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The great loop of China - April 2018 - Page 1

Day 1 - Saturday, 14 April 2018

The long winded getaway

This is my 4th or 7th time going to mainland China depending on if you count border crossings to the Shenzhen special administrative region or not. This time I will be going around in a big loop from Beijing to Shanghai, via Zhengzhou, Xi'an, Chongqing, Wuhan and Hangzhou.
No doubt that will be confusing, there will be smog, and not enough mountains.
To celebrate my departure, the USA, UK and France have all decided to bomb Syria, again, because it worked so well the last few times.

Now onto the transport to the airport. In exciting news a new train to Melbourne airport was announced this week, with $5 billion dollars committed to complete a study over the next 5 years to prove that it cant possibly be done in a timely manner, so that will be exciting. There are already at least 3 different routes RULED OUT depending on which flavour of government is trying to be the most annoying.
Because of the persistent lack of a train, I as usual had to walk to the skybus, which is OK, its not far, but today was really very windy. Girls should probably wear underpants on windy days if they are going to be walking around in floaty dresses.
It was actually so windy I was concerned trees would blow onto me as I was walking along the path by the river, and I would not notice because I was too busy staring at that girls bum which was completely on display for everyone.

What does all this mean for my flight? I dont know yet, but I really need it to be on time.

You see, Singapore airlines have booked me on a flight with a 50 minute connection in Singapore to my next flight to Beijing, it will not have to be delayed by much for me to be sleeping in the airport. When I checked in and advised I was connecting to Beijing she said 'Wow, thats a tight transfer time, are you a good runner?' Yes.

On my last trip I suggested I would need to move apartments as another skyscraper was being built behind me, spoiling my view. So move I did, here is the new view of the city of Melbourne from my balcony. Just next to me they are building Australia's new tallest building, which will be 99 levels. A very strange decision to not add on just one more.

And here is a bit more of the view. At night, every hour, the casino shoots giant fireballs into the sky, I always know what time it is. Also cattle trucks constantly drive by on the street below, so I always get to see cows on their way to become dinner.

Rather than take the normal skybus photo, here is the back of the seat in front of me. Do you like artistic bokeh shots of metallic textures? If you do you might like this photo.

And here I am, looking even older than on my last trip 6 months ago. Still no grey hairs. Each time I wash my hair in the shower entire handfuls of hair come out, and yet I still have lots left. I am collecting it in a giant ball which I am going to offer for sale to charity. You can gofundme my hairball charity if you wish, together we can make giant hairball charity sales a reality!

Projectile vomit boy

My story of getting from Melbourne to Beijing was definitely one of two halves. Not just because it stopped in Singapore at roughly half way but because the Melbourne to Singapore flight was horrific, where as the Singapore to Beijing flight was wonderful.
Both planes were absolutely full, I was excited for the first leg because it was on an Airbus A350, their newest all plastic plane.
I had not been on one before and being a dorky plane nerd, that is exciting. However they are really small for 9 abreast seating, much smaller than the Boeing 777 which is also 9 abreast seating.
I still fit in the seat fine, but the seats are very hard, they have made all the padding on them thinner to accommodate the smaller seat and claim its the same size.
This meant parts of me started going numb immediately, thats when I became aware that a spoiled brat of a kid one row in front of me was complaining non stop that he was hungry and being fed all sorts of crap food - chips, chocolate, chocolate coated chips, jelly beans, a milk shake the Singapore Airlines staff made for him, you name it!

Anyway, Despite being very uncomfortable due to a rock hard seat with bits digging into me, I was really quite relieved because I had performed a full medical inspection of everyone in my vicinity, and declared them all to be free of ebola, truly a first! Then there was some minor turbulence, then the commotion started.

