Thursday, November 30, 2006

WaHaHa in Beijing !!!

I have only been to China once before. It was more than 10 years ago. One of my uncles was going on a business trip to meet probable business partners. My mother decided to come along. She tagged me and my sister with her. “Yey!”, I thought, “I’m finally going to China!.” We went to Xiamen, a rural area with not much tourist attractions. A place where public toilets not only came with the old fashioned hole-in-ground type bowls but also came without doors to keep what you were suppose to do inside private. (yikes!) We visited factories instead of tourist attractions. We mostly ate vegetables instead of meat (frog meat tasted good!). And worst, we were asked to be part of a scheme to try and smuggle in motorbikes. I bet my sister still dreads thinking about that experience. I was lucky to be young and was not obliged to lie if ever the immigration officers asked. I do remember being horrified as to what might happen, not so used to travelling abroad and all back then. The only good thing I can remember about that trip was meeting my grandfather’s brother in their hometown.

So last month, when my sister called me up to invite me for a trip to Beijing, I wasn’t really that much excited. “There’s nothing to see in China.”, that’s what I thought. And then I remembered that the Great Wall was in Beijing. Hmmm … with my recent desire to think less and just splurge on about anything, I gave my consent to join the trip provided that we go to the Great Wall. I wasn’t dismayed, it was “WaHaHa!” all the way!

Day 1: After 4 hours of travel time, we landed on Beijing Airport. There, a happy and cheerful Allan Lee, our tour guide, picked us up. We were ecstatic to know that we have the coaster all to ourselves!!! Allan then took us to a 40 yuan lunch with a 10 yuan (1 yuan ~ 7 pesos) 1.25 liter bottle of Coke (Yes! Only 1.25L and not 1.5L ^^). We noticed the unique way they serve fried fish and after all the green stuff that came out first, we were glad to see that the last dish was made from pork! (^^;) After lunch, we headed for the Temple of Heaven. Named so because it is where the emperor goes to pray to the heavens. It is probably also the only place on earth where you can stand at the center of heaven! (^o^)/ After much praying (over each other), we headed to see China’s famous acrobat show! At 120 yuan it was worth every penny. We then went to Marco Polo to check-in. Dinner on the 1st day wasn’t part of our tour package so we went out to the nearby Xidan district and tried KFC chicken. We fumbled at the counter trying to order rice, not knowing what’s it called in Mandarin. It turns out that they don’t serve rice! We asked for spoon and fork and the lady in the counter points us to a sign that says “It’s finger lickin’ good!” (^o^)v

Day 2: The streets were foggy from the cold. It didn’t help that we had to visit Tiananmen Square first. The square is most known, of course, for the Tiananmen Massacre that happened in 1989. It is said to be capable of accommodating half a million people in one time. On one of its sides is the entrance to the Forbidden City. It’s the city where the emperor used to live. And I bet it’s the only place in the world where you can find a 4-star rated toilet. (.^^.) I had to see what’s inside a 4-star toilet. I’d imagined it to be shining, shimmering, littered with gold or maybe even diamonds. But no! Except for the noticeable smell of disinfectant, it was just like any other toilet here in the Philippines. If this was a 4-star toilet, I couldn’t help but just imagine what their public toilets with no ratings would look like. (^o^)v The place was huge! It took us all morning to tour around it. After which, we had buffet lunch with “Roast Durk” and “Bean Card” on the menu. (Don’t believe me? See the pictures! (^,^)) After our meal, the restaurant manager approvingly snickered when we commended Allan for taking us early, before the throng of chinese employees came in for lunch. He must have noticed how many times we went back to the buffet table.

Before another long walk at the Summer Palace, we took a brief stop for a free foot massage. Aaahhhh~ ! It was the chinese medicine research center’s way of luring tourist to their lair. While being given a massage, a traditional chinese doctor examines you for ailments that you might have. He then prescribes you medicine from their cabinet. Medicine with a resounding “Ka ching!” that is. I was diagnosed with having a fatty liver. This he got from just checking my pulse and looking at my tongue! I have all the respects for chinese doctors and medicine, but I would need a second opinion back home, before I even think of giving up lechon (roasted suckling pig)!

