Sunday, June 26, 2011

Beijing, baby! or China, please accept my humble apology.

Booked our tickets on Friday for 4 days in Beijing, the first weekend in September.

For whatever reason, I've never had any interest in visiting China, at all, ever.  It's just never interested me, and I've got a miles-long list of other Asian countries I must visit before we leave Japan, so I had no plans of ever going.  Honestly, when I thought of China the only things that came to mind are Communism, pollution and a massively huge population.  Then one day, Gabrielle mentioned she'd always wanted to visit the Great Wall.  Since she's shown absolutely ZERO interest in visiting or seeing anything at all the entire 4 years we've been here (sadly, she did not inherit my incurable wanderlust) I pounced like rabid cheetah.  WE ARE GOING TO CHINA!

Usually, I'm obsessive about trip planning, spending months and months in advance scouring the internet for any and every scrap of information about our destination, picking the perfect hotel, planning itineraries down to the minute, mapping out routes, deciding restaurants and meal plans for every single meal of every single day. I'm always so worried that we'll miss something awesome if the trip isn't meticulously planned in extensive detail (it sounds tedious, I know, but I absolutely love it, it's nearly as fun as the actual trip itself!).

Seeing as China's never been on my travel list and I couldn't think of a single thing we absolutely had to see, I figured this would be an easy trip to plan. Great Wall, check.  How will we ever spend the other 3 1/2 days???  After a little Googling to figure out how to entertain three bored kids in a completely foreign country for 3 1/2 days.........holy shit.  There is NO WAY we'll see even half the stuff I want to see in just 4 days!!!!  I honestly had no idea.  How could I not have known how awesome China is?  I feel like a stupid shmuck who's been left out of some kind of global secret.

I'm so freakin' excited about this trip!!!!!  I think we're going to need to extend it at least one more day. The only thing is, I booked for the weekend right after school starts, as it's a 4-day weekend for me, and a 3-day weekend for the kids, so they'd only miss 1 day of school and I wouldn't need to use any vacation days.  But it's China.  IT'S CHINA!  Surely they can miss two days of school to visit CHINA?!?!?!  Even if it's literally at the beginning of the school year, right?  GAAAHHH!!!!

Anybody ever been to Beijing?  Any tips, advice, "must see" spots?

China, I'm so very sorry I underestimated you all these years and I can't wait to meet you!


gaijinwife said...

I spent 5 days in Shanghai and had a great time - but the driving was bloody spastic. The food was AMAZING. nom nom. Definitely extend the trip. Who actually does any work the first two days of school anyway?

thefukases said...

Wow, Beijing! Have to say the only bits of China I know about (second hand from K to boot) are the industrial regions where foreign companies (including his)have their factories. I think you can safely cross those off your list!

Tart said...

I've never been so I have no advice but will be stalking to see your trip! Have a great time!

Anonymous said...

Hi, we took at 4 day tour of Beijing a year ago with HIS. We really enjoyed it, but just a few things.... the visa for Americans is quite expensive.. can't remember exactly and it takes 2 days to get it; but maybe your agent can do this for you.
For our 4 day tour, the first day's flight left Narita at 7pm, so we arrived at midnight, and the last day, we had to leave the hotel by 8 am, so we only actually traveled on the two middle days. With the tour we did see alot of the city, and saw a dance performance in the evening. On the next day, we went to the Summer Palace and the Great Wall, and it really was an amazing experiance. We had the tour guide and bus which took us everywhere. I'm not sure what it would have been like to be on our own. I hope you enjoy yourself. We went in December, and it was very very very cold. (but sunny). I hope you all enjoy yourselves. Nancy Tsurumaki

Cecilia said...

Yeah! How exciting! When I pull my finger out and power through my last three assignments (2 x 8000w + presentation) I am so up for seeing you.
Hope life is being kind.

Bryn said...

GW - def. looking forward to the FOOD!!! Chinese AND American! They have one of my most fave American restaurants in Beijing! Woot!

Fuka-chan - foreign factories in the industrial regions, check. One thing off the list!

Tart - I'll def. do a better job of posting about this trip than I have our others (still need to post about Singapore, May 2008!)

Nancy - yeah, I was FLOORED at the price of our visas, $150 each!!! We're probably going to book a driver for one day to take us out to the Great Wall, other than that, I love putting a trip together on my own.

Cecilia!!! So weird, I was planning to e-mail you TONIGHT about getting together!! Get to work! We'll be in Tokes to celebrate my big 4-0 Jul 13 - 15 (we'll be having dinner out on my b-day, the 14th) I'll still e-mail you tonight.