Monday, January 21, 2008

The Wall

It snowed this morning. Lovely light powder that coated everything but was easily brushed away; it was pretty from our 15th floor hotel room. According to our "tour guide" for the day though, the snow created a problem. We wanted to go to the slightly further out section of Mutianyu, with a cable car up and a potentially chilly luge descent but instead were rerouted to the closer Badaling section with its myriad of visitors, hazy skies and bazillion steps just to get to the first little tower. The kids made it up well before me, I stopped about every 20 steps. More on the Wall later, but I do need to get in a small rant about the "tour." We wanted to go to the Wall and I figured we'd be back in time for lunch. Silly me. We stopped at the Cloisonne "factory" showroom. Interesting, we bought something. We stopped at a jade "showroom" that was obviously opened up just for us and we didn't buy anything even though we had every showroom girl trying to get the kids to ask for things, up to the $100 jade earrings for Katherine. Attached to the jade place was a restaurant. A freezing, empty restaurant that we were apparently supposed to eat at. No one told us that part and I wasn't pleased. We said we wanted to go back to the hotel instead and that met with stuttering and general disbelief. Had to go find the driver somewhere (guess he was having lunch), and the ride back was pretty quiet between suggestions of taking us to other restaurants (no thanks), a tea house (none of us care for Chinese tea that much), etc. Arg.

Back at the hotel, we'd been upgraded to the Executive Floor when we checked in. So we checked out the Executive Lounge and were summarily told we weren't allowed there. We'd been -upgraded-, so we didn't count. I tell you, between the fact that the kids' room is still freezing and now this... Arg.

Anyway. I'm ready to start packing up our bags to get out of here in the morning. I rather wish we could just head to Chennai instead of KL. I'm done with "vacation," this is more like work. I'm tired, I'm cold and I wanna go home.

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