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Day 8 – The Empress Has a Cold
Woke up and packed our stuff then dropped it downstairs and settled the bill. Forgot to eat breakfast and then went out into what was a pretty sunny and nice day. This day was also the beginning of Arlie’s sore throat and snotty nose.

Jumped into a taxi and went over to the Forbidden City. Walked along a wall and into a giant square (which we later found out was Tianament Square, duh). Bought some tickets into the palace and entered.

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forbidden city

This was with about 45 minutes before the Forbidden City was due to close. Everything we had read said that it should take about 2-3 hours to walk through. Arlie and I figured that since we were the power sightsee’ers that we could jam through pretty quickly.

We rented our audio tour with Roger Moore and were off.

The forbidden city was really amazing. Beautiful architecture and so big that it is astounding. After watching the Last Emperor the night before it also added a little sense of reality to the place, although, you can’t even begin to absorb how it might have been to have lived in such a place during any time period.

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the last empress

We made it through in time. Whooohoo! Then on the other side realised that we forgot Tianamen square and were told that we had to go all the way to the other side. So we hopped on a rickshaw with a really nice man who cycled us all the way across again for 30 yuan. These guys work so hard.

Got to the other side and realised that we had already actually been there. Dumb and Dumber.

Jumped in a taxi and went to the Silk Market with about 45 minutes to spare before we had to get on our overnight train back to Shanghai. Did some bargaining, spent all of our money and then realised that we hadn’t eaten all day. Arlie was about to die and ran out and got some McD’s. Yes, we ate McD’s in China. I have finally come clean about it. And it was good.

Got the train and took off to Shanghai. By this time, Arlie was really sick and coughing and sneezing all over the place. Yipee!

Day 9 – Arlie Loses a Foot, but Gains Asiatic Bird Flu
This day wouldn’t even be worth mentioning since our only objective was to get from the train station in Shanghai to the airport. However, when we got off the train and went to get a taxi, we were attacked by some crazy gypsy Chinese taxi controlling mafia. Seriously. 7 AM we step off the train and pay some porters to carry our bags to the taxi. Once we step foot outside the trainstation gates some lady comes up and starts to drag our bags off while saying taxi taxi.

We get to the taxi and about 5 of them start grabbing our stuff from the porter and throwing into the taxi. OK. So then we hop in and start driving slowly away when we hear the trunk pop and we see them grabbing our bags out of the trunk and running off. Arlie and I start freaking out and yelling at the taxi driver to stop. Arlie opens the door to jump out, but the taxi driver still isn’t stopping. I look up to see the taxi driver pulling around the corner near a bus and yell to Arlie to close the door, but she doesn’t hear in all the commotion. The door hits the bus and closes on Arlie’s foot and ankle. Not too nice. Arlie jumps out and I’m yelling to her to run and grab the bags while I watch the stuff in the car.

The gypsies throw her bag into the trunk of another taxi. Then they start pulling the rest of our shit out of the car. I am yelling at them to fuck off and get away from us, Arlie is yelling… and then we are shoved into the other taxi. The taxi driver hands them some money and then everything is calm.

WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT? We were completely shocked. Thankfully Arlie didn’t lose her foot despite her bruises and thankfully we didn’t lose our bags. But it was all too much and too weird and not a nice way to end our journey.

Made it to the airport alive and then after a 5 hour wait got onto our 12 hour flight home. Arlie was sick and sneezing and snotting the entire trip with her asiatic bird flu. Now I am getting it too. So if you complain that we didn’t bring anything back from China – then think again!

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