Ali and the girls with Lisa, Howard's driver.
After a lazy morning around the flat we were treated to Howard's driver, Lisa, to take us on a few errands, involving visits to China Eastern airline office and Beijing railway station again. This time we were refunding our rail tickets and are now returning to Simao the day after tomorrow. Complex decision-making processes - don't ask!

Although initially reluctant to be driven around the city we soon appreciated the advantages - an air conditioned, comfortable, effortless, door-to-door service in a hot, bustling city. We did relieve Lisa of her services, nevertheless, ahead of schedule. She dropped us at a small stretch of restored Ming Dynasty city wall, where we viewed a small exhibition of paintings, sculpture and photograhps of historic Beijing. 

Lesley and the girls on the city wall
This small section of the wall, about 15m high was restored in 2002 and runs for about 2km. Along the side of the wall is a small park with soft, lush green grass, unlike anything we get in South Yunnan. After visiting the wall and museum we wandered back through the park to pick up the Metro back to Wangfujing, where we met Noreen and a fellow hosteller, Steinove.

EAF with Noreen and Stein.
As we left the Metro the heavens opened and the rest of the evening was spent sheltering from rain. The thunder and lightening were spectacular, the worst passing as we ate noodles in an indoor food market off Wangfujing road. The Lonely Planet describes this area as, "a bright and cheery corner of restaurants and stalls overhung with colourful banners and bursting with character and flavour, fronted by an ornate archway." The archway was there, but the ambience was somewhat lacking. Probably better on a DRY summer evening.

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