The last day, oh no, time went by waaaay to fast!
In the morning we went on the bus without really knowing what the plan was. Our guide happily announced that we were going to one of the huge, cheap shopping malls – and we were going to be the first ones, waiting in front of the doors for it to open. Yay! As expected, we arrived half an hour too early. 40 tourists waiting in front of a shopping mall – I guess you don’t get to experience that every day. We were supposed to spend 2-3 hours in this thing, but most people complained about how little time it was. It worked totally fine for me though. I bought my souvenirs, had a look around and spent the rest of the time drinking coffee in a cute café close by. What I learned from this? Well, bargaining is FUN! At first it felt weird and impudent not to accept the price they told us because this is what we’ve been taught, isn’t it? Anyway, I got very self-confident and even walked away from a vendor… and he called me back agreeing on the price I was prepared to pay 😀 When it was time to go back on the bus, I was honestly shocked to see most of our group come back with up to 10 bags full of cheap, faked stuff. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not really a shopping person.
After that, we were dragged into a silk spinning company, where we were offered various silk products while being informed about how the whole thing worked. They even tried to show us how we could take a mattress home. On a plane! Ya right.
The best part of the day was a spontaneous stop in Beijing’s art district 798 (qi qiu ba) in a former industrial area. We had time to walk around, visit the small galleries, relax in super cool alternative cafés and even for a little photo shooting between the old factories. All in all, the district had a crazy, artistic atmosphere and I loved it.
We had dinner at a real Chinese restaurant. They didn’t even have an English menu, which turned it into a culinary adventure. We did, however, get a menu with pictures when we asked for one. So in the end we think we ordered algae salad, dumplings, fried noodles and some pie filled with minced meat. Obviously, we couldn’t finish it all, so we asked in Chinese if we could take the rest with us. And they understood us 😀 Later, this turned out to be the best decision of the day. On the way back to the hotel, we saw the sky darken and the wind got strong enough to carry garbage bags across the streets. Just before we reached our destination, it started raining like crazy!
Luckily we had some free time before we had to head off to the karaoke bar. Karaoke is a phenomenon in China. Chinese don’t really like going to clubs, so whenever they feel like partying, they go to a karaoke place. You get your own room with tables, sofas and of course a huge screen; we even had an old-school microphone! To cut a long story short, we spent 3 hours there and it was epic.
Back in the hotel, we joined the last hotel room party shortly after midnight. For some reason, we were starving by then, so we left to eat our leftovers from dinner and felt a lot better afterwards and ready to party through the night. An hour before check-out, everyone went back to their rooms to pack and get ready. The breakfast boxes the hotel had prepared for us didn’t last very long, since drunk people are hungry people.
At the airport in Germany, the first thing we did was finding a screen and watching the second half of the football match Germany-Portugal. Back in my hometown, I then had to find my way back home taking into account closed streets, cancelled busses and euphoric football fans 😀
So even though it was an all-organized group tour,
it turned out to be a fun and unforgettable adventure!