So, we left Xi’an and headed to Beijing on a train. We were in a sleeper car. 12 hour ride from Xi’an to Beijing. It wasn’t too bad. We slept away several of those hours. We had to wake up around 4:30/5am though. We pulled into the station at 6am, checked into our hotel, got an hour or two of rest, and then we were off to the Summer Palace.
In Beijing, we had a full full schedule. We visited the Temple of Heaven, Tian’anmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Summer Palace, and the Spirit Way (Ming Tombs). We were there for 5 days. Sunday was our day off. I went to Beijing International Christian Fellowship with some people in our group that morning. Earlier, almost all of us got up before dawn and went to Tian’anmen Square to see the flag raising at dawn. It was a gorgeous day that Sunday, too! There was a clear sky and snow on the ground.
We went from Beijing to Shanghai on a sleeper train as well. This one was a 15 hour ride though. It was a considerably different experience. Seriously, we were in the foreigners car. Almost everyone in that car was a foreigner. I think there was one berth that had Chinese in it. We got to sleep in a little on this one though. We didn’t pull in until 10:30am.
We had 2 days in Shanghai. The day we arrived and, also, one full day. I didn’t do a ton in Shanghai. It was mainly a rest time. I did go out and explore downtown a bit with some people that first day. It was such a nice day that we all wanted to be outdoors.
Until, that is, we ran into this group of super vivacious Chinese that convinced us to go to a tea place with them. Pretty sure we got scammed. We got to try some good tea, learned some about it, too. However, the trade-off of that was some super flirty Chinese. Both the guys and the girls. Can you say predatory? Shudder. It was kinda amusing though. Tiana got proposed to. She ignored the question. Which, for Chinese..that means no. Well, it could have been much, much worse. Halfway through, they asked if we wanted to stop because if we kept going, it would cost more money. We stopped right then. It cost 220 kuai (yuan/RMB) per person. Yuck… But again, it could have been much, much worse. Thank you, God.
The rest of my time there, I mostly stayed around the hotel. I needed a rest day. A lot of the group went to Hangzhou during the full day. I didn’t want to spend that much money, and I was perfectly content to having a day of rest.