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
For all related posts, click on China tab at the top of the page.
July 4, 2014 at 7:22 pm
The afternoon didn’t sound like as much fun as visiting The Great Wall. Looking forward to the Summer Palace and rickshaws. 🙂
July 4, 2014 at 7:33 pm
When we visited the tombs, we had hardly any people traffic. It was so darn quiet I was afraid to speak in case we awoke the dead. Not really because no-one knows where they are buried. Only one tomb has been excavated. I confess, I found it less exciting.
July 4, 2014 at 7:27 pm
That was quite the drama just for a restaurant meal. Ah, to be a Chinese fly on the wall. That way you might have understood the whole story. Of course, this way, we can imagine all sorts of mysteries for Robert. 🙂
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July 4, 2014 at 7:37 pm
Indeed. It had been something shattering or unnerving. We even wondered if something had happened to his wife or son. We;ll never know but the experience especially when we finally moved was awful. Terrible when you don’t understand the language and follow like sheep.
July 4, 2014 at 7:36 pm
The food looks incredible! And what a story…remind me to learn the language before I go in case anybody waves madly in front of the bus like that!
July 5, 2014 at 1:13 pm
Ha ha ha ha. We were insulated with a guide all the time and didn’t need to learn a word. As we traveled south from Beijing, more and more people spoken better and better English.
July 4, 2014 at 8:26 pm
Oh you really had me on the edge of my seat with that description Tess! I thought you might all be on the way to being arrested. Thank heavens it was just a stall tactic.
LikeLiked by 1 person
July 5, 2014 at 1:18 pm
We didn’t understand the language and when I see uniforms, I gulp. Strange happenings that turned out to be a short adventure. 😀
July 5, 2014 at 5:24 pm
All is well that ends well in this case. 🙂
July 6, 2014 at 11:26 am
Yep. We laughed afterwards. Talk about a slick operation. 😎
July 4, 2014 at 8:59 pm
The food looks good to me. The man on the bike ‘tween the buses sounds like the real excitement for the day. 🙂
July 5, 2014 at 1:21 pm
Ripped my heart out, did the bicycle man.
Thanks for visiting and reading, Paulette. Always nice to see you. 🙂 ❤
July 4, 2014 at 9:11 pm
It’s all an adventure to me. I have travel outside of the county so very little. Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico and France. I would love to see Asia, or/and India. I would be scared not knowing the language with all of that commotion going on that I couldn’t understand. Makes me think about the immigrants who come to this country unfamiliar with language or customs.
July 5, 2014 at 1:22 pm
Exactly. Terrifying not knowing the language but like you say, gives you a bird-eye view about immigrants.
Thanks for reading and commenting. Nice to see you.
July 5, 2014 at 12:41 am
You’re not selling China to me just yet I have to say!
July 5, 2014 at 1:26 pm
That’s okay, Andrew. The culture is so different, I wouldn’t want to go back but it sure was a good adventure.
July 5, 2014 at 1:13 am
I dont think I would get on too well with the food,, but this diary is great.. when in Orlando, I kept a daily diary for my time there.. and this is a great idea. 😉
July 5, 2014 at 2:21 pm
Without it I would have forgotten EVERYthing already. 😀
July 5, 2014 at 2:43 am
What a bizarre day Tess, very entertaining for us 🙂
July 5, 2014 at 2:22 pm
Just my little adventure. 😀
July 5, 2014 at 4:44 am
All very James Bond xxx
July 5, 2014 at 2:23 pm
Now that you mention it…
July 5, 2014 at 3:47 pm
July 6, 2014 at 11:18 am
I love that theme. Thanks. Yes, we should have called 007. Afterwards, it was funny but not during. 😦
July 6, 2014 at 1:22 pm
I know strange country and no explanations it can be a frightening time. 🙂 I am glad all is good now. xxxxx
July 6, 2014 at 4:27 pm
Yes, thanks. All good now. 😛
July 6, 2014 at 4:28 pm
July 6, 2014 at 4:31 pm
July 5, 2014 at 5:07 am
All very inscrutable – a bit like the Mings!
July 5, 2014 at 2:24 pm
*nods* 😀 😀
July 5, 2014 at 8:42 am
Another interesting day actually, drama and the dead. The tombs are something I have always wanted to see.
