They woke up at 5:20 AM to get ready to leave for their flight to Beijing. Mallory is currently brushing her teeth. Stephen says their check-in luggage was already taken last night and now he only has his camera bag which he will carry onto the airplane. The hotel they're staying at usually starts breakfast at 6:30 AM. But, the tour group made a deal with the hotel to serve a limited breakfast 30 minutes earlier today since they have an early flight to Beijing.
They got on a flight to Beijing. Afterwards, they took a bus and rode a rickshaw around parts of Beijing. They stopped by a local's house and asked that local some questions. Next, they walked to the Drum Tower and Bell Tower. The tour guide told them that before electricity and clocks existed, these towers were used to tell time.
During the daytime, people could use the position of the sun to determine the time, but they couldn't do that at night. So, they hit the drums and the bell simultaneously in 2 hours intervals until morning. In order to determine when 2 hours had passed, they devised a method using string, a metal ball, a metal plate, and incense. They hung a metal ball on a string and burned incense. The incense takes 2 hours to burn and the incense would eventually burn the string which would cause the metal ball to drop onto the metal plate below it. So, the sound of the ball hitting the metal plate would signify that 2 hours had passed and they would hit the drum and bell. It takes 60 steps to get to the top of these towers and it's a steep climb. They also have the drums displayed at the top of the towers. One of the drums displayed was torn by the Eight-Nation Alliance when they invaded Beijing in the early 1900s.
Then, they go to their hotel room at Novotel Beijing Xin Qia. Their room is smaller and is not as fancy as their previous hotel rooms have been. But, Stephen says that it still looks nice. Stephen talks about how most of the tour today mostly consisted of sightseeing and that they didn't learn much information today. Then, he talks about the current status of his vision. Stephen said on Day 3577 that his eyes were unable to focus on anything within 9-10 inches of him after putting on a motion sickness patch. It was a side effect of the patch that could possible last for several weeks. Stephen mentions that it also made his eyes sore. Last night, his vision almost completely returned. When he woke up this morning, his vision was completely back. He says that he will probably never use those motion sickness patches again.
Later, they went with Mark and Rhonda to a Cantonese Dim Sum restaurant for dinner. They just randomly ordered stuff off the menu without knowing what they were. Mal had seen chocolate dumplings on the menu, so she also ordered that. Mal and Rhonda try the chocolate dumplings and they both agree that they're good. The dim sum restaurant they went to was located in a 6 floor shopping mall. After leaving the mall, Stephen realized that there was another shopping mall just across the street.
Back in the hotel room, Stephen says that their tour guide had told them that the hotel they are staying wasn't going to be as nice as the others. But, the tour guide said that it was in a good location where it's only a block away from shopping and dining places. Then, Stephen talks about how Beijing is 3 times the size of Shanghai, but it doesn't have as many people living there. Beijing has been the capital city for 800 years and has been a city for 3,000 years. Then, he talks about how every 10 years there is a extravagant military parade in Beijing to celebrate the 1949 forming of the modern day Chinese government. This is the 70th anniversary and the government is going to block off a large part of the road on Saturday. The tour group had been planning on going around and touring places like Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden Palace on Saturday. But, they had to switch those plans to tomorrow because the road blocks would've prevented them from accessing certain places.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- The allied troops of the Eight-Nation Alliance invaded and occupied Beijing on August 14th 1900.
- The Eight-Nation Alliance was a multi-national military coalition set up in 1900 inside China against Chinese peasants who banded together to defend their land, culture, religions, and economic welfare against foreign colonists, legations and Christian missionaries. The forces consisted of approximately 45,000 troops from the 8 nations of Germany, Japan, Russia, Britain, France, the United States, Italy and Austria-Hungary
- Dim sum is a large range of small dishes like steamed dumplings that Cantonese people traditionally enjoy in restaurants for breakfast and lunch.