Time for a confession: I must admit that Z is the one that planned this trip. Doing the Trans-Siberian was always his dream, and it was his planning that created our route doing the Trans-Mongolian version of that, then touring China, then going back to London via the Silk Route. Literally all I was responsible for this summer was figuring out our one day visit to the Great Wall, which you most commonly access with a day trip from Beijing. That’s all I was doing, really. I decided I wanted to do the hike from Jinshanling to Simitai, a 6 or so hour hike that seemed challenging (yay activity!) but also beautiful, and not absolutely covered with tourists like some other sections. Yay, I made a decision! Go me!
Remember a few weeks ago I was complaining about something or other, as I do, and got scared that I wouldn't be able to find vegan dumplings in China, the one thing that would make it all worth it? Haha maybe dumplings aren't that powerful but they are amazing and I had so many dumplings, guys. We even went to a place just called Vegetarian Dumpling. Twice. The food in Beijing was incredible, and I would happily go back there to hit more of the places on my list. After the boring food of Siberia and Mongolia, China so far has been a food paradise. There's enough English spoken in Beijing that finding out what was vegan at regular restaurants was pretty simple, but when there are so many all vegan 0r vegetarian restaurants to try, why even bother elsewhere?
We’ve been together on this journey for a while, right? So it’s okay to get a little personal. Today we’re going to talk about what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real. The Real World: China. No we are going to talk about health issues we faced in Beijing, and then be rewarded with a look at our hilarious attempt to fix the little baby laptop in a huuuge Chinese computer parts superstore center where no one spoke English. It's like an interlude. La la la la...
After the endless dilapidation of Mongolia, the modernity and familiarity of a big city like Beijing was a breath of fresh air. Well, a breath of air. Walking around the smog with giant smiles on our faces, we have never been so happy to see Starbucks, H&M, heck they even had a Uniqlo! There were SKYSCRAPERS! THERE WERE SIDEWALKS! The cars were driving on paved roads! With painted lines on them for following traffic! No one followed the lines or any semblance of traffic laws but still, they were there! We were so happy to be in an established city, you cannot believe. Every time we saw stairs that weren’t falling apart, we smiled. Sure, for some reason the stairs all over the city are only 3 inches in height (what’s going on there) and we have to take them at least 2 at a time to make any progress and going down two steps at a time is suuuuuperrrr awkward, but hey, it’s A CITY!
Dear little baby laptop diary,
Here we are on our 8th long train journey of the summer but the very first part of our China adventure! For the next 30 hours, I look to you for support, for guidance, for refuge from our very very loud Canadian male cabinmates (I thought Canadians were polite loudness beyond all decibel recognition is not polite). But most of all, I look to you for distraction from the fact that the bathrooms might be closed for 6 full hours tonight, for customs and bogie (wheel) changing. I am not stress-free, I’ll say that.