It is amazing how much vomit can come out of such a little boy, first all over where he was seated, then mother leapt up and held him over the aisle, where I was seated, and slowly rotated him like a lighthouse shining its light over the sea, only instead he was dispersing 5kg of partially digested food.
The situation unfolding in terrifying slow motion was made more complex because the seatbelt light was on due to the turbulence, the guy next to me wanted to get up and go to the bathroom and vomit himself, so I stood up, in the vomit filled aisle, and let him out, only to get yelled at by the stewardess who was remaining seated watching all this unfold.

When they did come and clean up, it was a half arsed effort, they put on masks and gloves and used paper towels and then sprayed air freshener into the carpet, which smelt worse than the vomit. Meanwhile, I walked up and down the aisle wiping vomit off the soles of my shoes into the carpet.

Vomit story out of the way, we actually arrived at Singapore ahead of time, and my gate for my flight to Beijing was adjacent to the gate I got off the plane from Melbourne at, so I actually had an hour to spare, just enough time to run to the lounge and load 3 free drinks into my backpack and walk straight out again.

The flight to Beijing was on an old old 777, and it was wonderful. Yes it was noisy, yes it was full, but there were no kids, and I had blood flow to my extremities due to the older superior seat design. The only mildly humorous thing on this flight was they couldnt make the mood lighting work, and kept fiddling with it for the duration of the flight (remember it was a 1AM - 7AM flight). So it kept going from pitch black to brilliant shining white and then occasionally the whole system would pulse between various shades of colors like I was at a disco at 4AM when everyone was trying to sleep.
Despite the electrical short circuit which 9 times out of 10 would cause a fire in the wiring and bring the plane down over the South China Sea, we made it to Beijing 30 minutes ahead of schedule, and then waited for a gate to park at. Everyone was perfectly calm despite this set back and remained in their seats until the sign was turned off, which I thought was amazing, no one is getting a negative social credit score today! Google it, I support this social credit system.

So now I am about 8 hours early to check into my hotel, not sure if I actually slept and therefore sipping a very good quality coffee in the Beijing arrivals hall admiring the brilliant clear blue sky out of the terminal window.
I promise there will be actual picture of things soon!

The dreaded Airbus A350 - I recommend avoiding at all costs. I still say the Airbus A330 is the most comfortable plane, its only 8 abreast seating instead of 9, and yet I think the tube profile is the same diameter or maybe even wider!

Totally redundant photo of Singapore airport. Each time I pass through here I marvel at the miles and miles of carpet. Whichever company supplied it need never make any other style of carpet ever again.

Pictorial evidence I was in Singapore, and charging about trying to avoid Airbus A350 induced deep vein thrombosis!

And this is where I have stopped to type this vomit story and other boring crap to kill time before I head into the city and drop my bags off at the hotel and wander around like a zombie. The coffee is really very good!
No children with split pants have been held over bins, I have not been spat on, and so far the milk is not poison (I am pre-empting comments).

There are currently 3 comments - click to add

MOTHER on 2018-04-15 said:

Finally a negative comment about a plane!! I keep telling you they are making them with less room all the time.

on 2018-04-14 said:

Late departure but ETR still early.

mother on 2018-04-14 said:

nuts as usual

Day 2 - Sunday, 15 April 2018

Pollen count

I am suffering from extreme tiredness so none of this will make sense.
Beijing seems much nicer than when I was last here in 2013. I think on that occasion I was actually sick and didnt go too far around the city itself, but I also think they have really modernized dramatically since I was last here. It could also be the time of year, because the blossoms on all the trees are generating a huge amount of pollen. At first I thought I was back in Taiwan and simpletons were burning fake money to appease the volcano gods, but no its actually pollen. I had a brief sneezing fit to prove it, despite not really suffering from hayfever.

Due to extreme tiredness, I have already walked 25km today, after catching the excellent train into the city, I just decided to walk an hour dragging my cases to my hotel rather than transfer to the subway, because I assumed I would not be able to check in. However they let me check in at 10:30AM! A great bonus, I told the check in girl using my fluent mandarin that she would be blessed by a thousand cuts and ascend to her rightful place alongside the gods soon!

