We arrived in Beijing at three, and immediately set out, with our bags, to find a place to stay. The city is absurdly big, and accomodations are scattered all over. What’s a backpacker to do? Get really tired.
After asking at I think just one place recommended in the Lonely Planet (300 yuan for their cheapest room!), we headed to the area I’d visited before that I knew has some cheap accomodations. They were full–almost. We managed to get a room for that first night, but we were turned out to the streets the next day.
We spent a couple hours at an Internet cafe searching for information on other hostels, couch surfing opportunities, and the Great Wall–the next day’s destination. We had very little luck on all counts. It was a rough day all around, really, and Beijing is so big (I know I’m being repetative) that it takes a long time to get anywhere. Stumbling back from the train station in defeat (no luck getting tickets to a section of the Wall), we stopped at the Drum Tower Hostel. Cheap rooms, and they helped us with info for the Great Wall. The TV in the room wasn’t working, so we missed most of Holland beating Brazil because we were too busy repacking the bags so we could carry only water, food, and sleeping bags to the Wall.