Beijing – Sunday

After another restless night thanks to the bear exhibit, we all woke up cranky, tired and wanting more sleep. But, the checkout time had almost arrived so we pried ourselves up and out to find some food. I knew right away that we would not be making a trek through the Forbidden City that day. I felt way too lousy, stuffy and coughing, with a full blown cold.

Instead, we walked a few streets over to a mall that has an enormous food court. I’ve never seen anything like it before. It had a bunch of fast food places and a Chinese style cafeteria, with all kinds of food. We had some Japanese style grilled food (Think Benihana’s only way cheaper).  Afterwards, all I wanted was some good coffee and a couch to rest on. We had 2 hours to wait before heading back to the train station.

If you ever find yourself in an international city with some time to spare, and you just want to relax but you don’t know where to go, here is a tip for you – head to the nearest 5 star hotel. They always have fabulous lounging areas with couches and coffee!! We spent our last 2 hours in Beijing at the Hyatt sipping cappucinos.

Back in SJZ that night, we were surprised to find our academy director outside of the train. Seems he had been in Beijing on business and took the same train as us. When he saw all of us on the train, he called to have our school van meet us at the train station. (We had all planned on taking taxis back to the airport.) As we drove out of the city we realized that we were heading towards the backroads. Evidently, there was so much fog that the highways had been closed, and soon we knew why. The backroads were also enveloped in thick fog. We were driving at about 20km/hr. The trip usually takes 40 minutes, but that night it took almost 2 hours. Thank goodness for our director, because we surely would not have found a taxi willing to drive us home.

It was a really fun weekend.  Even though we didn’t go to any of the usual tourist sites, we still have plenty of time to return and see it all, including the Great Wall.

January looks like it is going to be a good month. On the 26th, Spring Festival starts and we are off of work for one week. A group of us are planning on spending the week in Cambodia. We are working out the details now. I am really excited about this. I have wanted to see Cambodia ever since I watched “The Killing Fields” years ago.

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