My room is huge and plush, I have taken photos, and it is called about 9 different things, but generally Beijing Prime Hotel Wangfujing will help you find it on a map.
After spending about an hour in the shower rinsing my mouth with the badly contaminated lead water, I decided sleeping was idiotic, and set out for a walk again, down Wangfujing Street - the main shopping street. This street is full of people that try to scam westerners, I got 3, but now I speak Chinese and its a lot of fun. I told the first one who wanted to take me for tea 'I already got robbed today, I have no money for food, please help me!', I told the second one who wanted to take me to see the iPhone 11 that I work in the central government as a consultant and finally, the last guy who wanted me to go to a free calligraphy lesson I simply told that I am an expert in calligraphy from all around the world!

It is also hot, I went out in shorts and a t-shirt and looked at all the people looking at me like I am in idiot while they were rugged up in their winter coats. It was 24C, thats cold enough to catch your death for many a Chinese person, the only solution - drink more hot water.
Now I am waiting for it to be late enough to go out and get some dinner, it will get cold at night, so I will probably not wear shorts to dinner, I dont want anyone offering me an emergency pair of pants out of sympathy.

I came up out of the train station at Dongzhimen and this is the site that greeted me. Modern, blue, clean, leafy and pollen-y Beijing.

Nearly all the cars are electric these days, the traffic is very quiet.

Here is my hotel room. The internet works great, the bathroom is huge and has a separate full bath and shower, theres not too much crazy stuff littered around the place, although they have provided a full size windows xp pc.

If you live in Australia you are familiar with obikes and their competitors, if you live in the rest of the world you have seen the news stories about seas of dockless bikes abandoned across China. Here are the yellow companies bikes, heaps of them, but they are all lined up nicely and everyone seems to actually use them. More on this soon....

This is Wangujing pedestrian street. It is wide and has been rebuilt since I was last here. The trees are great, but have not got all their leaves yet.

To celebrate the upcoming Beijing winter Olympics in 2022, there is a display of water buffalo statues. Yes, when I think skiing and luge, I think of water buffalos.

This is where I had a sneezing fit along with everyone else. I have never really noticed actual pollen in the air before.

Electric cars are the norm. Beijing even hosts a round of the formula-e all electric racing series. I think this is an actual car, not a mock up, in side a car dealer inside a food court inside a mall inside a subway station.

The view from the other end of Wangfujing street. Actually its not the very start, there are big shed like structures at the very start where I think another new subway line is being constructed. Only this time they have not just dug a huge hole that consumes everything during construction, they have put up nice covering sheds to shield everyone from noise and dust.

These guys are getting pretty close to the wires while they glue a few bricks half back together. Actually there really was not too much dodgy work going on at all that I noticed. Do not worry, I will be heading out of tier one cities to places where sink holes consume entire towns soon.

Pineapple rice.

Here is the competing orange brand of dockless bicycles. Now there definitely seems to be some form of organisation going on, they seem to have turf assigned to them. But of course people that rent them can just leave them anywhere, and do... yet its not total chaos, read on.

I walked back to my hotel through this linear park. There are actually lots of them, all very well maintained, all full of people taking photos of blossoms while sneezing.

There are public toilets everywhere, and they all have attendants and are all clean. Seriously every couple of hundred metres. I visited 3 and they were all immaculate. This information is also here to pre-empt comments.

My hotel is quite near the national art gallery, which I have never visited. I doubt I will get time on this trip, so here is a shot of the outside.
I am already overusing the words seem and quite, but I am so far succeeding in not saying whilst, which isnt even really a word!

And here is a guy employed by yellow bike company organising the bikes. There are heaps of these guys, anytime someone leaves a bike they are there minutes later to move it back into position. Is this sustainable? In Australia this would be a $30 an hour job at least.

And finally, here is my hotel, from the outside. It is large and being re-skinned to attain increased modernness (according to a letter in my room).

