Sunday, October 5, 2014
Day 2 in Beijing: Beijing Sideways Tour
This was the day I was waiting for ... The only thing I was completely excited about during this trip. The Beijing Sideways tour to the Great Wall. Not so much seeing the Great Wall but being able to ride. My tour guide and driver picked me up at 9:30am in the motorcycle with a sidecar. I had never ridden in a sidecar and was quite excited... Even more excited knowing I would be able to drive a little on the trip. My tour guide was a lady in her mid 20s from Indiana and my driver was exactly what I imagined a Chinese biker to look like. It was a foggy day... Not smog because it didn't smell... The temperature was just right. A bit chilly at times but since the sun wasn't out it never got real hot. Driving in China is a lot different than in the US... Even different than driving in Miami. Haha... The motorcycles kind of go where ever they want... In between cars, on the side streets for bikes, over curbs... Whatever to get where they are going. It was a blast! Once we were outside the city a bit he let me drive. The first time was on the way up the mountains... Curves and steep slopes. His bike is quite a bit different than mine. The sidecar alone is a huge change since you can't lean into curves but have to steer... Than the shifting was the same but his was much harder to shift and the brakes were a bit iffy. It was difficult with the curves and going up the mountains but we all survived. He took control again and the tour guide got to drive a bit. Then when we were in a more flat area I got to drive a bit more... It was much easier and I got the hang of shifting and turning. The driver took video which I will share once back in the US.
We got to a small village and started going down what looked like a walkway to where we were dropped off to hike up to the wall. I'm not much of a hiker but it was a good workout to get ready for working at Amazon.com when I get back to the U.S. We get to the wall which was a part that has less tourists and it was quite the hike up to where we ate lunch. I'm not much for heights and not much of a hiker but I took my time and we made it. It was just me and the tour guide so I could take all the time I needed.
We had a nice lunch of salad, bread, meats, cheese, cookies and wine... And of course some water. Then we had to hike down the other side. Yikes! Here aren't always steps so on the really steep parts I did a bit of a crab walk since I am not always the most coordinated going down. Again, I made it... Where we got off there was another hiking path down to this inn/restaurant where we had a beer and met up again with our driver.
I have many pictures to share... But again, have to wait until I'm back in the US but here are a couple I took on my iPad
That's me in the driver seat and my tour guide.
On the way back to town we passed by the Olympic Stadium. I really enjoyed the much needed ride. My tour guide told me to find myself a hostel or hotel for the next couple of nights... I could really feel the frustration when I got back to where I was staying... So my plan was to take everything with me in the morning and find a new place to stay.
If in Beijing you definitely need to checkout Beijing Sideways. They do tours of Beijing and tours to the wall. It was a blast! Now I can say I rode in China... Since it isn't easy to get a license to drive this really is a great way to check it off your list.