Jim, Lisa and the World
A trip of global proportions
About Us (2)
Costa Rica (2)
New Zealand (11)
* The Trans-Siberian
* It really is a Great Wall
* An Outside in View of Beijing
* Jim's birthday in Shanghai
* Hanoi and Halong Bay
* The Tailors of Hoi An
* The heat in Southern Vietnam
* The Mekong Delta
* Our passage into Vietnam
* The Temples of Angkor
* Eastern Cambodia by motorcycle...and elephant
* The Killing Fields
* Kings Cross Car Market
* The Red Center
* Cruising and Noodling
* The Great Ocean Road
* Melbourne part II
* Up the Coast
* Capital Good Times
July 16, 2005
An Outside in View of Beijing
Beijing: The undisputed center of the Chinese world. A city with as much history, complexity and appetite for change as China itself.
We were on the outside - quite literally.
While Beijing may not be China's largest city in terms of population it certainly makes up for it by being spread out. The city is laid out in a series of concentric "ring roads" that circle the city a few kilometers apart. An expat we met said there are now at least 12 of these roads. The hostel we had booked in advance turned out to be on one of these outer ring roads.
Ever positive about our lot we decided that this meant we got to have the experience of taking the local transport - mainly buses and a basic subway system. We set out that first morning and packed onto a bus - literally packed onto it - if you ever doubt those figures about China's vast population then take public transport there, that's where they all are! Then we squuezed into a subway train. Almost two hours later we were in the heart of Beijing, and indeed China: Tianamen Square.
Emerging into the heat and haze of Tianamen Square the first thing that strikes you is its immensity - the plaza alone is over 3km long. The buildings themsleves are huge as well, with the "Hall of the People" covering about half the length of the plaza. All told the square is home to several important buildings all stamped with the tell-tale soviet architecture of square columns and concrete.
Suddenly two young chinese children were running towards us:
"Because you are so cool we want to have our picture with you"
And so it came to pass that I posed with these two enthusiastic kids for a photo. Lisa apparently was only cool enough to take the picture - a fact that she took gracefully.
We spent another day in Beijing exploring the Forbidden city - so called because as the Emperor's Palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties it was completely off limits to the general public. One noticeable fact about the Forbidden City today - especially if you visit on a weekend like we did - it is definetly not forbidden anymore.
We had to fight the hordes to get views of the amazing architecture and ornate rooms here. Despite that, and the fact that much of the palace is being renovated in anticipation of the 2008 summer olympics to be helfd in Beijing, we enjoyed a few hours perusing the sites. Our time here was made easier because we got self-guided audio tours (in english!) and were able to be pleasantly detatched from those around us.
Posted by Jim & Lisa on July 16, 2005 02:45 AM
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