Walking too far eating too much

Really tired now, eyes struggling to focus, tripping over imaginary stairs that dont exist, waving at confused Chinese people who I thought were saying my name.
Despite functioning on little or no sleep, I have walked over 40,000 steps today, its now almost late enough to go to bed but first I must type this and badly edit some photos

Tonight I went to Xidan, on the subway, the intention was to just go there, have dinner, come back, but instead I decided to go back on a different subway line and walk back.
I went to Xidan when I was last here in 2011, it has not changed as much as other parts of Beijing, but then it was brand new in 2011 with giant malls I could not get a seat in to eat. Tonight I got a seat, and had a great dinner of Shaanxi style Biang Biang noodles. Highly recommended.
Despite mentioning above that I was deliriously hearing voices saying hi to me, on at least 3 occasions in the back streets this evening, a random different old guy did see me and scream something out, each time I will just scream back WHAT!? in Chinese, then he will laugh, then I will use my famous angry glare, then a puppy will attack me, then I will sneeze from pollen, then a cop with an electrified bow staff might appear.

Most of what I just typed is true, especially the cops carrying the electrified bow staffs! in China you get cattle prodded now.

How many people do I know would actually fit in one of these?

I am going to have to retract what I said earlier about the dockless bike organisation problem being solved. All they have managed to do in China is take it up to the next level. In addition to blocking the footpath with millions of bikes, now they are blocking it with thousands of bike moving tricycle ute things!

A trackless tram! They have had these in China forever, and I think the concept has been around for more than 50 years.
I have seen them operating without being connected to the wires, which suggests they use the wires to recharge a battery, read on to find out how that works.

I wandered into the Yang Rou Hutong, literally - Lamb Meat Neighborhood. Their leisure centre has a pagoda. Actually all around it was some recently restored old shops and houses kind of on display, I wasnt sure if they were on display or if I was trespassing. Another tiny white dog attacked me.

There is however a free library. I read some Sun Tzu.

Here is the main bit of Xidan, shiny.

And here is one of about 20 food courts. This is a crap photo but I took it to demonstrate something I have been seeing a lot.
In places where they prepare your food out the back, they have cameras streaming to tv's where customers can see whats going on and check out how clean the kitchen is.

This is my sort of food court, well suited to the solo Nigel no friends diner. The floor below had a theme street full of little street food stalls, but all that meant was you cant sit down and you eat everything with toothpicks.

Biang Biang noodles. The production line of this place was a joy to see, at least 20 people working. All the noodles are made fresh by hand, mine are thick and long, I think it means long belt or similar. The Biang character is also the most complex Chinese character with 20 strokes, hence they put 20 random toppings on my hand cut noodles. Can you name them all? I cant but they were delicious. At least 3 mystery random meats and at least one of those was bits of sausage which probably contained a deeper level of combinations of mystery meat!

It's the famous TFBoys, what are they selling? Face whitening cream. Everybody wants to be white.

I am back at Wangfujing now, taking steady hand held night shots and boosting some shadows.

Here is the massive apple store, the place to go if you really enjoy notches and $1600 phones.

Every European tourist was having their photo taken in front of this church. By European I might mean Russian, hard to tell cause it was dark.

And of course, mass grandma dancing has broken out, the song of choice, little apple. There were probably 5 competing troupes along this part of the street. Just wait until I get to Chongqing where there were groups of a thousand! The competition between rival groups is so fierce in Chongqing that there have been suspected murders of group leaders!

And now as promised, squint at this, this is where the electric trolley buses re connect themselves to the wire after they have been operating on battery for a while. The metal plates help guide the poles back onto the wires.

There are currently 5 comments - click to add

chocky on 2018-04-17 said:

I think of all the food court blogs on the internet, yours is the best

David on 2018-04-16 said:

No I cant, thats what the contents and latest links are for in the menu at the top.

mother on 2018-04-16 said:

can you put your contents up the top so I don't have to scroll through everything I've already read to get to the latest bit please

mother on 2018-04-15 said:

i too wish to join the dancing grandmas.

adriana on 2018-04-15 said:

So clean, blue sky - you have rare photos. Hotel looks fab too. May have to visit one day.

