How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE

Beijing Part 7: Ming Tombs



Image Courtesy of Sally Cronin

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
  • Rice
  • Cauliflower and broccoli
  • Soup
  • Cut up orange wedges for dessert
  • Tea
  • The usual one small (free) glass of beer, pop or water
The Spirit Way, original road and entrance to the tombs. There are 13 tombs of which only one has been excavated (Ding Ling)

The Spirit Way: original road and entrance to the tombs. There are 13 tombs of which one only has been excavated (Ding Ling) 

Ming Tombs: where 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty are buried (1368-1644).    (3.04 min)

If you would like a more in-depth version:  (8:43 min)

Emperor Yongle with money offerings at his feet. This money is collected and used to maintain the building

Emperor Yongle with money offerings at his feet. This money is collected and used to maintain the building and no, no Chinese person would dare steal this money.  


  • 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 occurred to me 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 announced he had to leave. The driver would take us to the restaurant, he said. 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 other’s reactions in front or 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. I thought the young fellow on the bike might have caused an accident. Traffic shifted moving past, yet our bus waited immobile. Why? By now, the whole group craned necks and raised eyebrows around the seats at each other. 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 signaling 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 6 which displayed our tour group name.

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 since there wasn’t room to bring the bus closer. 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 was suspect.

“I had to see about my next tour,” he said to our obvious curiosity.



  • Soup with fresh chopped tomatoes
  • Rice
  • 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 my bed. I gave up on e-mail.

Finally day's end

Finally day’s end. This is how my brain felt as well. 

Next on March 3rd: Beijing Part 8: Pearl Stores and Summer Palace

© 2017 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

FYI: This is a re-blog of the best parts of my trip in 2014.



Author: Let's CUT the Crap!

I'm getting a little LONG in the tooth and have things to say about---ouch---AGEing. I believe it's certainly a state of mind but sometimes it's nice to hear that you're NORMAL. I enjoy reading by the truckload. I'm a grandma but I don't feel OLD although I'm not so young anymore. My plan is to stick it out as long as I can on this lovely planet and only will leave it kicking and screaming!

50 thoughts on “Beijing Part 7: Ming Tombs

  1. Amazing Tess. What an adventure. This food actually looks good.


  2. That food looks great. Did you ever get tired of it? I know when I traveled to Russia, I got so tired of the cultural food, I survived on black bread and cheese.


    • No I didn’t tire of the food. I’ll sit and eat whatever is put in front of me. I love cooking but if someone else sets the table and feeds me, heck that’s a bright spot in my day–especially on holidays. 😀 😀 A few times, the friend I traveled with, ate a protein bar instead because nothing appealed to her. I had no problem with anything and that’s not saying I’ll eat anything. 🙂


  3. The photos are absolutely amazing, Tess! The food looks scrumptious!


  4. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Another of my Saturday morning visits is to Tess Karlinski’s tour of China.. and this week there is a little bit of intrigue, dodgy Internet (happens to us all) and some interesting food choices…Chicken with fungus and green peppers… I suppose even hens get athlete’s foot!! sorry #recommended

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A great story Tess. These posts bring back wonderful memories. Thank you.x


    • If these posts do even a small part of bringing back memories, I’m pleased. I’m amazed this ‘second reading’ is enjoyable even to me. When you take a trip, you come home tired and within a week the trip is gone, erased, except for your pictures a few details now and again. Maybe. I’m charged doing this one again and have gained many new readers. The first time I probably was in awe. This time I am more conscious and enjoying it yet again–sure in awe–but also with more presence. ❤ ❤


  6. Another very interesting stop on the tour 🙂 The entrance to the tombs looks so impressive x


    • I can’t believe how neat, clean, and well maintained this was. I suppose that’s all with ‘tourists’ in mind–and there are thousands and all impressed. The museum, the entrance, the busloads, everything is timed I think to prevent crowding at some of the important stops. At this one, we felt we were the only busload. Then another one arrived as we were leaving. How do they do that with such precision? o_O

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I wouldn’t have liked that experience on the bus. Coming from South Africa I would have thought we were being held up. Tombs sound fascinating.