July 5, 2014 at 2:28 pm
This visit wasn’t as interesting except for a lot of facts. The artifacts were interesting to see but we didn’t actually SEE a tomb. They had a bunch of buildings we couldn’t even enter. It was so quiet compared to the Great Wall. We were pretty much the only group there at the time except for a few stragglers.
July 5, 2014 at 5:40 pm
You’re getting to see a lot! Think you could become accustomed to the traffic?
July 6, 2014 at 11:27 am
Never. Another occurance you don’t see in the west is a bus making a U turn. Ha ha.
July 5, 2014 at 6:16 pm
Wow, very creepy! You write so well – it makes for captivating reading. I too am not convinced about visiting China, but I am enjoying my vitual tour!
July 6, 2014 at 11:29 am
Thank you for tagging along. I’m pleased you’re enjoying my little tour. This occurance was the highlight of the day because the tombs weren’t that exciting…less so than the Great Wall.
July 5, 2014 at 7:12 pm
I have to agree with some of the others. I’m not sold on going but if I had, I think I would have enjoyed the adventure. Right now I’m happy enough to be living vicariously through you. 🙂 Thank you!
July 6, 2014 at 11:31 am
Thank you, Colleen, for tagging along.
July 6, 2014 at 1:59 pm
I’m very much enjoying it. 🙂
July 6, 2014 at 4:28 pm
~(*_~)~~ I appreciate it. ❤
July 5, 2014 at 8:35 pm
Holy cow–that ride sounds like it was a little hairy! “Don’t arrest me I’m Canadian!”
July 6, 2014 at 11:37 am
But how do you say that in Chinese? ~(+_+)~~
We laughed afterwards and I still marvel at their ingenuity.
July 5, 2014 at 9:15 pm
I would have enjoyed the tombs. I could have done without the traffic excitement. 😛
July 6, 2014 at 11:46 am
Hi Red. I wasn’t that enthused by the tombs. Lots of interesting history and buildings on a huge property. So unfair while the poor scrabbled for something to eat. Of course, wealthy rulers aren’t / weren’t unique only to China. ❤
July 5, 2014 at 9:50 pm
Very strange occurance, yes? the menus always intrigue but what makes me go huh? is the one drink. I mean, what, is there a water or soda shortage? or is it, what can we serve that will be cheap and give us a profit? I’m a drinker….I’d have a royal tantrum if I didn’t get all the water or tea or soda I wanted. You are a patient person.
July 6, 2014 at 11:47 am
There was always a pot of hot tea on the table. The lack of liquids didn’t affect me because I don’t drink while I eat. I always made sure I got my little glass of beer though. 🙂
July 6, 2014 at 6:18 pm
Good for you. I’m a big drinker while it eat – keeps me from filling up too much on other stuff, plus some of the meds make me so dry mouthed. Pity you didn’t bring back one of those life sized terra cotta warriors. Talk about a garden decoration or interesting thing to greet people at the door!
July 7, 2014 at 11:47 am
My traveling partner, Sue, lives in a gated community. One of her neighbors had been to China a year ago and had one standing on her front porch for the longest time.
Na, I didn’t want one. Anyway, I’d spent all my money on the trip. 😛
July 6, 2014 at 2:21 am
Tess, I’m happy to see that I’m not the only person that wants more to drink. The menus are always interesting. What combinations they put together. I would have been most anxious stuck on the bus.
July 6, 2014 at 11:53 am
There was always hot tea on the table, Sheri.
We laughed about the bus incident later but marveled at the ingenuity. Slick is another word that came to mind. 🙂
July 6, 2014 at 2:26 am
That does sound a bit scary not knowing what was going on like that, I can imagine your mind might be racing about the possibilities! Some of the pictures of the street scenes look a bit grey and depressing! Like others have said, it’s not making me think “Ooh, I must visit China!” but I’m definitely enjoying your account of it. The veg that was similar to spinach might have been lettuce, I had a Chinese friend at school and I remember her mother used to throw lettuce leaves into boiling water for a few seconds and serve them as a side vegetable, or stir-fry them with other veg – I used to love eating round at her house, it was always yummy!
July 6, 2014 at 12:00 pm
I had Chinese visitors in my home for about three weeks, two teachers and a minister of education. They wanted to cook one night and took my romaine out of the fridge and cooked that.
