Garret and I got on the plane out of Seoul at 7:00 on Saturday night. We flew to Beijing and expected to have to spend 12 hours in the airport. To out suprise we were allowed to get through immigration without a 200 dollar visa. We also met 4 travelers that were there doing the same thing as us. So we joined forces and prepared for our assault on Beijing.
The six of us jumped into the bus bound for the city from the airport and we got off at the first stop, the stop that the travelers information people at the airport told us to get off at. This stop is also known as the wrong stop. There was no night life to speak of there so after wandering around for a while, all six of us, with our travel packs, bumped into another foreigner who pointed us in the right direction. After a 15 minute hike through the embassy district we arrived. There was a big district of bars, clubs, and shopping. It was pretty cool. There were live shows going on with chinese bands playing covers of american music. There was also a Michael jackson impersonator roaming around, hopping from club to club. You could hear the MJ music get louder as they played his tune in each successive bar closer to us. Then It slowly faded away as he made his way down the strip. The chinese club promoters were waving us into the bars, offering us tables as we walked down the street. Finally we came to one with cheap 15 Yuan
beers. After a while there playing card games and everyone putting up with my stupid magic tricks
, we headed out.
We got one of the waitresses there to write down for us in chinese the name of a food market so we could give it to the cab driver. We hopped in the cab and after a few minutes we were there. This market was full of people and had these chinese lanterns I had the best chicken Chinese food EVER (imagine that) After filling out guts with chicken, duck, a huge pan of crayfish, and various other mystery meats we were off again. We got some directions form another waitress and were off to the Beijing Olympic Grounds.
The cab ride was a crazy time. The cab driver was offering us cigarettes. Garrett was trying to roll down the window in the back seat and just when he was about to give up the cab driver reached across me and got in the glove box to retrieve the window crank, eventually garrett was given a water bottle to put his cigarette into. It was about 3:00 in the morning when we arrived and we just kind of laid out in front of the Birds nest and chilled out looking up at the tangle of steel beams. Garrett and I left the group with a mission to get into the birds nest at about 4:00am. We went to the guard tent and called the security guard over to us. I motioned to him from my eyes to the birds nest all with gestures I managed to communicate our intent. After shaking his head at us a couple of times I pulled out 100 chinese Yuan he looked down at the bill, up at me, back down at the bill and looked around. Then after looking back at me he very discretely held out 2 fingers. I produced another 100 yuan bill and we were in! The security guard turned off all the lights in the tent and motioned us in and pointed towards one of the entrances. Garrett and I walked down the stairs of the birds nest, completely empty, at 4:00 am and got about 2/3 of the way to the field before turning around and getting out of there before we got caught! We bribed a security guard to let us into the Birds Nest… Amazing. We finished watching the sun rise over the grounds and got back on the road.
After a short cab ride we were back at the airport and on our way to Taiwan.