China and the Great Wall

Dave is unable to access from where they are now, so he sent me this via e-mail and I copied and pasted it.  Check out their photos of China and the Great Wall in the Photos menu above. – Arlo

29th June 2014 – 3rd July 2014

We arrived at the border town of Zemyn-Uud on the Mongolian side of the border on Friday 27th June, there is not much to look at but we did find a hotel called The Crown that said that we could park and sleep in there car park for 5000 tu (€1.80c) per night, we went out for dinner to the Green Corner Restaurant on the first night then on the second night Joanna and Michael arrived in the afternoon we met at Plodd and had a few drinks sat in the afternoon sun. On we went, back to the Green Corner for dinner the food in the restaurant was fine, the next day still staying at the Crown, Guido and Paula arrived in  the afternoon and a little later Trevor and Monika the last people in the convoy that we will be traveling through China with. The next day we decided to meet at the border at 7.30 am and there was total chaos, the Mongolians all trying to get through the gate designated for foreigners  and the soldiers almost fighting with them, we were told that there was an exit tax of  $48 USA per vehicle and Michael then negotiated the price down to $24 each.

When we arrived on the Chinese side the Mongolians started the pushing in again, Joanna pushed their Land cruiser in front of a big bus, the driver was going mad when he saw that Joanna was now letting all our convoy of vehicles in front of her. We then entered the Chinese customs area and met with our guide Mrs. Spring, she dealt with all the paperwork and we had to leave Plodd and all the vehicles overnight in the customs area while the paperwork was sent from the border office to the customs office in Beijing and returned back to the border the next day.

They provided us with a temporary number plate, driving license  and insurance for China. We went out that night into the town Erenhot and had a great Chinese meal, the next day Guido and Paula took the lead with Spring on board and drove to the next big town called Bayincgagan at an altitude of 1500 mtrs. Our team doctor Johanna suggested oxygen in the form of aerated  alcohol (beer) we took her advice (I mean there is no point having our own doctor and not listening to her). Some of the convoy stopped just outside the town and we stopped in Mrs Springs open plan hotel  car park, again we went for dinner with Spring, Johanna and Michael (the food is amazing in China so far), after the meal the owner’s two children asked if they could have their picture taken with us all, we said yes and we now should have a copy on On our return Joanna and Michael decided to go and join the others at about 10.30 pm (22.30) and we stayed on the car park all night. We sat in the cab for about 30 mins when we started to attract a crowd of about 12 people, then two policemen arrived, Les nipped into the cabin out of sight and one of the policemen started to talk to me in Chinese which I did not understand, so next thing he was using his mobile phone talking to someone,  he offered the phone to me! It was his wife and she said to me , My husband is a policeman so don’t worry, he wants to know are you OK, he wants to know do you need food and water,  he wants to know do you need help with the hotel. I answered no we are OK to all. Next he was back on his phone talking, then 10 minutes passed and a minibus turned up with 6 or 7 police in it. They all got out and on their backs in English it said “Swat Team stand back”  Oh my god, anyway they had only come to have a look at Plodd, the policeman that had put his wife on the phone earlier pointed to one of the policemen that had lots of stars on his shoulder and said this is my boss, they stayed 20 or 30 minute’s talking Chinese to me and laughing and pointing at Plodds stickers then left at about 11.30am (23.30).

The next day we all decided to start out early for the Great Wall at 8.30 am in convoy .We took the lead for the motorway journey of 574 Km and arrived at about 6.30pm.(18.30)

That evening we all parked our vehicles in a circle (just like the American solders used to with there wagon trains) and Spring pitched her tent in the middle of the vehicles, we sat outside, Les made dinner for us, Michael, Joanna and Spring and then we all sat outside for a drink before going to bed, some wanted to get an early start climbing the great wall.

We got up at about 7.30am finding that it had been pouring with rain during the night and Spring’s tent was very wet but she said that she was OK. Some of the group left early to climb the wall, Les and I decided to take the cable car to the top (oh shit we are both scared of heights) anyway we walked along the Great Wall then down to our base camp at an altitude 1000 mtrs.  After the walk we all sat at base camp until 1pm (13.00) then headed out on our journey to Beijing.

We stopped about 20km outside Beijing in a park, no sooner had we parked up before we had the largest audience yet. Blackpool FC would be proud to get that many people at a home match, they studied Plodds flags then tried the doors on TC then back to Plodd eventually getting the side door open on Plodd and one lady actually went in with her small boy in tow.

Most of us went out for dinner in the local outside Chinese restaurant, food was again good this time mostly BBQ.

4th July 2014

The next day I looked out of Plodd’s front window at 7.00am to see upwards of fifty people of all ages and shapes and sizes doing Chinese exercises with swords and music (Taichi). It was very interesting to watch and I videoed about 30 minutes of this interesting performance.

At 9.00am we set off for Beijing the 20km’s took us to our hotel the Red Wall, where Spring had pre booked parking for our vehicles, I did think that if there was parking for our big vehicle convoy it would be a miracle, however, credit where credit is due “Super Spring” pulled it off and the parking was waiting for us.

5th July 2014,

Yesterday we had a walk round the old centre of Beijing the city reminds me so much of Bangkok.

I looked at the restaurants on tripadviser and decided that we should go to a restaurant called Temple Restaurant Beijing (look this one up on tripadviser it is in the number one spot). The restaurant had a courtyard and after you crossed it you then entered into a glass fronted bar where a smiling face called Charlie greets you! After an aperitif in the bar all three of us Les, Spring and I went through to our table. We ordered our meals and were given a selection of nibbles (smoked salmon on crisp and carrot and beetroot squares filled with cream cheese), followed by a bread basked with 8 different varieties.  Before our first course we were given a platter of Parmesan twists and an amuse bouche of salmon and pea foam soup. After the appetizers we had an interim course of blue cheese and truffle risotto, which was delicious. Main course follows and the steaks were sublime with just the right amount of accompaniments.  The general manager Cloe came to speak with us and offered us complimentary coffee, brandies and petit fours. The whole experience was a delight and they deserve their place at No1 in this amazeballs city! Not surprisingly we were told David Beckham was recently here.

This morning we met at 9.00am and set off to visit Tiananmen Square and The Forbidden City, our legs are still killing us from walking/climbing on the Great Wall, it is unbelievable how hard we found it. So this afternoon we are spending our time catching up on and drinking tea before we meet up with all the others to go out to the famous Peking Duck Restaurant for dinner followed by a trip to the night market.

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