get rid of us. We go outside and find the shuttle bus sign
And wait. And wait. No bus in sight. Family waiting with us gives up and starts walking. We try to hail taxi they laugh at us. Refuse to pick us up.
Finally a 3 row golf cart comes over and the family doubles back. We all squash in. Our luggage in the open bin in back.
Get to terminal two and check in. Turns out China Southern and China Eastern are sister airlines and co-carriers. But in different terminals. Yeah um zero sense there but it’s the norm in Xian.
We take separate lines and OL’s moves faster. We check in. Get 28h and j. Then we go to security.
The dumbass takes my purse and scarf out of the bin and puts them on the belt of the screener. Then I go through metal detector nothing goes off, but they proceed to put me on a pedestal and wand my entire body. Making me turn in a circle away from my stuff. Does that make any sense?
No. But this is just how stupid everything is there.
I go to grab my stuff and my purse isn’t there. I freak the fuck out. That’s the last of my cash and my passport. I’ve got nothing left.
It was in front and all my other shit is there. OL tries to calm me down, but I’m having flashbacks to the mall and underreacting. All OL’s stuff came through and it was behind mine. My voice gets loud and louder as I demand where is my purse? I am on the verge of accusing the guy in front of us of stealing it when another bin comes through.
I’m shaking from flight or fight reaction. We go put my iPad in my backpack and I am still shaken up. I fucking hate Xian. Everything and everyone one. HATE IT.
(Note: This may not be a logical reaction, but this is just how I feel at that moment. And this blog is daily record of my trip experiences)
On way to gate, i stop to pee. Western toilet filled with shit. Do these woman know how to flush?! Seriously?!
I take the dun de. It reeks of urine. I swallow the gag reflex. Several times. Luckily I have toilet paper in my purse. Then the sink to wash my hands. No soap. Ew.
We go to gate 17. Wait to board. There are pidgeons in the rafters chirping. And possibly shitting on us. Great.
They announce our flight is boarding but when go up they tell us nope.
I go to pee at dunde bathroom again. Almost walk in on woman shitting. Luckily her cary on luggage (giant cardboard box) held the door closed.
We wait. Boarding time comes and goes. Flight takeoff time comes and goes. We go up and they say wait another half-hour. Awesome.
Same line as Shanghai. Minus the typhoon. Uh-oh.
I pee again. Get a western toilet with incense coil burning in corner. At least I don’t smell piss for a change. Nice. Soap but security person is washing her hands for major surgery so I wait and wait to get the soap and wash my hands.
Around 11 am they announce in Chinese that our flight is boarding. We all rush to the stairs. Go down. Woman with tuberculosis seems to be behind us clearing her lungs. It’s beyond gross.
We board plane. It’s nice. Big, 2-4-2 seater. Clean. Bathroom does not reek of urine.super cool. It’s 11:20. We wait a long time on the Tarmac. Then get pork balls and rice lunch.
Beijing airport is clean. For some reason they put 5 flights on one baggage turnstile.
Our cabbie has no idea how to get to our hotel. The airport taxi attendant tells him.
So we get to the main road for the hutong and cabbie pulls over to ask directions from locals. One tells him to turn around, another says turn here. A guy with a broom and pan leaps forward and madly gestures and makes these wheezing maniacal sounds. He’s trying to be helpful but it comes off as scary squared.
I can barely maintain a straight face. Then the cab driver asks another question and the guy jumps in again. I look at OL and we are both struggling not to laugh.
This shit only happens to us.
We get to hotel, Far East International Hotel. It looks okay. Shabby but somewhat clean. Check in goes okay. They speak a good amount of English.
We get room 222. We go to room. Step off elevator and are enveloped in urine stench eminating from Ladies’ room on our floor. Xian kind of stench.
The door to our room sticks. Then when we open it the scent of must mold and human urine wraps around our throats.
We realize the must and mildew is coming from the ac vent and the closet. The urine however is coming from the bathroom. We open the door and it smells like a gas station bathroom in a big city. Like millions of people peed there and most missed the bowl. There is black mold along the floor tile in the shower and around the door jam.
It’s a Xian style stench. We close the bathroom door. The rest of the room is dingy. Here’s our view.
The carpet is matted, burnt, and dingy. Ew. The furniture is all knicked. The beds are okay. OL’s however is broken so when you sit on it the bed slides and drops tot the side. Kinda like a water bed.
This is the worst hell hotel ever. And we a here for 9 days. We go explore the hotel and find the hostel in the basement. Ew. See a nice bar down there though. Very nice.
We check out the restaurant where meals are 40 yuan ($7) for breakfast. Ouch pricey. Since our room cost $38.
We see where we can do laundry. Two machines in basement in shared hostel kitchen. Yuckie. This is where hostel guests get their hot drinking water.
We read about the hostel courtyard but have no idea where it is. Turns out it’s across the street.
We go back to room and decide no point in complaining since the whole place is disgusting. And compared to the hostel in basement this is better. But we decide to buy air freshener. Walk out to hutong and explore area south of us.
Rain begins. We find McDonalds and have dinner. Then have mcflurries.
Find a bakery and get a 3 bun treat for me. It’s red bean, coconut, and cream. And a coconut loaf. Get water at local market. Explored a bit then came back to hotel.
Used the lemon air freshener we got at the market. It helped for showering.
But falling asleep was hell. My pillow smelled musty. So I lay face up. I turn to the wall and must and urine stench ooze out of it. The blanket makes my skin itch. Ew. Ew. Ew.
I get up and throw scarf over my skin. Then lay down. Decide I have to switch rooms in the morning. If only I had my credit card. I’d leave and go to Marriott. I can’t take this stench.
Then it gets worse. I get stomach cramps and have to pooh. God help me. I gotta go into the urine smelling moldy bathroom. I pray that it stops. But it doesn’t. It’s horrible in there. Third worst experience of my life next to getting robbed and living through 9-11.
Even though I spray freshen before entering. The urine stench is too strong. Pooh odor cannot mask it. I’m in hell.
Ofc I get two bouts of diarrhea.
Finally, the urine stench wakes OL up. He’s lived in Yemen. And he says he can’t take it anymore. The stench is trickling out of the bathroom.
OL says he wants to go down now to front desk and change rooms. It’s 3am. I say let’s do it we can’t sleep here.
We get dressed. No one is at the front desk. So we go upstairs and call the help line. Someone answers and we tell them the smell coming from our bathroom woke us up. He send the maid who doesn’t speak much English up. She tells me she doesn’t smell anything. Omfg. I know Chinese are used to stench bathrooms but come on. This is horrendous.
She calls the front desk guy says the is nothing she can do. He asks to talk to me and asks what I want him to do. I say change my room. He agrees. Maid takes us to third floor. Horrible stench in hallway emanating from men’s room but our room had no odor. Fake wood floor. Bathroom has no odor. Still some black mold but I can use the toilet without wanting to vomit. Progress.
Then she tells me to get room card changed now. Go to front desk but no one is there but girl sleeping on couch. Wake her up and then guy comes out of darkened area at front desk. He changes are room. Seems pissed, but don’t put people in disgusting rooms that make prison sound pleasant.
I didn’t think things could get worse after Xian. But Beijing seems determined to prove me wrong.