Blog 7: 2012 Animals Asia Australia China Moon Bear Challenge
After several tough days out on the Great Wall covering more than 50km in pounding heat and humidity, we were ready for the relative luxury of our Beijing hotel combined with a touch more history, culture, nightlife, and delicious food!
Our in-city motto is TIC: This Is China! It is with that attitude that we are now approaching every bit of excitement that comes our way. As I explained to the group on day one, the irony of China’s centralized government and economy is that you are actually free to do whatever you want as long as it isn’t dangerous or harmful to others.
We started yesterday with a visit to the vast Summer Palace, where we wandered along the massive man-made lake alongside the nattering souvenir vendors and in-awe Chinese tourists. The air was heavy and the skies were dark but we chalked it up to TIC and carried on.
This morning we arose post-nightlife exploration and made our way to the northern Hutong, or lane ways, to saddle up on bicycles and do as the locals do – bumble along through the back roads and take in the sites, smells, and tastes of the ancient small-town Beijing that lies in the shadows of the ever-present modern skyscrapers.
Along they way we literally just stumbled upon a coffee shop that is a committed supporter of Animals Asia! The outside billboards were advertising how to become a supporter and the inside walls were lined with photos, stories, and testimonials of the issue of bile farming and the work that Animals Asia does. It was completely fortuitous and a brilliant surprise.
After a few hours of free exploration time we reunited for a Kung Fu martial arts exhibition followed by a visit to Donghuamen street food night market, where we noshed on dumplings, skewered vegetables, and toffee-glazed fruit. “I love this place,” Mehri declared. How couldn’t you?
To close the night (and our time in Beijing) we had a truly THIS IS CHINA moment, riding in a motorbike taxi back to our hotel. As you can see, our driver was overjoyed to have his photo taken with our resident Kiwis Debby and Erin.
Tomorrow it’s onward to Chengdu where we will briefly visit the Panda sanctuary before spending a brilliant final day at the Animals Asia center. Will the excitement never end?
More from Animals Asia China Moon Bear Challenge:
- Blog 1: Team Animals Asia are on the Ground!
- Blog 2: Team Animals Asia take Beijing by storm!
- Blog 3: Animals Asia Smashes Day One of the Great Wall of China
- Blog 4: Dispatches from China: Day 3 from Team Animals Asia
- Blog 5: Day Four On The Great Wall Is All About Stairs
- Blog 6: Inspired Adventures Team Animals Asia Says Farewell To The Wall
- Blog 7: TIC: This is China, Animals Asia style
- Blog 8: Team Animals Asia Meets The Pandas!
- Blog 9: Team Animals Asia Meets The Moon Bears!
- Animals Asia Blog: 2012 Australia China Moon Bear Challenge
- Twitter: live updates from Team Animals Asia in China