We have made it to Beijing and have had our first successful Couch Surfing experience. We are staying with Marcus, a German that teaches English to Kindergarten kids. I thought it was funny that an engineer from Germany would teach kids until I found out that he has an assistant. And that the school pays for his apartment. And his computer. And his flights to Europe. And he get more than two months off every year. Oh yeah and he only works 16 hours a week. Are you kidding me?! Wo bu xiang xin, I told him! (I can’t believe it).
Here’s Danielle and Marcus having breakfast. We eat most of our meals on the street. Everything is cheap and very tasty. Today we had an egg, green onion, some Chinese sauces, and a wonton all wrapped in a crepe. It was about 35 cents. Last night we ate a fish shaped pancake with chocolate melted on the inside for dessert.
It is hard to describe how big Beijing is. The number, 30 million residents doesn’t do it justice. Everywhere you look, there are skyscrapers. For the Olympics, they are trying to teach everyone some basic English. It seems to be working. Everyone we have met is very friendly and eager to help. Of course some people are still trying to take your money, but I don’t really blame them. I feel like I am throwing money around. We went out to a nice dinner. A bottle of plum wine and 3 dinners was under $20.
Today we went to Gu Gong, the Imperial Palace (aka: Forbidden City) and Tiananmen Square. The Imperial Palace was built in 1420 only for royalty (Ming and Qing dynasties) until 1924 when the people took over and kicked out the monarch. Then the Communist Party took over, that will teach them!
Tomorrow, we go to the Summer Palace and then sometime in the next few days... THE GREAT WALL!
The pollution has been very minimal. We haven’t seen any cloud seeding, and a lot of people drive cars. So for those of you reading my previous posts, maybe they were all lies.