The weekend after Xi’an, I went to Beijing with a friend of mine named Ben Franklin (Yes, that is his real name) from Wales. Ben teaches in Shijiazhuang and He and I really hit it off at the bar one night and have since been great friends. We took the bullet train from Shijiazhuang to Beijing, reaching speeds of up to 305 km/h, and arrived in Beijing around 3 o’clock Friday afternoon. Upon arrival we took the subway to our hostel, Spring Time Hostel. The hostel was very nice, and for approximately 60 RMB a night it was a steal. After checking in we proceeded to wander around the city for roughly 5 hours, seeing the outside of everything from the Forbidden City to a street market that sold insects and snakes on a stick (EWWWWW). The next day we originally planned on going to the great wall with two people we had met that morning (Luke from Kansas City and Karen from Brussels, Belgium), but the train we wished to take was sold out. We opted to do the wall sunday and decided to do the zoo and it was awful. Honestly the worst zoo I have ever been to in my entire life. Even seeing the pandas was disappointing, but at least I got to see pandas in china. After that we walked around Tian’namen square and got to see the flag being taken down. We then went to the Olympic stadium, which is magnificent at night. After the stadium we decided to head back to the hostel and have a shower and try to watch the Merseyside Derby (Everton vs. Liverpool). We caught the hostel on a good night because the bartender named Lisa was feeling nice and gave us a 2 for 1 discount on a local beer. We had a great night talking and watching soccer. That night we picked up another friend named Miki from Madrid. Great guy and he ended up going to the wall with us. We went to the wall sunday morning and had a spectacular time. Climbing the wall is no small feat mind you, it is quite treacherous. That night we ended up being late for our train and missed it. Luckily we got tickets on the next train free of charge. All in all it was an outstanding weekend and made me want to travel even more!!