We have been in China about two weeks now, but it was not until last Saturday we took our first ‘real’ adventure. We decided to start off our sight-seeing slow by going to visit the Forest Park, which is located just out side the hustle and bustle of Beijing. With a direct bus ride to right outside the parks gate, this should be easy. Right?
After the 15 minute walk to the bus station got ready to board 112. There must be a process to board the bus when you are the Ochsner family.
First: Everyone grabs a backpack off the stroller;
Second: Mom gives out the bus cards;
Third: Post look outs for the desired bus;
Forth: When the bus arrives, be read to scoot a boot to get on, because you’ve got a total of thirty seconds. IF the bus driver stops for you.
Fifth: Go, go, go!
Sixth: Count heads. *phew* we’ve got eight.
If you are lucky enough, you may be able to find a seat. Luckily on this ride we each got to sit. *Whew* So far so good.
We then began to near what we though was our stop, but we weren’t quite sure if it was the right one. Then woosh. There it went. The bus driver didn’t even stop at the stop. And that was our first problem.
We got off at the next stop and tried to catch our bearings. At that point we had crossed over to the opposite side of the highway than the park. So we began to walk.
Finally, (okay, after a 10 minute walk) we came across the gate we are standing in front of in the picture. Immediately we thought, “Well, this is obviously the park we are looking for!” So in we went. As we continued to walk in we notice that this didn’t look much like a forest… It looked more like an orchard.
As we walked further into the park/orchard/thingy we noticed that there were some small pens located in one area. We went to take a closer look. Then we saw them: Ostriches, Deer, Rabbits, Peacocks, Goats, and Geese. All caged up in pens smaller than my bedroom. It was crazy to get so close to some these animals which you might never get so close to in the US. Eventually a Chinese man approached us and began to speak to us in rapid Mandarin (which, when is it never rapid?). Seeing as there was no one else around, just us and this displeased Chinese man, we took that as our sign to leave.
At this point the whole crew has sweated a gallon of water each, but would we get back on the air-conditioned 112? No sir! Not until we had found the Forest Park! We continued to walk and eventually found another gate near what Siri said was the Forest Park, so of course we went in. We walked for awhile longer on the path in the garden, and every now and then we came upon buildings named after different states. Turns out these were some sort of hotel/apartments, but we almost decided to risk trespassing for some AC. Soon enough we were ready to go, and were working towards the exit when we came across a large building. It was a Four Seasons Hotel by Sheridan. My only comment is that the strange and confused looks given to us by the hotel personnel were almost worth the few minutes of air conditioning we soaked up while sitting in the hotel lobby.
After the few moments of precious AC, we decided it was time to make the stifling trek back home. (Though Scarlett and Eli were not quite sure, and almost stayed behind in the air conditioning) As we were exiting we saw our bus zoom by and had to wait ten agonizing minutes in the hot sun for 112 to return. We eventually did get on the right bus home, and after a scrumptious meal at a new restaurant, where we are pretty sure we ordered beef liver on accident (at least, we hope that’s what it was…) and resulted in on upset stomach for two of the crew (TMI, I know), we finally made it home to the air conditioned place we call home. Our trip definitely made us appreciate our air conditioned apartment.
We had quite an adventure that day, and we later learned that the Four Seasons ground’s were not even part of the Forest Park. I can only imagine what or next adventure has in store. But we did return with everyone we started with, so I would call this adventure a success.
PS: Sorry for the absence! Our internet has been funky lately (and the blogger is getting lazy).