Our day 2 program:
» Jade Museum
» Crystal Centre
» Great Wall of China
» Burning Cream Centre
First destination: Jade Museum
I was expecting the Jade Museum to be exactly that, a museum, but after a short briefing and some viewing of jade carvings, the place turned out to be a jewellery shop after all. Sigh…
A note aside, have there been too many Malaysians already visiting China? It seems that every salesperson there can speak Malay.
“Dua ratus lima puluh yuan!”
We learned how to differentiate between real and fake jade, high and low quality jade, the easy way. It all based on sound. Yup, it’s the sound the jade gives when hit. High quality jade (jadeite or hard jade) gives clear ringing sound. Fake ones give you a dull sound. Also, the greener the jade, the more expensive it is. Jadeite can easily scratch glass or metal surfaces, like diamond. I don’t think it’s as hard as diamond, though.
I was very lucky because they did not have the jadeite bangle design that I want. Otherwise, I would’ve spent about RM1,000 on one, like my friend, I-zharul Afiz did. What a rich guy.
Next destination: Crystal Centre
Yup, another jewellery store. I can easily buy the items there at the Downtown night market here. Needless to say, we were quite bored there and wanted to leave immediately, but apparently we were required to stay there for 45 minutes. Something about a tour requirement. Ah well…
Next destination: Lunch! Hehehehe…
Again, I have no idea where the place was, but it was near the abandoned Beijing Wonderland Amusement Park, along the way to the Great Wall. I wonder why no one wants to complete the construction of the park. I reckon the number of visitors per year could easily beat the Disneyland in the USA. How many people are there now in China?
Lunch was at this big building of a hotel/shop/restaurant, although the hotel seemed to be no longer in operation. The food was again unappetising. No Peking duck or something like that.
Next destination: The Great Wall of China
After the Forbidden City, the Great Wall was another of China’s landmarks which I really wanted to visit. There are a number of places where one can climb the Wall. The one we went to was the Juyongguan, about 50 km north of Beijing. I must admit, looking up from the bottom of the pass, it really was a daunting climb, even to get to the first watch tower. The stairs were practically vertical!
We climbed up to the 6th tower, I think, where only a few hardy souls went. Hehehehe.. It took us about half an hour to get there, with shaking knees and all. I almost gave up at the 4th tower, but upon seeing 2 grandmas still climbing ahead of me, well… I don’t need to say more, do I?
After taking some ANTM shoots with the models, it was time to get back. Man, it was more difficult going down! The whole leg were shaking every time I put my foot down. But at least I can say that I have been to the top (or something like that), unlike some people I could name. Hehehehe… Kannn Pakcik Shak
Next destination: Burning Cream Centre
No, it was not a place where people burn cream, or the cream burns you when you put it on your skin. It was where they produce and sell this cream which can prevent your skin from blistering when you get burned. The girl who did the briefing even did a demo where she touched a metal chain just out from the fire. It was really really hot. We could smell the scent of burnt skin after she put her palm on the chain. She applied the cream and about half an hour later, she showed us her palm. Nope, no blister. Pink and still painful, but no blister.
The shop sells other items as well, mostly traditional medicine made from herbs. I bought this herbal drinks for general health and also to increase energy. Ehem!
Next destination: Dinner!
This time the food was much better than the previous meals. Everybody was starving and the plates were cleared in record time.
It was free and easy after dinner. I wanted to go to the Beijing Hard Rock Cafe to buy some souvenir items for my friends. Looking at the map, the cafe was not that far from our hotel. I was thinking of actually walking there. Fortunately, the other wanted to follow, so we took 3 cabs. It turned out to be quite far! It was kind of weird when the cab drivers did not know where the Hard Rock Cafe was. I mean, Hard Rock Cafes are big all over the world, right?
When we got there (it was next to the Landmark Hotel) and asked the guy at the hotel door where it was, he said, “No open, no open!” We thought he meant the cafe was not open that night. Then we found out that it was actually closed for good. Wow! No wonder I couldn’t find it in the official Hard Rock Cafe website. Even the one in Shanghai was closed down. Apparently, the business was slow and the cafe was making big losses. Ah well… there goes your souvenirs, my friends.
In the end, we took the bus and went to area near the China Central Television Headquarters building to take some photos. Quite a unique building, the CCTV HQ. There was a big hole right in the middle of the building and the top part of it is like hanging, without any support at the bottom. Scary, actually.
We took the Beijing Subway back to the hotel. Very cheap, only 2 yuan per trip. Quite extensive too the network. There are 17 lines, covering 456 km of tracks. It’s the second longest subway system in the world after the Seoul Metropolitan Subway (according to Wikipedia… hehehehe…). Anyway, they are expanding and will probably take over the rank by 2020.
You can view the photos for day 2 here: Beijing Trip 2013 – Day 2