Day 3 - Monday, 16 April 2018

A really long journey to a really big wall

The pollution came back, but the weather is still good. Its Monday so crowds should be low, time to go to the great wall of China.
When I went in 2011 I went to the most popular section at Badaling, that is easy to get to, theres a train! Today I went to the second most popular section, Mutianyu, there is no train. Instead you have to take the subway to the long distance bus station, then a long distance bus to a place called Huairou, then another bus that may or may not come to the Mutianyu Great Wall parking lot, ticket area and pedestrian scam street, then a shuttle bus to the actual gate. It is as if they dont want you to go at all!

Apparently most sane people hire a driver or go on an organised tour, I am not that person, but lots of westerners were.
I think an entire USA catholic high school was there, along with countless elderly Germans with VHS cameras, and French draft dodgers on parent funded permanent world trips busy pretending the whole place is beneath them. There were actually a heap of South Americans too, you can spot them, they will be wearing a shirt that is their countries flag. I also spotted a group of Indian business men, in cheap suits, dragging their suitcases along the wall.

Surprisingly, the whole place was very clean, and there are toilets at different points along the wall amusement park historic zone. It really is an amusement park, there are numerous cable cars and chair lifts up, and then a luge track to take you back down (Adelaide used to have the same thing somewhere at Hackham?).

I will talk more about the wall in the huge number of photos below, but first, my return journey!
I had to retrace my steps, generally this is easy, as every type of transport heads back to the nearest big city, Beijing in my case. However the local bus that went back to Huairou comes sporadically, although it does come unlike the stupid Kobe bus in Japan. They really need to be running more of these buses, it was full to the roof, people were standing on the seat against the window with 3 more people on the seat. I do not know how the driver was able to operate the bus as people were against the front window.
The reason this is occurring must be because all the dodgy fake taxi drivers are paying the city to make it hard to get to the wall on public transport. Personally, I would have taken public transport even if a private car and driver were offered free, but I am a raving lunatic.

At the long distant bus station you can buy pollution masks from a vending machine. Someone smart thought of this.

This is the bus stop at a random street on the outskirts of Huairou. The actual city looked quite nice, lots of plum blossom trees, new mall, nice river. The bus stop to the great wall is on a highway in an industrial area.

This is the entrance to the great wall pedestrian shopping street. It is also where you buy tickets. They try and force you to buy tickets to the cable car and luge. I refused. I went inside to the information desk and they told me to tell them I wanted the 45 Yuan entry ticket and 15 Yuan return shuttle bus ticket, and hold out 60 Yuan only, otherwise they wont listen because every westerner takes the cable car. Why take that when there is a perfectly good path up to the wall?

Here is the pedestrian souvenir street. I over paid for water here, and chocolate, they didnt have any real food. I have regrets I didnt buy food earlier! I did however haggle in Chinese and get the water price down to half the original price shown to me on the calculator. She still made enormous profit, charging nearly $3 Australian for water that should be about 50 cents.

I walked up from down there somewhere, pollution becoming apparent.

There is the wall!

The path up to the wall was very pleasant. Spring hasnt fully sprung here yet, not many leaves on the trees, but there was a snow storm of pollen and lots of flowers along the path, I skipped along and sang to myself.

The far side of the wall has some great looking mountains. Info on hiking routes is very hard to come by, frustrating. Lots of places are closed off from the public, they normally claim to be military bases. Some people go anyway, and vanish.

Mountains through window.

And after a lot of other photos, heres a photo everyone has seen before, the great wall of China.

I walked all the way to one end of the places you can get to and then turned back, re traced my steps and walked all the way past the other end into the wild parts of the wall.
I walked right to the top of the mountain in the distance in this photo.

Here is the luge track. Lots of people take the chair lift up, walk a hundred metres, take the luge track down.