  8. I cannot imagine how desperate it must be to live in those tower blocks!


  9. Was the food as good as it looks?


  10. Yummy, the food looks delicious, but it sounded aa bit scary when robert jut upped and left and the young uy got on the bus! Still, all’s well that ends well (except th duff internet of course)!!!


  11. I think I remember this day, it must have been very confusing, were you anxious ?


    • Yes, I was anxious. I could hardly speak. We were all somewhat paralyzed not having a clue what was happening before our eyes–was it danger or what and what was the danger? None of us spoke the language, a huge disadvantage in our brains. We had no rights in a country, not our own and had no idea what was happening. Scary enough for ME. o_O


  12. Oh the chaos of traffic in a large city. The fight for tourism business sounds intense. Sometimes when traveling I am happy not to know what is being said.


  13. I wonder if his emergency was actually business related.

    I’m kind of surprised that you took your laptop on the trip at all. Or am I way too cautious?


    • I do feel it must have been personal by his body language, the sound of his quivering voice and the deer-in-the-headlights look on his face.
      My laptop is a small one. I thought I’d find time to type notes from the day during the evening. Ha. All I did was email when we had WiFi.


  14. One of the things I always enjoyed about these China travelogues of yours Tess, was the amazing points of interest. Re the laundry, it really makes one wonder about the bedding and underwear! 😀 Mega hugs


  15. I remembered Robert jumping off the bus. I write that as if I was there. Hahahahahaha. 🙂


  16. The bus dilemma sounds scary, The food looks plentiful, and I know how it feels while away to surrender to fighting crappy or no internet. 🙂 ❤


  17. Very clever to link the food to your tour Tess, shared food is one of the ancient fundamentals of hospitality, it is also how we are judged as hosts and I think this is probably especially true for an ancient culture like China- which from reading your words is so bracingly modern without having sacrificed the old courtesies. I envy you. Going back to read the earlier posts


  18. Did you get your picture taken on the throne in the Ming Tombs, Tess? I have to say, those tall buildings appear a little scary ~ a bit wobbly or lopsided. They look as if they might collapse at any moment. I wonder if they’re retrofitted for earthquakes … 🙂 ❤


  19. I would say “harrowing” but you were going too slow! 🙂 I crack up every time you list the food and “of course, a free small glass of beer, pop, or water.” If that second dinner photo is any indication, that is a teensy glass of water.


  20. It had all the makings of a spy movie for a while, Tess. How strange to peer up into somebody’s life (I refer to Robert) but not get the whole picture or have any way of knowing what’s going on… I agree that the food looks good. Thanks for sharing! 🙂


    • Spy movie for sure, Olga. These people aren’t like westerners who tell strangers every little thing. They’re private people and Roberts said not a thing to give us a clue even when eight pairs of eyes drilled him upon his return. No complaints about the food. I wouldn’t starve there. 🙂 ❤


  21. I loved how you were wondering what they were talking about on their phones at the start of the post – it’s the writer in you searching for a story 🙂 The food looks great!


    • I wondered because of their tones: excited, rapid-fire, loud. The driver always sounded like he was picking a fight with someone on the phone–not Robert. Yes, the food was good. I ate whether I was hungry or not and I always enjoyed my tiny sip of beer. Ha ha.
      Nice to see you. Thanks for the visit. ❤


  22. I lived in Beijing for half a year while doing my study abroad. Guess who never made it to the Ming Tombs? And very nearly didn’t make it to the Forbidden City or any other local historical places? This gal.

    I did, however, manage to scope out a lot of local bars.


  23. I’d really like to see the Ming Tombs some day! Cool photos, Tess!


Some things in life are complicated. Let's keep it simple.

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s