Ni hao!

Later then I thought you're going to hear from me again. I've been quite busy to be honest! Last time I wrote something down I was in the middle of the Gobi desert, going from Ulaan Bataar to Beijing. I arrived the next day around 14:00 local time at Beijing Railway station.

The first thing we did was getting some money, as we had nothing but Mongolian Turik. That behind us, I got a Chinese simcard for my phone to call my friend Vikcy. Vicky is a friend I got to know in Couchsurfing and she was going to help me find a host. Usually I would be prepared better and find a place to sleep two weeks in advance, not relying on some last-minute-plan, but this time everything was a little but different.

Vicky is a great organizer and just came back from a Couchsurfing weekend trip where she got to met my next hosts, Phillip and Dawn from the states! They accepted me last minute which I am really grateful for. Living in the second ring of Beijing, it didn't take me more then 30 minutes to get to the place. Right now I am sitting on their couch, preparing to leave the house for the last time because they're most likely going, just like everyone else, on trip during the national holidays. (01. - 09. October)

What can I say? If I told you everything you probably wouldn't be finished reading by tomorrow :) Beijing is great. Flashy, Busy, Loud. Very different then Russia and Mongolia, in a good way.
I am here now for a week, and I guess you could even spend two without getting bored. One thing I really couldn't get over was the Smog. I've never seen so heavy smog in a city. Walking through the sights, feeling like you're in a cloud is not really the best experience. Everything is blurry, so bright that you wish you had sunglasses eventhough you cannot see the sun, is not a real pleasure. Luckily yesterday the wheather changed and it got a little windy so that most of the Smog is gone now.
I've visited most places of interests by now, except for the great wall, which I am going to do tomorrow! Our plan is it to camp on the great wall, spend a night under the stars. If that's not possible we'll just go there like everyone else does. Anyhow.. I've made about 600 pictures in three days. Because of a certain Chinese girl in our group ;) We all know Asian tourists, right? I kind of know the drill now. If there is a camera, something that might be interesting to take a picture of, there is no way around not taking a picture with you doing something funny infront of it ;) I didn't even try to not play along... enjoy!

Also, China is a lot less expensive then Russia and Mongolia. You can get a good meal for around one and a half Euro (14-20RMB), a Metroride will cost you about 20 (2RMB) cents, a bus ride around 0,04 (0,4RMB) cents. The Bigmac-meal index is around 3 Euro (24RMB). Entrance to different sights vary from 2 to 5 euro in Beijing. Something I am totally happy with! :)

What I am probably going to do
So it's national holidays. That means everyone, goes everywhere. Train tickets were completely sold out from 30th to the second, so I got a first! class train ticket to Wuhan on the third. That was the only way to get out of Beijing the next week. I'm going to Huang Shan (The yellow mountain), and then probably to the Hunan province where I'll spend days hiking and relaxxing. I picked out a few places of interests, called: ZhangJiajie and Fenghuang. Search google for pictures if you want to know why I want to go there :)

The "Soft sleeper" tickets to Wuhan cost us around 44 (410RMB) euros, additional tickets to Huang Shan around 18 (200RMB) euros.
Entry by TATA from PL
On 01.10.2011 at 22:56
zhangjiajie Galerie -->
Entry by Liza from Russia
On 01.10.2011 at 10:22
Hey, honey))
Finally read your post)China is a very interesting and exotic country)Staying always in smog you feel yourself on the top of the mountain among the clouds, i guess))))but being serious it's not good at all)being an Asian tourist is too much for me, but i also like to make funny photos, lots of funny photos)I was really impressed by gymnastic in the streets, it's so cool, not so i have never heard about it, but i didn't think that it's so good organized(they use microphones) and involve people of all ages))wish you great camp and looking forward to great wall photos)talk to you soon ;**
Entry by Vicky from China
On 01.10.2011 at 09:40
Nice to see your first post about China, tho i think more details should be mentioned as you have so many nice days here =D

I am happy to see some great photos are on, but there should be more =P come on, where are the good photos with me and Thomas =P

Hmm I think you should add how lucky we four get a lottery, how peaceful houhai shore is, how sigificant the Plaza is, how great the bowling night, how high you could jump in front of the bird nest =P and so on.

Looking forward to your call trip and more photo,plz Pro ;)

stay around and

Lucky =P
Entry by Mateusz from Poland
On 30.09.2011 at 19:57
No ?adnie zrób kilka zdj?? noc? :)
Entry by Anita from Canada
On 30.09.2011 at 18:29
Hey Luke!
Just thought about you the other day so I thought I'd see what you were up to and wow, it looks like you're on a pretty brilliant trip! I hope you love Huangshan and Fenghuan, my dad actually did a backpacking trip from Guangdong to Anhui, so he visited these places you're going and showed me some really amazing pictures! I know you'll take some great ones too ;)
Are you going to see the Wulingyuan pillars in Zhangjiajie?
Reply by Luke
On 30.09.2011 at 19:27
Hey Anita! So nice to see you checking my website as well! Yes of course I am going there! I have no limits in time, so I am going to spend as much time in China as I can! Suggesting that the weather stays like this :) I love hiking, so I guess all those areas will be great to visit! :)
Entry by TATA from Poland
On 30.09.2011 at 16:17
Greatings !!! Pozdrowienia !!!!!, Grusse !