A Beijing Birthday

by Ant Stone on July 25, 2007

in China

As birthdays go, this one could appear pretty regular; spent the day with the lads, grabbed a few beers and a bite to eat then hit the clubs and danced the night away without a care in the world for my aching 21 (+4) year old bones. It’s only when I divulge the detail, that you realise the magic of having your birthday on the road. The day I spent with the lads was at The Great Wall of China, earning a big and mighty “must-do” tick, we scaled it’s heights and marvelled at the monumental feat. I can’t help but wonder if some of these Chinese folk wish the wall still did it’s job, everywhere I go I am constantly stared at as the ‘long nose’ (the Chinese’s affectionate term for westerners) but maybe still, for the bright blue shoes I entertain myself with by wearing.

We sapped up every kodak moment, and laughed at the tobogan and gondala attractions poking tackily out from it’s ancient wall before descending through a sea of souvenir sellers “t-shirt $10?” they barked before swiftly changing tactics, “ok ok, special price 2 t-shirt $5?” my nonchalant strut did nothing to deter the final offering “ok, 3 t-shirt $1, just $1?”, I dreaded to think at the confusion I instilled as I left empty handed, to follow my long nose downhill. We returned to the Choky City to a feast of Chinese ambrosia, I lost count of what we ordered, the Tsing Tao beer simply washed it away as we declared “prost” and “cheers”, but this food was tame in comparison to our later haul. We wandered aimlessly down the food-market lining the street and filled our faces with such delicacies as snake, grub, octopus, shrimp and noodles. Yes, snake. Did it taste like chicken? No actually, it tasted rather like fish and the crunch of the spinal cord did nothing to aid the task. Thankfully, the Tsing Tao still flowed to the sound of “prost” and “cheers” as we ignored our testosterone fuelled feast and headed to the clubs, 4 in total- and not an entrance fee to be seen.

The main purpose of this post was more to say thanks for all the birthday wishes, and to give you an idea of how it went. I’m leaving Beijing in half an hour, for Datong just 5 hours away. I’m undecided whether to come back as I haven’t seen any of the main city sights due to the illness, but I’m craving a fresh slate so I’ve said goodbye to my gang of Austrian’s and once again am back to my more natural, solo adventure.


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