We have made it back from Beijing and are ready to start another day in Dalian. We are late arriving in port due to tides and winds. Last night was a rough passage, even for me. I had a hard time staying in bed.
Beijing was a great city but it is very modern. With our tour and the number of site we had to see we were unable to get to the backstreets of Beijing. The Forbidden City was much larger than I anticipated and seemed to go on forever.
The Great Wall was great and we spent more time there then we could have ever done on a ship's tour. However, it was cold. Minnesota cold, with a very strong wind and you get one heck of a work out. I have to hand it to our guide, Wen and driver Christine, they did a fantastic job and everything was first class. I do advise anyone going ashore in China to get their passport from the ship. It will make life much easier. Many places WILL NOT accept the photocopy of the passport and visa as proper identification. CONTRARY to Holland America's advice. I did get ours back before we left. It took a lot of talking but I got it. So did a number of other people. This is important for identification and for cashing travelers checks or exchanging money. Hotels and banks require the passport and visa to do either. ATM's are the other alternative. Many people were in a bind who did not have ATM access. The ship has no Chinese currency onboard. gee.
I was the one who did most of the purchasing. I purchased some more jade at a jade factory and a silk bed spread at a silk factory. I bought them because they caught my eye and not because of a "bargain".
One last thing: I do have a complaint that I will be filling out. Holland America has done an extremely poor job in providing information on the ports. The information is always vague and often completely wrong. The worst was telling people on their own that they would have to find transportation to the Xingang port entrance that would be 30 miles from the ship. It was 200 yards away. Our drivers were waiting for us there. There have been numerous other examples including the passport.
Well, it's off to Xingang.