Today’s Facebook status message: Experiment with life – constantly. Do things other than your job and be fulfilled. Balance, you will soon learn, is a matter of logistics.
***Title and post courtesy of Eric Cabahug.
The Beijingians From Manila, composed of Succulent Vicky, Brilliant Eric, Bubbly Cris, Shrewd Uly, and Lovestruck Perry, has concluded their highly successful “Rampaging in Beijing: The Hecticity Tour 2010”. The supergroup, also known as the Fab Five (F5), touched down at the Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) a little past midnight on Sunday, October 24th, to a very cold and wet welcome. They were promptly taken by limousine to the cozy Zhongan Hotel, conveniently located at the back of the grand Beijing Railway Station, their base for the whirlwind 3-day sojourn in the historic city.
DAY ONE officially started at 7 o’clock in the morning. It was a rainy, hazy, and overall very gloomy start and the group briefly considered making big changes to their itinerary. They stuck to the plan. And after a 2-hour trip by bus and private van they were scaling the heights (via open cable car), and braving the -2 degree cold, at the Mutianyu Great Wall. After a quick lunch of hot and tasty dimsum and hotter and tastier noodles at a nearby town, the group then made their way to the 798 Art District where they spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the various galleries and art installations — and becoming performance artists themselves. Last stop for Day One was the Olympic Park. Dinner of fried chicken, rice and fruits was served at the home of a newfound friend in the outskirts of the city. The F5 were back at their hotel around midnight.
DAY TWO The sun finally came out on the second day of The Hecticity Tour. Thank goodness! Otherwise, it would’ve been a very wet (and presumably inconvenient) trip to Fragrant HIlls and the Summer Palace. Fragrant HIlls is a huge tree-covered nature park about 2 hours away from the city by subway and bus. It offers several trails for trekking, a number of natural and man-made lagoons perfect for picture-taking, a couple of hilltop temples, and lots of places for rest. Aside from Vicky’s unfragarant pitstop in one of the toilets, the group had a pleasant time at the park. The F5 arrived at the Summer Palace around 4 o’clock in the afternoon. That gave them only under two hours to explore the 2.9 square kilometer UNESCO World Heritage Site described as “a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design”. So the group decided to for the best thing to do in the park — climb its highest peak. They weren’t disappointed with the spectacular view. The subway took the Beijingians back to the city for dinner. Tired and feeling sick from the biting cold, Vicky and Uly decided to retire early and headed back to the hotel. Perry went back to the hotel too — a different hotel with a different company (wink-wink). Eric and Cris decided to explore another side of the city for late-night picture-taking. They capped the night with cake and coffee before finally calling it a day.
DAY THREE Final day. F5 has had two full and tiring days of swinging from one end of Beijing to the other. Were they about to slow down and take it easy? Heck to the no. It was forbidden. This was, after all, “Rampaging in Beijing: The Hecticity Tour”. And so the group made an early check out at the hotel (but deposited their bags for safekeeping) so that they could continue their unimpeded rampage through Beijing. Today was the day they went to the grand Forbidden City. Arriving at the gate, the group quickly discovered that the ancient city wasn’t so forbidden after all. But it didn’t matter. Like the Chinese soldiers of old, the group marched on from one massive gate to the next, one palace to the next, one imperial room to the next, and one garden to the next. But the Beijingians didn’t realize just how massive Forbidden City was until they climbed the viewdeck temple at the adjacent Jingsham Park. And everybody’s jaws dropped. The group then made their way by tram to the Wangfujing Street, a famous shopping district, for lunch of the famous Peking Duck courtesy of another newfround friend (read: Perry’s other hotel). And then it was off to the charming Houhai Park for pasalubong shopping. F5 officially left Beijing at 1 o’clock in the morning of Wednesday, October 27th. Very tired and very cold. But very happy. And a little sad that “Rampaging in Beijing: The Hecticity Tour 2010” had come to its end.
Here are some more photos of our ultra hectic tour of Beijing. Enjoy!