Shannon had heard about a brand new event happening in Beijing today called Formula E. Which is a new form of motor racing using electric powered cars. It is part of the FIA governing body same as Formula 1. This was the first ever day and it will go to different places around the world throughout the year. (Shannon actually participated in helping me write that bit- which is rare).
So we trekked to the other side of Beijing on the metro and then walked for miles before reaching the famous Birds Nest Stadium, where the racing was taking place. The stadium which was built for the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 was very interesting to look at with a very cool design. We wandered around the site and then found a spot to watch the Formula E cars practising. We knew we didn't have enough time to spend watching the actual race as it was in the afternoon but we were both very happy that we got to see these electric cars in action during the practises.
After that we went to the Beijing West train station to book our tickets for tomorrow to head to Xian. It was a rather confusing place, no one who worked there seemed to be able to help us. But we managed it, we had taken our passports with us as I knew we would need them, we booked on the bullet train at 1102 tomorrow morning. It cost us the equivalent of £120 for both of us.
Then we jumped in a taxi to Tiananmen Square. We had already been to Tiananmen Square when we were flying back from Australia and we had problems with our connecting flight, we sneaked out of the airport and jumped on the metro for a few hours. Of course that was illegal as we didn't have a visa, and we probably would have got our legs hit with a baton had we been found out.
We wandered around Tiananmen Square and took photos- although we were hesitant as my dad had said he didn't think you could take photos as it used to be banned, but the many hundred other tourists were all taking photos. We even met 2 boys from Inner Mongolia who wanted us to take their photo (and vice versa). They were friendly.
Then as time was ticking on we headed across the road to the Forbidden City. It was around £7 each to get in. We took some photos when we were approached by tour guides, Shannon didn't want one but I did as I know what we are like, we spend ages looking at something with not much importance then missing the big things and I can't be bothered to read all the signs. So we haggled the guide down to about £8 as he would give us a quick tour, as the place was only open for just over an hour. He said during the day for a longer tour he charges up to £40. So we got a bargain and we were happy to go through it quickly. He asked where we were from and when I said Scotland, he started on about the looming Scottish Independence, I told him as I tell everyone that I am British and want to remain that way. But I found it so funny that even walking through the Forbidden City the question still pops up.
We walked the 1km through the City, once home to the Ming and Qing dynasties of emperors, looking at all the buildings and learning about them, who. Actually- as the Emperors ruled the city, it was the Empress that was in charge of the City. In the Empress' office she had a calligraphy that says "Doing Nothing". That doesn't mean be lazy, it means relax, don't stress, don't worry about things and take it easy. And I really like that saying. Although being lazy is good too! We stood under a 200 year old entwined Cypress tree, which was planted by one of the emperors for his wife, it is meant to bring luck to the couple, so we stood under it and got our photo taken. Our guide informed us in Chinese culture the woman should always stand on the right and men on the left. Which might make me rethink our sleeping arrangements.
Once we were finished at the Forbidden City we headed outside to see a temple up on a hill, and decided to see what it was all about. It was the Pavilion of Imperial Springs and gave amazing bird eye views out over Beijing. You could see for miles, and it was amazing to view the roof tops of the Forbidden City.
We assumed we were really lucky today as there was a lovely heat in the air and not only was the sun out shining but the sky was cloud free and soft blue in colour.
When we were in the Forbidden City we even spotted our hotel in the near distance, so decided to walk back to our hotel which was just over a kilometre away. On the way we noticed the sun setting so took a seat and admired the sunset glistening off the water surrounding the Forbidden City, there was a photoshoot for an advert happening with 2 brides and grooms posing against the beautiful backdrop, we watched them and the little children playing, and dogs playing in a dog park.
As we walked back to the hotel we came across another night market selling food- including starfish, seahorse, snake whole baby bird and tarantula!!!
I had already decided I wanted to try one of these horribly unusual items so we went back to the other night market we had been to and I chose 3 scorpions on a stick- they were still alive even though there was a skewer through them, they were wriggling away, once I ordered they were tapped on the counter and shoved in a fryer for a few minutes. Shannon also said he would try it as long as I went first. I bit into it and thought I couldn't bite it but the scorpion was already in my mouth I was just trying to eat the stick. To be honest it actually tasted fine- they had shrivelled in the fryer and were crispy. Like a small chip with no potato that's all! Then it was Shannon's turn, he tasted it, left a bit on the stick so went back to finish it off. Whilst it was in his mouth he said it was alright, quickly followed by actually no it's not. Then I had the last scorpion, it was same crunchy but not really any taste. Very pleased we were both brave enough to try it! As we walked to get dinner, and as we were talking another piece and another piece of the scorpion kept swishing around in our mouths, bits that had got caught in our teeth!
Shannon had wanted to go back to The Grandma's restaurant in the shopping mall but it was fully booked and as we walked around we found all the good places were full too, it was a Saturday night and the mall was heaving. So we chose to wash our scorpions down with a yummy McDonalds. After dinner Shannon was kind enough to hang around whilst I went for a mooch in the shops. I bought a dress from H&M and a funky shorts from Forever 21. I had always wanted to shop in Forever 21, so I was happy to purchase something.
Started packing up as tomorrow we say goodbye to Beijing and head to Xian.
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