Wednesday, May 03, 2006

pain in the ass

we visited Kangxi grasslands north of the Badaling Greatwall. this is the nearest piece of steppes to Beijing. many Beijingers head out to this place in the summer for horse riding and BBQs.
on the whole we found the place quite disappointing, mainly due to the poor conditions of the horses. cheapest "grade" cost about RMB100 (about S$20) per hour and then RMB200, and RMB300 for "better" horses. we rode before at a "proper" riding school, where the horses were better cared for and the sessions there costs RMB180.
the landscape was quite disappointing as well since the grasses have not grown much yet. We will also pissed off by the persistent hustling by the "guides". they keep pestering us to "upgrade" the horses and for tips. we would have tipped them if they were pleasant and helpful rather than behaving like they were trying to sell snake oil!
here, everyone looked happy to return to the stables. for some reason, the guides keep urging us to gallop the horses. but the horses are like mangy nags that did not respond to controls. the horses only perked up on the return leg since they knew that they were heading back. we had to rein back since the horses were ready to sprint back!
group photo. we went there with Pat & Winnie, Boon Peng & Joyce & Jovien and Boon Peng's parentswe stopped for lunch at a local restaurant near Longqingxia tourist attraction. the restaurant served typical peasant food. we enjoyed the delicious omelette made from their backyard-fresh eggs. the grilled trout was tasty too! the waitress told me that they have "wild chickens" and offered to show me. As I expected it was the Chinese pheasant.
there was even rabbit stew on the menu! poor bunnies! I declined the offer of wild game. at the back of my mind, all I could think of are "bird flu" and SARS!


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