I have no idea what the green vegetable was. By the way they called it ‘green vegetable’. Rapini and collards crossed my mind but they weren’t correct either. I tried it once but can’t remember what I thought of the taste.
July 6, 2014 at 1:59 pm
Fascinating. It’s clear the Chinese expect lots more blind following than Americans. An American tour guide would have deeply explained what was going to happen, provided thorough directions and taken dozens of questions. With the same result. There’s something to be said for trust, isn’t there.
July 6, 2014 at 4:29 pm
Yup. Different country. Different rules…um something.
July 6, 2014 at 9:16 pm
A little like it must have been touring Moscow in the 70s, I imagine.
July 7, 2014 at 11:53 am
July 7, 2014 at 8:41 am
That’s both cryptic and descriptive.
My experience of China has been that you need to carry the name and address of your Hotel written in Mandarin with you. Otherwise you are apt to get lost and hassled as not one cab driver would understand English. Otherwise a great place to shop and eat.
July 7, 2014 at 12:14 pm
We tried to pickup business cards at the reception desk from every hotel we stayed at. Some didn’t have any. Anyway, we were with a tour group so had little to worry about.
Thank you for reading and commenting.
July 7, 2014 at 9:31 am
Phew, what a day this was Tess, full of adventure! Glad you were safe though, must have wondered what the outcome would be but it made sense that they were looking after you with Robert having to disappear like that. Strange though…hmmmm…a real rabbit out of the hat that one! The food all looks and sounds yummy though. The Ming Tombs must have been interesting I would have thought…were they?
July 7, 2014 at 12:20 pm
This was only our second day of 12-hour touring and I experienced information overload. So much history to process. We were pretty much the only people there except for a few stragglers here and there. Lots of artifacts to see. There was no actual tomb to view.
July 8, 2014 at 7:53 am
I would have liked to have seen the tomb. I can just imagine the overload. It probably got quite exhausting in a way! Really enjoying the series! Am I still up for tomorrow’s flash? Did I miss last week’s?
July 8, 2014 at 11:59 am
We didn’t actually go inside a tomb. We saw a lot of artifacts found in the search of one tomb. Whether the actual locations of the rest are known, I’m not sure. They’re working on how to preserve what they may find next. Once the bodies are found the atmosphere will degenerate them and the idea is not to let them.
July 8, 2014 at 4:36 pm
Ahh…got it 😉
July 8, 2014 at 5:24 pm
July 8, 2014 at 5:18 pm
Yes, last week was a bust. The other lady is away and you’re the only one left. We’re not lucky with this ‘chain’. Too many people away and busy = summertime. I guess you’re off the hook for now. What do YOU think?
July 8, 2014 at 5:41 pm
Well, I could give it a go from the last one if you want or shall we wait? I’ve been held up by the guest post I did today, it went manic! Shall we wait until summer is less busy for everyone and get it going again then?
July 8, 2014 at 5:47 pm
There is definitely a shift in the sphere. Everybody’s busy, busy. Maybe we should wait till fall? I wonder if that long a break won’t break the chain.
You are one in-demand woman! OK, take a break. ❤
July 9, 2014 at 3:33 am
Ahh…yes, that sounds better. The summer is a strange time for blogging, I’m discovering and yes, you hit the nail on the head, there IS a shift in the sphere…a bit strange really…
Let’s go for the fall, sure it will all pick up again when everyone is raring to go again, hopefully!
Haha! Suddenly everything went a bit crazy, you’re right, but it will all quieten down again I’m sure… 😉
Thanks Tess…as I said in my other comment, just let me know when you want to give this another go.
