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Not what i expected!

Beijing Travel Blog

 › entry 43 of 658 › view all entries

People i met here, who contributed to and improved my trip: Juliana (Russia), Ed (England), Harry (England)

We arrived into Beijing at 4.30am and the first task was to find the hostel. Unfortunately the bus had terminated in what looked to be a market, which was not on our map. With surprisingly no taxis in sight, we hopped on to a motorised rickshaw with our huge bags. Julia's bag ended up on the roof, been held there by a flimsy wire and mainly Julia's hand from the side of the vehicle! We were dropped around Tiannamen Square and it took us nearly an hour to find our hostel in amongst all the back streets. It was however a great opportunity to see Beijing waking up and people preparing their stalls for work.

We dumped our bags at Leo Hostel and after a quick breakfast, headed off to see the sights. Unfortunately the smog (which i originally thought was fog) was extremely thick and the views of the Front Gate and then across Tiannamen Square were not as impressive as they would prove to be later in the week. We firstly took a walk through Mao Zadong's mausoleum to glimpse at his body, draped with a Russian flag, which was quite a surreal experience, before heading up through the Gate of Heavenly Peace (with Mao's picture hanging above the entrance) to the Forbidden City. We toured the site in an anti clockwise direction and after the first half an hour i was a little disappointed by what i had seen. The main central buildings were all under scaffolding and the smaller buildings had little of interest to me.

However, this soon changed as on the opposite side, the complex was split into many smaller, interesting courtyards and museums. We spent around 3 hours in this section, getting lost on several occasions.

The afternoon was spent taking in the Ming City Wall Ruins and walking through the streets of the city, with no general purpose. I was shocked how clean (except the smog) the city was, how friendly the people were and how quickly i was falling in love with the country. That night, we walked the narrow streest where we were living, before we caught up with Ed and Harry for a couple of drinks in the hostel bar. All this left us shattered and taking a well deserved sleep around 23.00!

Deats says:
We luckily got a couple of good days last week when we were back, it makes such a difference to see it without the smog :)
Posted on: May 04, 2008
mfmcp1982 says:
That's such a shame the smog was so thick - we didn't have anything like that in the heat of the summer. It's quite a city though - and I can totally sympathise with you trying to find a hostel - the hutongs are crazy!
Posted on: May 03, 2008
Deats says:
Whats not to love :)
Posted on: Apr 14, 2007
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Beijing
photo by: Deats