好歹 Kim 對東方文化略知一二，看到那些炸蠍子、炸海馬、冰糖葫蘆，標價二十多人仔，也馬上掉頭離去。就連普普通通的羊肉串都要十多人仔，我說倒不如正正經經去餐館吃碗老北京炸醬麵好了。
走過故宮，到鼓樓東大街附近的老胡同時，Kim 指著麵包店櫥窗一問：「David Beckham 是甚麼食物？」這次又給考起了。事實返到中國，好多時餐牌上的英文都要再次給她翻譯，而且是英文翻譯英文。但這次「牛肉鬆小貝」及「海苔牛肉鬆小貝」同時叫做 David Beckham，即使知道碧咸的國內譯名是貝克漢姆，但「小貝」是甚麼呢？唯有舉手投降。
其實只是在地鐵出站後，再轉兩程巴士，完全不複雜，迂迴是在於每次等車時，都會有人來跟你說這裡沒有去長城的車，坐他的的士才能到。慶幸 Kim 的外表，只要我默不作聲，他們說幾句爛英文後，見我們沒反應便知難而退。
From Forbidden City to the Great Wall／Kimberlogic
Whenever I’ve heard anything about Beijing, it normally has something to do air pollution. So, I never had much of a desire to see it, or breathe it in myself. I also always get a bad notion in my head that everywhere in China is overcrowded and would be unpleasant to try and walk around. Beijing surprised me.
Although the presence of air pollution was evident, the streets were super clean and the city was vibrant. There are also many places within the crowds to find a bit of personal space, I’ve just had to learn how to adapt to China.
You can’t visit Beijing without making a stop at the Forbidden City. This palace complex dates back to the early 1400’s and it is huge, as it covers 72 hectares (over 180 acres). It was used as the home for emperor’s and their households during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Without knowing too much about Chinese history and my loathing for crowds, I became tired and a little bored after passing through the first couple of gates.
The Forbidden City is quite impressive, but after swimming upstream through the crowds, passing through gates that all looked the same, and fighting for a spot to get a glimpse of a “chair” that doesn’t have any meaning to me, I was feeling the heat of the afternoon and the exhaustion of repetition.
The next day we decided to visit a section of The Great Wall. The most popular section is close to the city, but is notorious for the crowds, so we opted to go to the Mutianyu section which is further away and much less crowded. Figuring out which buses we needed to take was the easy part. Once we got to those bus stops, we had to trust our research and not listen to all of the people telling us not to take that bus.
It is very common in China to be approached by people telling you that you are going the wrong way or that they have a cheaper option. There are even buses that look official, but are just a scam that take you to a shopping center instead of the attraction you are looking for. As we were boarding the first bus, a woman in uniform was trying to tell us that we were in the wrong place and to follow her to her bus. The second bus stop we were joined by a few taxi drivers who insisted that the bus we were waiting for does not go to the Great Wall.
Our decision to figure out the bus routes, only trust ourselves and spend the extra travel time paid off. This section of the wall was in “China standards”; empty. There were so few people there that it was comfortable to walk, stop and even take photos with no one in the background.
Although the Forbidden city was impressive, the Great Wall blew my mind. To appreciate this massive barrier, it is not necessary to be versed in Chinese history. Standing on the wall, surrounded by mountains, I could see the wall as far as the horizon. To think about the drive of leaders to build this, the manpower it took and where it is located kept me interested and intrigued all day. Getting to be active and not locked in a crowd really helped too.