Vik, Rosie, Pip, and I wanted to go away for the night seeing we had Thursday off at the kindergarten. We have been looking at Datong which has some pretty cool things too see but when I brought this up with the family they exploded with excitement and wanted to drive us there with another family to have a bit of a holiday too. After a few discussions we figured out Datong was too far to drive just for one night so I looked in my China book and chose Chengde instead. It’s a town about 3 hours drive North East of Beijing and it’s the home a mountain resort of temples built by the Kangxi Emperor in 1703 as a type of escape from Beijing’s summer. The main building we wanted to see was the Putuozongcheng Zhi Miao which is a replica of the Potala Palace in Lhasa Tibet because we couldn’t afford to make it to Tibet in our July trip.
So Thursday the girls met at my place an after lunch the other family arrived. Vikki and I went with my family and the 2 little girls, Rosie and Pip went in the other car. On the way we passed through an awesome view of original Great Wall creeping along the mountain peaks. Wade is a crazy driver and at any time there could be about 7 cars squeezing through a tiny, windy two lane road with horns a blazing, but with seven people in one car and hundreds of what looked like almost head on collisions we arrived safe and sound to a rainy Chengde. It was too late to go and look at anything so we found a Hotel that they bargained the price down for and got 4 rooms for all of us. After spending a while in their room taking photos and being force fed mountains of food, all 10 of us clambered into one car in search of a restaurant for dinner. Later that night we four girls went for a walk to find some chocolate and realised the hotel was about a 5 minute walk from the restaurant where we had dinner. BUT…when we drove it probably took over 40 minutes of driving before we stopped. None of us are still sure why it took so long but the hysterics of doing the 10th U-turn and the fact that we’d gone round the same roundabout for the 6th time soon wore off with four of us crammed in the far back seat of the car!!
We walked into the restaurant to find a herd of deer’s staring at us minus their bodies, and a cute little pair stuffed in mid prance on some mossy rocks haha if that didn’t wet our appetites the three huge glass jars filled with what turned out to be deer blood wine, deer leg wine, and what looked like albino deer leg wine, soon had us just ravenous….!
Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better we spied the turtle’s swimming happily away waiting to be chosen for cooking. We figured this little fella was on special as after prodding him with the net we discovered his head had been torn off….haha
I went over to look at the kitchen and discovered how hygienic it was when this lady cleverly making little pastry things tore off a bit of dough and let me join in the fun!! We were able to snag a private room after a while an luckily had a pretty normal dinner before heading back to the hotel for a chat the fashion channel (being the only English channel) then a non successful walk to find chocolate before bed.
Woke up at 7 and met everybody downstairs. We walked around till we found some street stalls for brekkie, which was tea eggs, rice water and pastry things filled with pork and green stuff. Half way through the fireworks started about 25 meters down the road and lasted about 20 minutes of deafening bangs and explosions. Within 5 minutes the street was invisible with all the smoke and it had attracted a bit of a crowd. A police car drove through the fog and didn’t blink an eye and its so funny to think of all the precautions Australia has with distances between people and fireworks when this just happens on a street filled with people just casually walking past and having a sqiz!
Spent the morning at the big temple and watched a pretty cool show which was a reenactment of the emperor and empress and how they were entertained, ie. Dancing, wrestling, singing etc
Then had a quick hotpot lunch that claimed to have only one full chicken in their but for some reason two heads kept floating to the surface still intact, gobblers and all!....maybe we got lucky with a Siamese chook…
The afternoon was spent wandering around the park looking at more temples and in the end we just sat on the grass and soaked up the sun and the ants. This sign said something like there are deer in this park and they are likely to injure you....haha. but I got to pat this one with no injuries The families had taken their two kids to a mountain and picked us up at 5 before driving back to Beijing where Isat in the front and gave Wade his English lesson including the words “road kill”, and “Coppaaa”, and the sentence “150km’s is a bit much when overtaking in the emergency lane don’t you think…”
Saturday Vikki met up with her family and I met them at a cultural street in the city that has a lot of painting and antique stores. After a yummo lunch with them and Rosie, we left them and went to Yashow clothing market where I bought 3 summer dresses…very practical for going back to Melbourne’s winter in 2 months…also got some more DVD’s and a cold rock icecream which was so delicious but it was apparently originally called Cold Stone so has kept that name over here.
Also after suffering 4 months of almost every child under three looking like this and often having to teach these children while trying to keep a straight face I thought I'd share this wonderous invention of the asians...sorry still not entirely sure how the whole rotation thing works haha