Our cruise has come to an end! We disembarked at Tianjin then took a two-hour bus ride to Beijing where we were dropped off at a third tier hotel in the middle of nowhere. The guide and bus driver offered to drop each person off at individual destinations for 100RMB (~$16) each after scaring us about “taxi drivers and their fake money.” She proceeded to pass around a real bill to show us the mark to look out for. Needless to say, most people stayed on the bus to be ripped off. I asked her how long it’d take to get to our hotel via taxi, and she responded with a serious demeanor, “Approximately one hour for 100RMB.” Please, I’ve got Google Maps. We got off the bus, and after much yelling back and forth (between various taxi drivers and the concierge — not me), we got on a taxi that took us to the Sheraton in 17 minutes for 28RMB (~$4.50). WOW, CHINESE PEOPLE. Or so I thought.
Famished, we headed straight to the restaurant floor in the hotel and walked into a dimsum restaurant that just so happened to have a lunch special: 98RMB/person for all you can order! It felt like the cruise all over again…except we had to ask for a check this time.
We spent the next hour or two chatting up the concierge, planning out our short stay in Beijing. These gentleman at the Sheraton restored my faith in Chinese people. Ryan couldn’t find a sim card for his iPhone at the airport, so someone ran to a nearby store to get him one and installed it for him — now that’s service! They also helped us get tickets for an acrobatic show at night (though they weren’t able to get a taxi for us on a raining day). Beijing traffic is serious business, so we ventured out on our own and took the subway instead.
Zach and Heidi, we weren’t able to book a dumpling making class (even the concierge tried!) but I assure you, we ate a lot of different types of dumplings. Instead, we’ll thank you for a wonderful night at the theatre!
The highlight of the show was when eight stunt bicyclists all zoomed around the inside of an enclosed ball!