Saturday 28th July 2018
Pandas, Palaces and Pork Stuffed Pancakes
‘All good things must come to an end’ and, unfortunately, even our amazing and once in a life-time China trip. Saturday: our last day. We can’t actually believe how quickly this trip has gone; it seemed like only yesterday we were on the flight out to Dubai and then Beijing and now, it’s the last day. However, yet again, another incredible day was planned to end this unforgettable trip!
The morning began with a trip to Beijing Zoo where we were able to see some of China’s pandas. Since this fascinating and mysterious creature is on the brink of extinction, it was a real honour to experience its true beauty… A special memory.
After this, we were whisked onto the bus and taken to The Summer Palace where we were informed of the Empress who lived there and the symbol of the phoenix cast in bronze, representing her power and its dominance over the dragon (a symbol otherwise known in Chinese culture for its importance and supremacy).
In the palace, we viewed the living quarters and outside, a man painting calligraphy in water on the footpath- again, well wishes about morality and wisdom. Then, we took a walk up the long corridor, where many Chinese locals come to sit and lunch overlooking the lake. At the end of the corridor, we were greeted with our multi-coloured and beautifully embellished dragon boat which took us on a gentle ride across the lake to enjoy the beauty of the temple in the distance and the lilies on the lake.
Our last event of the day and trip was a visit to the Dongdan retail area where we looked around the designer shops and department stores. This was juxtaposed with a very unique experience down Wangfujing snack street. This street was like no other experience in Beijing. This narrow strip was adorned with food stalls of all varieties, catering for the sweet tooth, the savoury fan and, even the live insect ‘bush-tucker’ challenge type diner! With a sensory overload of strong scents (or in some cases, stenches) and, busy overcrowded queues, we snaked our way down the street viewing its offerings: giant crab legs; shanks (of what, we were unsure!); octopus’ tentacles; deep fried chicks and crispy cockroaches, as well as live scorpions!! Ella J and Adam C even indulged in the delights of a scorpion, suggesting it tasted, ‘crunchy’ and ‘crisp-like’ and was not unpleasant in any way!
For the rest of us though, we waited for dinner where we were taken to a dim sum restaurant, tasting a variety of dishes as part our final meal in China. Emily enjoyed the pork stuffed pancakes more than anything on the trip… finally, she had found her China dish of choice!
Arriving back at the hotel, we packed our suitcases for the final time. After two weeks in China, our journey was finally coming to an end.