Some more wall. Colors look weird today due to pollution. I passed a lot of American teenagers saying like a lot, its like, like, you know, like.

Here is a dog. There are a few resident dogs around here, they seem to be very well liked. This is a very old dog though, he just watches everyone.

A bit more of those mountains!

Still got to go all the way up there. This photo came out better than most.

A particularly steep section to come. I had lost most of the vocal fry suffering wealthy USA church group / high school by now. They had been replaced at one point by a very loud woman going 'BUCKET LIST ITEM......dramatic pause...TICK!

Still more big stairs to go. One of the highlights for me was seeing people, grown adults, having a full on sit on the ground tantrum declaring they couldnt go on. Generally husbands reasoning with wives trying to explain that he hauled her all the way here from wherever to see this, and now she just want to go home.

This photo is taken from the last of the official watchtowers. I had been all along the watchtowers. Now onto the 'wild' section of the wall.

Just before we climb over the barrier, I was actually impressed so many people had climbed to the top. Here is a reason why.
Many work places come here for team building day. I saw lots of groups with a similar sign or banner. If you tried this in Australia you would get sued by all the obese office workers for discrimination. Meanwhile, its not discrimination against non drinkers to make EVERY...SINGLE....OFFICE.....SOCIAL....EVENT an alcohol fueled competition to be the biggest wanker.
Rant over.

Here is a wild section of the wall. Notice the floor area is made of something different. I still think its been restored, numerous times, just not lately.

And now I am nearing the top, prayer flags have appeared.

I knew I was at the top, thanks to this very well placed sign.

A guy lives here selling drinks and snacks. Actually he lives in the crumbling watch tower with a dog. He spoke really good English for a quasi homeless Chinese man, we actually chatted for a couple of minutes. He never even tried to sell me anything.

Me. I was sweating. It was hot and the stairs are steep and I did it without stopping to rest at all. Wheres my medal?

Now to re trace my steps back down to the series of buses and subway lines.

Do you watch if you are the one? It is a Chinese version of perfect match, except the contestants will tell each other they are too poor / fat / old / stupid, then the judges will lecture the contestants on how they have failed their entire life. Anyway, here is where the film that inspired the series filmed its proposal scene.

Free entertainment was provided while waiting for the shuttle bus courtesy of the singing rickshaw man. His rickshaw is fitted out with huge blaring speakers.

And entertainment was also provided while waiting for the super full local bus, in the form of a bridge that exists for no reason and might fall down at any minute. It has intricate carvings on its concrete pillars.

The Mongolian spicy cold noodle denial

Tonights update will be short because I did not stay out too long because I got back from the great wall too late and am exhausted and cannot wait to pass out immediately.
On that note, last night I went to bed at 9pm after days of no sleep, I woke up about 2 minutes later (or so I thought) confused as to how someone was phoning me. Turns out it was the alarm I had set for 6:30 AM (late for me). I had no idea where I was when I woke up, and it genuinely seemed like I had been asleep for minutes.

Now back to tonight. I stayed near the hotel and wandered around a couple of giant malls. In them were hundreds of restaurants, a whole lot of different styles. You can get Japanese food but I feel it is not as popular as it used to be because China and Japan are engaged in childish name calling along with Korea over who invented strawberries and where the original plum blossom trees come from. This same drama caused Chinese people to pull the badges off their Japanese cars they were once proud of (another reason might be comfort girls and other war time atrocities).
Instead of Japanese food you can get specialty bullfrog, porridge, eel in Chinese style, dumplings from every part of the world with everything in them and even what I think was a place that freezes everything with liquid nitrogen before you eat it.

