The China Diaries: Day Thirteen

I woke up around 5:00AM and got up to have a coffee. Going out was the last thing I wanted to do but staying in that gross room was also not something I wanted to do. I decided to use my ticket to the Forbidden City as it would be my last opportunity to go inside. 

I still wasn’t feeling well but I thought moving would take my mind off of the fact that I wasn’t well. I felt feverish and was a bit worried about my flight later that day. I hoped I would pass the screening.

At the Palace Museum
I took a taxi at 6:50AM to the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong and the place was swarming with people. There were lots of guides holding flags and large groups of people everywhere. It was overwhelming. It read online that it was free to get in and it opened at 7:00AM. I thought going early would beat the crowds but there were already long line ups waiting to go inside. I decided to take a miss. I almost turned around and went back to the hotel.

I carried on through Tiananmen Square and went near the Palace Museum where hundreds of people were lined up. I had read online not to let this deter you from going in. Although it said they opened the gates at 8:30AM, it seemed they were letting people through. I got in the line and was amazed at how quickly I got it. 

I went through the first two or three sections fairly quickly and then all of sudden things around me became very quiet. Most of the people in there were on tours so they weren't free to wander about. I slowed my pace and really took in my surroundings. It was wonderful and in that moment, I forgot about feeling sick.

At the Clock and Watch Gallery
I spent a couple of hours wandering around. The ticket I had included entry into the Treasure Gallery and the Clock and Watch Gallery. All of it was fabulous! Once I exited, there was no place to flag down a taxi so I started back in the direction of my hotel. I eventually came upon a side street with no barriers and was able to get a taxi.

Before going up to my room, I stopped at the restaurant on the main floor of my hotel to have some breakfast. I met a German guy there and we ate together and talked about life.

Finally, it was time for me to go. I had a 3:30PM flight to Mongolia! I hadn't even bothered unpacking my bag so I went up to my room, grabbed a shower and put on some fresh clothes. I went down to the front desk and asked them to call me a taxi to the airport.

It was a quick ride and cost 120RMB. I checked in, found a Starbucks and got myself a cold Mocha and a blueberry muffin. I went down to my gate only to find out that my gate had changed to the opposite end of the airport. I booked it to the new gate to then find out that the flight had been delayed. It was pouring rain in Beijing and apparently planes don't go out in the rain.

We were delayed for over three hours. I was scheduled to land in Mongolia at 5:30PM and I was still sitting in the Beijing Airport at that time. I had no service on my phone as I had used up my data and the airport Wi-Fi said I was online but I had no access to anything. Internet in China sucks.

We finally left after 6:00PM and I landed in the capital city of Mongolia at 8:30PM. My driver had been there since 5:00PM. Poor guy.

It was dark upon arrival and no one was selling phone cards. My driver told me it would be easy to get a phone card near the guesthouse the following day and recommended I use the ATM before leaving the airport.

On the drive to the guesthouse, I asked him a lot of questions about Mongolia. I don't really know much about the culture and didn't do much reading before my arrival. Listening to him talk was interesting and I learned quite a bit in the short time I was with him.

We got to the guesthouse, I checked into my en-suite room, unpacked and pretty much hit the hay. I wasn't well and needed the rest. I was very excited to be in Mongolia but I was a bit bummed at how I was feeling. I hoped to be feeling better by morning. 

The China Diaries: Day Twelve (images)

The Datong City Wall

Wandering around Datong City

The Nine Dragon Screen in Datong

The Fahua Temple in Datong