How to Cram Beijing in 3 DaysShanghai, Fall 2009

Day 1: After checking into the Tiananmen Sunrise Hostel, we began our Beijing experience at a well-known restaurant, Quan Jude Roast Duck, which is famous for its Beijing Kao Ya. Although it was a little pricey, the duck was definitely worth it! Happy and very full, we then strolled along Wangfujing–a popular shopping street–and explored the Wangfujing Xiao Fan Jie (Snack Street). Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), I wasn’t feeling very adventurous or else I would have tried the fried scorpion, starfish, seahorse, or even cockroach! Still, it was exciting to just explore the city. Afterwards, it was getting pretty late, but we decided to just pass by Tian’anmen Square. The area seemed very ominous while walking on a nearly empty street on a foggy night with birds eerily flying above.

Day 2: We woke up extremely early to get a head start for the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. At first, I was a little disappointed because the fog and clouds were blocking the outline of the Great Wall. But soon, the sun came out and the fog cleared to reveal a breathtaking sight. After a couple of hours walking along the wall, we returned to Beijing and visited Tian’anmen Square again, this time during the day. Without the night fog and birds, the public square still felt eerie. The next place we walked to was another, cleaner snack street. Here, I tried a burrito-like snack with vegetables and a sweet fruit juice with dry ice bubbling inside. After this small dinner, we went to the Liyuan Theatre and experienced a Beijing Opera. We had our own table with tea and snacks, which enhanced the theatre experience.  To end our night, we took the subway to see the Olympic National Stadium in the Olympic Park and relaxed at a bar (Lush) and music club (D-22) that our Resident Adviser recommended. This Wudaokou area in northwest Beijing features many bars and clubs and is a popular hangout spot for college students. Despite our tired bodies, we just had to check it out!

Day 3: With time running out in Beijing, I decided to wake up early again to explore the city as much as I could. I walked around the Hutong where our hostel was located and watched people practice tai chi and play a badminton-like game in a small park. After that, I made my way to the Temple of Heaven, which was absolutely gorgeous. The park surrounding the Temple of Heaven was also filled with people in action. From dancing to playing games to exercising, this park was bustling with activities and life. As our trip came to a close, we visited the Forbidden City, which was full of many temples, statues, and ancient Chinese artifacts. Then, I happily returned to Shanghai, exhausted, sore, and still in shock that I managed to cram Beijing in 3 days.

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