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Beijing, Day 3

Beijing, China

The day started out with an intense ambition. We had three main attractions to visit: The Great Wall, The Summer Palace and Tian An Men Square, in that order.

The Great Wall featured, of course, lots of steps. Most at a severe incline. It's probably one of the most international tourist sites in the world. I heard at least 10 different languages spoken on the hike up. Where most people climb the great wall and some even skate it, for Robert it was just another obstacle to jump over in order to find plants. And find them he did. He came back with plastic bags of not t-shirts but of plants to show us on the bus. Mao said your not a hero until you climb the great wall... I wonder what he thought about teachers who jump it. There was a nice hook on the ride to the wall, yet again by our tour guide. We took a short detour to see a jade factory, which of course had a massive jade store attached. We all protested before going in, but yet again, most people ended up buying something (perhaps there's subliminal messaging in these places). The hook worked.

The next stop was the Summer Palace which is a good drive back from the wall. The palace is one of the largest parks in all of China and was the vacation spot for the later dynasties. The gardens and lake were a welcome haven for us, although we had to rush through it in order to fit all of the days activities. Where there is Yin there is Yang... to contrast the peace of the garden, just outside was an alley back to the bus, which we've nicknamed "swindler alley." Not only was the long alley loaded with poor merchants hounding us to buy their t-shirt knock-offs and cheap crafts, they were ready to scam the tourists. After some tour members put up a good job haggeling down the price of some goods, they found their change back to be counterfeit bills... So it is possible to get Shanghaied in Beijing.

After dinner we got to walk a few minutes around Tian An Men Square, which was lit up at night and preparing for the upcoming Mid-Autum Festival (moon cake festival).

After the square we drove to the massive Beijing train station to get aboard our sleeper train to Luoyang. Upon entering there was a huge crowd outside waiting to get in and watching someone get detained by the police. After a bout of abuse, about 5 red guards handcuffed the guy and took him away. Then we had to deal with the bottlenecking and the thousands of people laying around or rushing to get on their train. While we were all excited to hop into our soft sleeper cabin on the train, we quickly realized that after a day of hiking around without a shower, the tight quarters weren't as pleasant as we thought, especially after we took our shoes off...

permalink written by  Benjamin Satterfield on September 16, 2005 from Beijing, China
from the travel blog: China Tour Fall 2005
tagged China, Beijing, TheGreatWall, SummerPalace, TianAnMenSquare, Jade, Theft, MoonCakeFestival, Autumn, Festival, RedGuard, Luoyang and SleeperTrain

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Moss Festival

Friday Harbor, United States

Stumbling through the woods at night could be considered a dangerous feat. However it was the Egg Lake Music Festival and the potential hazards would be worth it. The smell of bonfire and cannabis created a distinct aroma that became more noticeable as we approached. Finally the woods cleared to presents an outdoor music festival.

Moss Festival consisted of a laser light show, a bon fire, an beer garden and pizza kiln providing us with an endless supply of pizza and smoked salmon.

At first the music was a bit abrasive so we took a wander through the woods. The path was barley illuminated with solar lights that wound around with random patches where tents were pitched. The tents were covered with a variety of light images.

We were convinced that we would not make it out of the woods alive. Later, in the next morning's news, the local isalnders would read the news of the lost kids and proclaim "what on earth were they thinking?!"

The truth is we were not. Bottles on pbr and wine finished off as Reggie Hanson topped the night off with his Jimmi Hendrix covers and playing his guitar with his teeth. We danced carefree under the stars as Foxy Lady, Hey Joe, All Along the Watch Tower and other Jimmi favorites were played. The dying bonfire announced the winding down of the night. The island life is truely a great life.

permalink written by  wanderlust on July 3, 2007 from Friday Harbor, United States
from the travel blog: True Blue: Summer in the San Juans
tagged Festival and Summer

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Trip to Germany: Holi Open Air Berlin

Berlin, Germany

I was lurking online when I stumbled upon a website, which had an article about a festival I went to, the Holi Open Air Berlin (http://www.Germany-travel.org/holi-open-air-berlin/). It was a very cool event: lots of people throwing paint on each other, with such bright colors everywhere. I never would have thought I´d find the Holi festival (traditionally celebrated in India and some surrounding countries) in Berlin, but I got quite lucky. Check it out for yourself, and if you´re in Berlin then, YOU. HAVE. TO. GO.

permalink written by  mintyfresh on March 5, 2013 from Berlin, Germany
from the travel blog: European Adventure
tagged Festival, Travel, Germany, Berlin and HoliOpenAirBerlin

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