Great Wall Birding

Allmänt / 2015-02-17 / 12:21:43
I've managed to catch a bad cold and spent the last two days in bed, drinking tea and feeling sorry for myself. This meant Ed had to do some touristing on his own if he wanted to see everything on his list before going home on friday. I have no rush with these things since I will be staying here for at least another week after he's gone and I'm also coming back to Beijing with my dad in a months time.
This morning I felt a bit better so we took the bus to Badaling, one of the tourist places along the Great Wall. Badaling is often referred to as a tourist-trap, but if you just ignore all the people trying to sell you shit you don't need and just focus on the scenery, it's truly AWESOME! 

We were pleasantly surprised by the surrounding area, I had not expected the slopes to be covered with trees nor that I would see 4 new bird species while walking along the wall. We found one Siberian Accentor (Prunella montanella), plenty of Chinese Hill Warblers (Rhopophilus pekinesis) and Plain Laughingthrushes (Garrulax davidi), and the highlight of the day - a Godlewski's Bunting (Emberiza godlewskii). We also caught a glimpse of a large falcon far away, it disappeared behind one of the hilltops before we managed to get a good enough look at it, but Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) is a safe bet.

Instead of paying a lot of money for a tour to take us to the wall and most likely get taken to a teahouse or some other place to spend money along the way, we decided to try to get there on our own using public transportation. It worked out unexpectedly well and instead of spending 300 yuan and having to stick to the schedule of a tour, we payed 67 yuan each (subway, bus and Great Wall ticket) and managed to avoid most of the other tourists (Chinese people and their selfie-sticks... Jesus..) and be back home before 15:00. It was a really good day! :)

China is full of funny signs, often with English nonsense on them. It's a bit embarrassing that they haven't bothered to ask an English speaking person before filling the streets and subways with faulty signs!
The citizens of Beijing are no better, wherever I go I see people with sweaters or bags printed with complete gibberish, often just random letters put together. I guess it's a bit like westerners getting tattoos with Chinese letters, thinking that they have some cute love statement on their arm but really it just says blue fat horse.

At Badaling I found this cool store! I hadn't really expected to be able to buy äkta kaffe in China, nor Fjällräven and Haglöfs clothing - though I have a feeling these weren't authentic. Kind of when I bought a bottle of juice in Mexico which had 1kr pant (recycling pawn) on it.

Tomorrow is the start of the Spring Festival and we are not really sure what to expect, except for unbearable amounts of fireworks and a lot of closed stores. Even the Starbucks that I've found close to where we live will be closed for three days!
Our plan for tomorrow is to go to the Olympic Forest Park early in the morning to do some birding and then see what happens! 

2015-02-19 / 20:09:31

Måste ha varit riktigt coolt att få se muren... och en äkta svensk kaffebutik!! ;)

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