Louise has acquainted herself with a scorpion.

Last night we went to the Night Market on 东安门西 (donganmenxi) street. It was fantastic, just a line of freshly cooked prawns, meat and bugs and shouting vendors. I was quite boring and had lamb and watermelon but Louise was crazy (by that I mean brave) enough to try cockroaches and scorpions. My oh my. Her verdict on the cockroaches was that they tasted like liquidised cardboard wrapped in plastic. She didn’t finish the stick of them. However, at the other end of the scale, she tried these little (creepy looking) scorpions and loved them! Her verdict: a delicious crunchy bug. Man alive.

We got home about half past nine and Louise crashed instantly whilst I felt wide awake and could not sleep until about 2am. Horrible. Just to add, the new book Revenge Wears Prada is quite good, I give it three stars.

I woke this morning about seven to find Louise had already been up for a few hours and had gone for a walk. Although I wish I had gone with her, I’m glad she didn’t wake me at the crack of dawn as I would’ve only had two hours sleep if she had done so. But we started the day exhausted. We went to the market outside our hostel and bought some more fruit. I just love the atmosphere there! And headed off in search of Tiananmen Square because we had seen the portrait of Mao on Monday but had not see the square. Also, this was our third attempt at getting to this place. The first time we only made it to Mao (and it was smoggy). The second time was last night as the map we had claimed to make it look like Tiananmen Square was close but noooooo. We walked into the middle of nowhere for nothing. I feel bad for dragging Louise about a little bit, I’m glad she puts up with it with a smile on her face. Kidding. She’s the perfect travel partner. Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yes. And this third time we were just walking around the subway station trying to find the right way out. Our advice to anyone who’s going to China in the future.. Good luck finding Tiananmen Square easily and quickly. (unless you’re staying in a hotel just don’t the road). So all in all that was good.

The main highlight of today was the Summer Palace. Though we were only there for two and a half hours, it was incredible. The buildings, walkways, bridges, architecture were beautiful. One day when I’m back in China for my year abroad, I’m definitely going back for a full day to explore the whole of it. Although to get to most of the park you have to go up a massive hill (tonnes of steep steps), it is so worth it. There were also a few souvenir stores and I’ve bought two sewn fabric wall hangings! One of pandas (hehehe) and the other of a beautiful tree. I love them. Then Louise and I had a small but yummy early dinner trying a few 包子 (baozi) dumplings. Let’s just say it’s not really her thing. It’s quite amusing really. (I say that with a grin on my face.)

Now we’re back at the hostel to pick up our bags, have a diet coke and then we’re heading off to catch the 19:33 train to Shanghai! Exciting!

We’ve had a good ‘splash on the surface’ of Beijing, I can’t wait to come back already. And hopefully with much better mandarin. I’m so happy I’ve come. Anyway. We better be off.