I selected a flash looking Mongolian restaurant on level 12. I didnt know it was Mongolian until I was told by the English speaking greeter, but I liked the look of a noodle dish with vegetables piled high. I sat down and waited, the waitress came and I told her what I wanted, in Chinese, she said nothing and looked worried...
Now another waitress comes back with her and tries to tell me in English that I wont like this because it is cold noodles, and spicy sauce. Yes I knew that. I tell them both this is what I want, they understood me, but still looked worried, and now some poor woman was dragged over, possibly the owner but not wearing a uniform. She tells me its too spicy, too unusual, I wont like it. Annoyed by now, I pointed at something on the menu with a lot more chilli warnings than the one I was denied, some kind of special oat based noodles native to Mongolia. They looked horrified. I told them all I love big spice, bring me this, add more chilli!!! I also ordered some dumplings, they felt relieved that I would get something the weak western palette can handle.

China also has Family Mart. It is very similar to Japan, many of the same products. These seem to sell out every day, I have been in this one multiple times to buy water / pepsi, it is fully stocked in the morning and empty in the evening.

You can still also find fruit sellers with their carts. It all looks amazing, but I can only eat fruit if its been cut up for me and put in plastic, like they do at Family Mart.

This place is very huge, and made more so because a lot of the shops are a labyrinth of tiny corridors. I could not find dinner in here.

Nearby I did find this thing. You may have seen the swimming pool with the never ending wave where you surf while staying still? This is the skiing version of it, a moving floor ski slope. Unfortunately its not working on a Monday night so I dont get to see anyone break their neck trying to use it.

This place is even bigger than the other place. Too upmarket for me though, I did not find my dinner here.

The police are everywhere here. These guys are getting yelled at by their boss before they start their shift. Note they wear flashing red and blue lights on their shoulders. Surely that is annoying to have that flashing in your peripheral vision all night? The yelling is all for show I presume, he is probably yelling messages the government wants yelled out in crowded areas so the population can think it is important.

Here is my dinner, the above mentioned not cold noodles and some dumplings that were filled with scrambled egg and pickled vegetables. Very nice but I did not get the pile of cold vegetables I wanted, despite my best repeated efforts. I saw other people getting the thing I tried to order, the ONLY reason I was not allowed to have it is because my eyes are too round.

Tonights dancing grandmas are performing an erotic fan dance. A grandpa may have snuck in there too.

There are currently 4 comments - click to add

bobule on 2018-04-17 said:

excellent photos! needs more beef though

David on 2018-04-16 said:

Point at the menu or someone elses food, or go to a place with an English menu. Although the english menu places are going to be pizza and french fries and steak.
To answer your other questions, yes it is an aqueduct, although its no longer used, the dogs were very well fed, the bare area was a clearing with some Chinese characters etched into the hill, I think because planes descending into the airport fly straight overhead.

jenny on 2018-04-16 said:

So many malls for me to explore, but how do I order food with no Chinese?

mother on 2018-04-16 said:

great wall is great. Some excellent photos. Could the bridge be an aquaduct? Does anyone feed the poor old dog? Also wondering what the bare area is in the background on the mountain of some of your wall photos

Now there is a page 2, I will still be in Beijing for all of page 2.


Day 1 - Saturday, 14 April 2018
  The long winded getaway
  Projectile vomit boy
Day 2 - Sunday, 15 April 2018
  Pollen count
  Walking too far eating too much
Day 3 - Monday, 16 April 2018
  A really long journey to a really big wall
  The Mongolian spicy cold noodle denial
Day 4 - Tuesday, 17 April 2018
  The west lake of the northern capital
Day 5 - Wednesday, 18 April 2018
  The bee filled mountain of many amenities
  An uncomplicated exchange
Day 6 - Thursday, 19 April 2018
  The bus debacle illegal taxi comedy show
  Fun running race but I cant join in
Day 7 - Friday, 20 April 2018
  From the old to the new old
  The most China of places I have ever been
Day 8 - Saturday, 21 April 2018
  Everybody was kung fu fighting the rain
  The new old is new again
Day 9 - Sunday, 22 April 2018
  Named in my honor
Day 10 - Monday, 23 April 2018
  How to make a short train ride really long
  The grandest scale