Published: July 19th 2011July 19th 2011
More crazy food
More crazy food
Beijing – Did someone spike my drinks!!!
After touching down at Beijing Airport everything seemed quite normal and it was so easy to find the right train, go straight from the train to the subway and get off at my stop. But from this point forward nothing else was “normal.” I don’t know where to begin when trying to describe this place, it’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced before which is great because after all that’s why I’m travelling. The vast number of people, the pace of everything, the heat, the pollution, the non stop spitting, the lack of any English and the neon signs can be over whelming to say the least.
So far I’ve been ill, had numerous headaches and walked miles just to get from one place to the next but still I’m having an amazing time here, it’s impossible not to because its sensory overload the whole time. It’s only when you finally stop for the day that you can actually sit back in the comfort of your room and reflect of the events of the past 12 hours.
I’ve been here for 5 days now and visited so many places, I will quickly
I can't find my bike??
This went of for miles
list them all and touch on the highlights. In no particular order I’ve been to the Summer Palace, The Temple of Heaven, The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, The National Museum, The Silk Market, The Olympic Stadium, The Cube and Yuanningyuan Park. Each and every sight has been incredible, I’ve been gob smacked by the physical size of everything. In Seoul you could visit two or three places a day but here if you get to spend enough time at one place in a day you’re doing well. At the silk market I have pretty much replaced all my clothes for a grand total of about £60, clearly they are all genuine Paul Smith, North Face and Ralph Lauren items, who am I to question such things at £3.50 per polo shirt??? The Forbidden city should be change to the Forbidden World or Kingdom, It's probably bigger than Norwich...... as for the parks well they are more like villages than parks, you could easily walk around for 10 hours and not make it round in a complete loop.
It’s clear to see I have made a couple of school boy errors in the planning (or lack of planning) of my
The Birds Nest - By night
The Birds Nest - By night
trip. It’s holiday season for the locals here and trust me they all holiday at once and it seems everyone’s in Beijing. I’ve pretty much had physical fights to get on and off the trains and it’s just like a swam of ants everywhere you go. I’ve now resorted to walking around with my ipod on just to drown out the noise because it’s too much and if I hear one more person say Her-roh Mr, I could end up lashing out (Charles Greaves, you would be in your element here you could perfect that Chinese impersonation of yours on thousands of locals, they seem to love talking to us all that’s for sure, but the thought of you having a conversation with them has raised a smile a few times I have to say.)
Putting all the slightly irritating negative points to one side for a while, it is an incredible city, there aren’t many westerner’s here again and many of the locals just want to come and say hi and have their photo taken with you, which you duly oblige for the first 20 people, after that you kind of get bored and just walk on. The
size and scale of the city is mind blowing, everything is just insanely big but yet it’s still packed with tourist everywhere which just tells you how many people are here. Transport is so cheap, it 20p for any single tube ride and some of them can be up to 1 hour, a bus ride is 10p, evening meals range from about £1 to £4 with beers at about £1. I have just booked my next hostel in Xian which is costing me £2.56 per night, it’s stupidly cheap out here. The only down side to this is that there are no seats or beds on the trains that I want for the next few weeks due to the current influx of locals. I’ve therefore had to break one of my travelling rules about not using flights where possible. I’m having to take internal flights for my next two destinations because there is simply no other choice, well apart from a 40 hour bus journey and that isn’t happening when I can fly there in 1 hour. I’ve also cocked up my visa and spent 2 hours in a queue today at the visa control office trying to sort it
Inside the Forbidden City
A less crowded section....
out, but sadly they will not do anything about it. I foolish thought I could go into Hong Kong and come back into Mainland China with the same Visa, oh no! Once I’m in HK the visa is cancelled and I have to apply for another one, there’s an expensive mistake to learn from!
The food here is very interesting, sadly because of an upset stomach for the first few days I’ve only looked at the food and not tasted it, my stomach has settled down again now so I may try a couple of things before I move on. The offerings range from donkey’s meat, scorpions, toads, ducks neck, chicken heart, tarantula, chickens feet, cockroach, centipede and silk worms. Let me know what you think I should try and I will go with the most requests!!! Oh god what have I let myself in for.
Life in Beijing is very different to Seoul and a million miles different from back home, it’s been very interesting to see the way in which the people live and how the city operates, although I have to say I’m ready for a slightly quieter place as my next stop and I’m
very confident it will be.
Time to head out and find something to eat before I get an early night, because tomorrow I’m joining some locals for a bit of early morning Tai-chi in the park, this could be interesting!
There are more photos below