Here I am in Beijing, after a reasonably quick 1.5 hour flight up from Shanghai putting my life on the line with China Eastern Airline (I’m just kidding). The size of the population in Beijing is only marginally less than Shanghai, and just like it, smog fills the air highlighting the air pollution problem so prominent here. It’s almost a feature of the city and I am surprised people here seems to get on with life like it’s not there citing it as ‘fog’ rather than smog.
Beijing is an important cultural and political centre of China. Its long history is almost too overwhelming for me to digest in this short trip. Most of the interesting sights will require some knowledge of China’s history. I won’t go into any of them here. I will only list some of the more interesting aspects of Beijing here:
This is so typical for all tourists to Beijing. How could anyone not try the star dish of Beijing? The style and sequences of preparing the duck is almost as interesting as eating the duck itself:
I found it amusing that my duck even had a serial number! I happen to be eating duck #1678191. Poor duck. Do customers really care that they are eating a serial numbered duck?? Now what do I do with this piece of paper?
Forbidden City & Tiananmen Square
So many emperors came and go during the Ming & Qing dynasties in this imperial palace, including the last emperor of China. Like I said earlier, so much happened here, it’s almost impossible for me go through it all here.
I went through it with the help of an audio guide, which I think is compulsory. Otherwise walking around empty buildings would be rather boring! It’s only about 40 Yuan (~AUD$7), and also acts as a map. It automatically narrates relevant information once you arrive at important parts of the palace.
After the visit, all I can think of is, just why would an entire nation’s people serve and do so much for one person? Regardless, it is an important part of Chinese history, and you will probably get a headache if I start talking about everything that happened here.
The same goes with Tiananmen Square, which sits in front of the Forbidden City:
You can look at this place as the defining moment that ‘freed’ China, or the place where a lot of people died. I am just a tourist, so let’s not get in too deep on this topic.
Wangfujing Street <???>
Feel like having some ‘snacks’? After a long day walking around Beijing’s tourist attractions, this is not a bad place to end your day. Plenty of unique snacks here:
How about a seahorse? Or a live little scorpion? Or perhaps a starfish?
It’s hard to believe locals eat that here. I didn’t try any of that, but I’m sure it’s tasty. Still, I’ll pass… 🙂
Electric City <???>
Zhong Guan Chun Electric City, reminds me of Akihabara of Tokyo, one of the largest electric gadgets town in Asia. It is probably as big, if not bigger than the Tokyo version, with towers and towers of electric goods. You name it, they probably have it.
We are talking towers and towers of electric/computers goods. All have overly-eager salesperson trying to sell you something. I spent more time refusing salesperson than actually looking at any electronic goods! This is probably not that different in Tokyo & Korea.
Perhaps what you won’t see in Tokyo, is this:
Yeap, it’s hilarious that high-tech equipments are still being shipped around on bicycles! I presume that’s because shipping stuff around buildings with human power is still cheaper than using a vehicle? Here’s another example:
We did cover a few other spots which I wont talk about here like Hou Hai Lake ????, Tian Tan Temple ????, and YuanMingYuan Imperial Garden ?????, Xi Dan Shopping Centre ????, and Sanlitun Shopping ?????. Beijing is a full-fledged mix of the very old and ultra-modern. It’s certainly interesting, but frankly I have had enough of breathing smog and almost forgotten what a blue sky look like. A tragic example of modernisation, and I certainly hope will change in the near future. I am ready to move on the more peaceful, and hopefully less polluted town of “Zhang Zia Jie” ?????.
Got to go board another dodgy airplane.. See ya 🙂