Hopefully things will shift back into the groove again soon… ❤ ❤ ❤
July 9, 2014 at 5:57 pm
Did you get my e-mail? ❤
July 10, 2014 at 5:27 am
Yes I did , thanks Tess, replying shortly…sorry, been crazy and lost the plot in more ways than one… ❤
July 10, 2014 at 1:21 pm
Sorry to add to your ‘crazy’. Thank you for being a jewel. ❤ ❤
July 11, 2014 at 8:13 am
Ahh…I’ve never been called a jewel before! How lovely…and you didn’t add to my ‘crazy’…no way… 😀 😛 ❤
July 11, 2014 at 9:42 pm
Glad we ironed everything out. I DO appreciate your helping out especially during this nutty time. ❤ ❤
July 12, 2014 at 11:56 am
No probs, happy to… >3 😀
July 13, 2014 at 10:35 am
Thank YOU. ❤
July 14, 2014 at 11:13 am
Your welcome, more than… 😀 ❤ 😉
July 14, 2014 at 2:49 pm
July 8, 2014 at 5:53 pm
I feel a definite lull and hope to take the opportunity to unplug from blogging and get some serious writing done—if I can just think of something interesting to concentrate on. 😀
July 9, 2014 at 3:25 am
I’m with you on that Tess. I really need to concentrate on my book and as much as I love blogging and don’t want to lose the momentum, I do need to rethink. I’ll wait until next week and see how things calm down with my ‘normal’ posts and then re-evaluate and see how far I get with my offline writing in the meantime… Just let me know when you want me to write the flash. I love your stories and I hope that next time others jump on board.
I hope you do find that ‘something interesting’ but also that you won’t unplug for too long…I’ll miss you too much! 😀 ❤
July 9, 2014 at 5:56 pm
I have lots of something interesting(s). What I need is to get to some of if. 😀 ❤
July 10, 2014 at 5:32 am
…and I’m sure you will… 🙂 ❤
July 10, 2014 at 1:21 pm
July 7, 2014 at 6:44 pm
Tess, I have friends who have visited China. It got a mixed bag of reviews but all agreed it was at the very least fascinating. I would worry about breathing as I have asthma but would be interested to see it at least once. How exciting you got to make the trip. I shall live vicariously through you.
July 8, 2014 at 11:39 am
Hi Susan. Never once in 23 days we were in China did we experience smog. This vacation was a fluke but I am glad I had the opportunity.
You’re welcome to come touring with me and am pleased you’re the least bit interested. Thanks for commenting as well.
July 7, 2014 at 7:54 pm
Great storytelling Tess. For a moment I thought you were writing some of your flash fiction. 🙂
July 8, 2014 at 11:43 am
Hahahahahaha. Sometimes my life feels like a flash of fiction.
July 8, 2014 at 1:01 pm
July 8, 2014 at 9:10 pm
Golly! What dramas! Food and sleep saved the day though! 🙂
July 8, 2014 at 9:17 pm
Blessed food and the Sandman. ZZZZzzzzzzzzzz 😀
July 9, 2014 at 5:57 pm
Wow! The pictures are beautiful 🙂
July 9, 2014 at 7:07 pm
Thanks for reading and you wonderful comment. 🙂
August 9, 2014 at 10:25 am
Seems like you were manipulated the entire trip, everyone trying to line their pockets, I guess, with American cash.
The limited water would make this a no-go for me. Where you able to buy water to take with you? A very different culture for sure.
I’d love to see China but I would not like to be on a tour – not this one, anyway. Thank you for sharing this adventure.
August 9, 2014 at 11:34 am
We bought water everywhere. Our tour bus driver also carried a supply of bottled water. Usually it cost about $2 for 3 bottles, some smaller and others bigger depending where we were. different locations, different tour guides and drivers (local to area).
August 20, 2014 at 2:57 pm
WOW,,,I never would have thought all that drama was done to get you into a restaurant! Imagine! I think I would be totally overwhelmed in China — so many people and so much movement! I would be exhausted! I can barely survive Milwaukee! I live in the countryside. You were on a great adventure for sure!
August 20, 2014 at 6:53 pm
True there are a lot of people and I don’t like to be crowded even in my home country. Sometimes it was less crowded than others.
September 14, 2014 at 5:05 am
Except for scale the apartment blocks could be almost anywhere – not sure I’m an enthusiast of this particular cultural convergence.
Thanks for the video links. I makes me realise how woefully ignorant I am of Chinese history and culture.
September 15, 2014 at 11:16 am
I had no interest in China until this trip. I learned a lot but then you do no matter what country you go to visit, I suppose.
I cannot understand all those empty building accumulating dust and no income. Some have been empty for years. Who does that?
October 22, 2014 at 11:06 pm
I can see a lot going on here that would make me nervous. Mostly being kept in the dark. Wifi that doesn’t work is always frustrating too. I’m glad it all worked out, but you had me on the edge of my seat for a while.
October 23, 2014 at 8:44 pm
It was such a fast-paced time, it was difficult to keep up and then fell into bed like a rock.