Last day in Beijing

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May 23rd 2010
Published: May 26th 2010EDIT THIS ENTRY

my last day in Beijing. I started the day with the antiques / flea market in the South-East

of the city. They sell anything and everything ("a chap can unload, is sold off the

barrel...") much of it kitch and faux-antiques. It was fun to browse but I didn't ever

think seriously about buying the apparently priceless antique plate and then carting it

round the rest of China with me.

My friend and I stopped off for Korean barbeque for lunch - a hillarious adventure trying to

translate everything into English / Mandarin, mostly with the help of a poor customer who

spoke the best English in the restaurant and was, to my chagrin, constantly interrupted by

the waiters when they didn't understand our pidgeon-Chinese / simple English.

Feeling very full after that feast, we made our way to the Bird's Nest to work it off. The

Olympic Stadium was, well, cool. It was entirely functional - and obviously cleverly built

for optimal crowd control - but did clever things with the space. Nothing seemed to be

frivolous, but it all fit together neatly and was, all in all, impressive. Giant screens at

each end of the stadium showed replays from the Games and there were various acts to amuse

the tourists - including an amazing tightrope walker, who did quite frightening things and

all without any form of safety net.

All that remained was to get some caffeine into my poor system, grab a quick bite to eat and

then catch a taxi to the station to catch the train to my next stop, Xi'an. It turns out

that if you want to see China in all its populous-ness (it's a word because I say it is)

then go to a train station. The waiting rooms are packed (you are advised to turn up at

least 1 hour before departure) and yet somehow the wonderful people at China Rail still

manage to get everyone on the train.

For this journey, I was in soft sleeper (which won't be the norm for me) and so was put up

on the top bunk in a 2 bunk cabin with 3 Chinese people - a couple and a young man who, I

decided, was unrelated
Antiques Market - BooksAntiques Market - BooksAntiques Market - Books

Book stall - eat your heart out, M.
to the couple. They were lovely and very helpful to the poor

foreigner, but sadly conversation wasn't possible because of my limited Mandarin.

It was a comfortable journey all in all, and I awoke to a new day and a new town.

Additional photos below
Photos: 22, Displayed: 22


Bird's Nest - EntertainmentBird's Nest - Entertainment
Bird's Nest - Entertainment

Some of the dancing was better than others.
Bird's Nest - Dragon buildingBird's Nest - Dragon building
Bird's Nest - Dragon building

Head to left, other blocks are its bumps/ tail (think Nessie)

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