After the massage, we went to the Summer Palace. Allan said that It was once where a young emperor was confined by his mother so that she she could rule instead of him. With the beauty of the place, it was endless posing and pictures for all of us again! (The palace is included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List together with our very own Banaue Rice Terraces)

It sure has been a long day, but the best was yet to come. First we reenergized our bodies by treating ourselves to the much anticipated Peking duck! Two ducks were prepared right in front of us. It was just heavenly! I learned 2 new ways of eating it! One was to dip the crispy skin in sugar. The other was to wrap the skin with meat in cucumber and ginger sauce, instead of the usual spring onions and hoisin sauce combination. Nothing beats experiencing the real thing. Next, we headed for the Red Theater to watch Chun Yi: The Legend of Kung Fu. We were expecting to see a plain kung fu show but instead we got treated to a grand theatrical play. Everything was so spectacular, from the lighting to the acrobatic exhibitions. It was the perfect way to end a perfect day. We heard that they’re preparing the show for the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Day 3: My much anticipated day. The day we visit a certified wonder of the world, the Great Wall! From the city proper, it took us approximately 2 hours to reach the wall. On the way, however, we took a brief stop at the Jade Market which we barely took notice of. It’s one of those side trips that you don’t really need unless maybe if you’re a jade fanatic. The mere site of the wall makes you gasp in awe. If ever you do go and visit, don’t forget to take a picture of your 1st step! We went to the highest section of the wall. Unfortunately, our legs couldn’t carry us all the way to the top. We had to settle for a watch tower somewhere in the middle. The path was narrow on some parts and the steps have curved in probably due to the thousands of people who have been there before us. If you’re lucky enough, you’d get the chance to see the different stages of puking, as our friend, B, coined it. We saw people nauseated and about to puke, people in the midst of puking, and people resting after doing it. It’s kinda gross, I know. Hehehe (^^;)

All that climbing resulted to all of us getting knocked down all the way back to the city. It didn’t last long though as our next stop was the Silk Street Market! Arguably the best place in town to find good quality counterfeits at a very cheap price. Tired, cramped up and all, that didn’t stop us from shopping! Well, my buddies at least. I’m not so fond of shopping. (.^^.) They were so into it that they even opted to skip dinner. Only my sister and I went to take dinner. This time we used our wits and requested the restaurant to serve more meat than vegetables. Hehehe ^^

Day 4: After 3 days of absolute fun and glorious weather, just when I thought we would probably run out of luck already, our hotel must have heard our ravings the previous morning, that today, they decided to serve crispy bacon! (our favorite!) It was as if they were asking us to stay a bit longer. Sadly, we were scheduled to take the flight back home that day at 10 am.

If there was anything I could complain about this trip, that would be the cramped PAL airplane we took coming back home. Good thing they had a friendly stewardess this time, who willingly obliged to my every whim of peanuts and water. ^^

Why “WaHaHa”?... It was our tour guide Allan who coiled the term. He said that if the tour or the food we ate was good we should say “WaHaHa!” He was referring to how funny we were. Making funny poses, taking pictures, oblivious of everyone around us. We were enjoying every second of the tour. Even turning a simple bench on the park or an ordinary jar into a funny memorable picture moment. There is nothing like a group of kalog (wacky) Filipino friends enjoying their time. Some may regard our actions as inconsiderate and child-like but as long as we are not in the way of others, I believe there is nothing wrong with it. With our antics, we may even have cheered someone up and added something to his/her Beijing experience. Just like the chinese guy who couldn’t help but ask us where we’re from, or the group of young chinese teenagers trying to mimic us, and maybe even the foreigner, at the back of our pray over picture, who couldn’t help but smile. (^O^)/~~

WaHaHa in Beijing Album here.
November 16-19, 2006

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  1. Mao diay dugay na walay bag-ong entry... didto diay ka China...

  2. so, that explains why i was never able to say goodbye to u in person. lingawa oi!

  3. Great blog entry, I always wanted to see the great wall :D

  4. @shiera! ^^

    thanks for dropping by all the time! ka-demanding pud ani nga reader oi. hehehe ^^ this week wa pa ko kasulat ... next friday na sab siguro ko maka-post. gasugod na ug busy busy christmas naman unta :( ^^ hehehe


    Hi! tawag bitaw ko para maka-greet ug tarong sa imo hehehe ^^ love your blooper blogs in Japan ^^ Maisip nako na those things can only happen in Japan jud (or maybe somewhere also nga d kaayo kamau mag-english mga tao ^^)


    Thanks bai!

  5. di ko kasabot mga comments dito bai. hehe.

  6. hahaha ^^ Your bisaya is getting better rico ^^

    Is this your new look? So i guess hindi mo na ginagamit yung electric shaver mo to cut your hair? hehehe ^^

    thanks for dropping by!


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