After the Great Wall, a mid-day meal awaited in a local restaurant.
- Spring rolls (exactly 8)
- Fish balls with red and green peppers
- Fried chicken
- Eggplant with tomato and green peppers
- Cauliflower and broccoli
- Cut up orange wedges for dessert
- The usual one small free glass of beer, pop or water
Ming Tombs: where buried 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfynyPLm4Q0 (3.04 min)
If you would like a more in-depth version:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1BqspVU2HA (8:43 min)
- Hung on rope strung the length of apartment balconies
- Clothes hung on hangers: socks, T-shirts, sweaters, trousers, shirts, blouses
- Did not notice any underwear or bedding
On the way to dinner:
Robert and the driver appeared to converse more than usual. Robert’s cell rang. He talked at length. The call completed, he started another. Both he and the driver seemed tied to their phones for an unusual amount of time. Of course I didn’t understand a word, yet it crossed my mind something might be up. I can pull a rabbit out of any hat, real or imaginary.
Our bus pulled over to the curb and Robert declared he had to leave. The driver would take us to the restaurant we were told. He gave no explanation, but it wasn’t hard to see he was upset. Sue and I looked at each other. We couldn’t see any of the rest of the group seated in the high-backed seats in front and behind us.
Heavy traffic surrounded us. After Robert hopped off, we drove on for a short distance still in the inside lane. Vehicles crawled bumper to bumper. Another bus slowed next to ours. Sue and I sat on the left of the aisle watching through the window. I squeezed my eyes shut as a bicyclist, with no room to spare, whizzed by between our two buses. I almost had a heart attack.
The other bus moved on. We remained stock-still in the curb lane. Traffic rolled past us. I thought the young fellow on the bike might have caused an accident. Traffic shifted and changed beside us; yet our bus waited immobile. Why? By now, the whole group craned necks and raised eyebrows around the seats at each other. I felt we noticed together, a car parked in front of the bus. Another five minutes or so dragged past. What could be happening? A man in a construction vest walked up to the car’s driver window brandishing his arms. I had no idea the car had an occupant. No translation was required. Move now he indicated. Nothing changed. A 20-something Chinese guy in black pants and a white shirt appeared at the side of the bus. The door flew open and he jumped in. The door slammed shut and I don’t recall any words exchanged with the driver. The parked car inched forward. Our bus did as well.
In minutes, we turned into a driveway and a man, who might have been Security or Police, stepped in front of the bus. He waved his arms and shouted through the windshield and looked as if he wanted to push the bus back. What was going on? Words passed between the man outside and our driver or between the driver and the new passenger who hadn’t taken a seat. Too much going on to follow. The uniform vanished. The bus door opened again and the young man jumped out signalling for us to follow. I felt like a lamb on the way to heaven’s gate or maybe hell’s? All were silent, heads bowed, as we passed through an alley and a maze of cars and another lot into a restaurant. I flashed my Travel Tour ID towards an approaching waitress. She led us to Table 6ith our tour group name. I thought I’d been so smart. The|Chinese were smarter.
Once seated, one of our group noticed the young man worked as a waiter there. The picture became clear. This had been an orchestrated event. Before Robert rushed off, either he or the driver had pre-arranged for our escort. The driver had stalled until the black pants and white shirt found us. The driver couldn’t leave the bus to walk us to our destination. I don’t even know if he spoke English. What teamwork!
By the time dinner finished, and we fidgeted wondering about our return to the hotel, Robert showed up as if nothing had happened. He looked much better than when he’d dashed off. His voice, I noticed, was still a little odd. At least to me, his reason for the sudden disappearance suspect.
“I had to see about my next tour,” he said.
- Soup with fresh chopped tomatoes
- Shrimp with egg and green peppers
- Corn with lima beans and carrots
- Sweet and sour chicken balls
- French fries (surprise)
- Chicken with fungus and green peppers
- Green leaf vegetable like spinach but not
- Chopped mushrooms and green peppers
- Eggplant, light spice
We returned to the hotel around 8:30 p.m. I picked up my laptop from the room and returned to the lobby for free WiFi access. I had trouble and asked the guy at reception for help. He looked at the list available and pointed to one, even though the words weren’t in Chinese. “Maybe, this one?” His choice didn’t work. He shrugged. I went off on my own, but soon became frustrated and worn out. I wanted nothing more than bed. I gave up on e-mail.
Next on July 11th, Beijing, Day 5, Part 1: Pearl Stores and Summer Palace
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