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Beijing

Beijing Travel Blog

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Summer palace

It's my first visit to Beijing in 16 years (1992), and this is the most changed city I've ever encountered.  In 1992, bicycles ruled the roads.  There were many hutong neighborhoods and no tall buildings.  People on the streets wore Mao hats, cotton shoes, and army-style coats.  Today, it could pass for any other Asian city.  Wow.....

My first stop upon my afternoon arrival in Beijing's massive new airport (did you know it is now the largest enclosed building in the world?), is the the Summer Palace.  If you've read my "My Long March" blog, you'll remember that I missed the Palace in '92 because of a bout of dysentery.  In some ways I'm glad, because with my digital camera, I'm now able to take some incredible pictures of this lovely park that I would not have taken then then.

Summer palace
  Of course, I have to battle the modern Chinese tourist (and today the weekend) crowds, but it's all worth it, even if I'm disappointed that the new subway lines to the park are not completed yet.  (haggling with the taxi drivers in Chinese only convinced a minority of them that I'm not their average tourist). 

Afterwards, as the sun starts to set, I'm keen to see the new Olympic buildings, so off I go, only to be thwarted by the fact that the Special Olympics are currently underway and I'm not even allowed onto the premises without a venue ticket.  Oh well.  I (and not a few other Chinese tourists) click some photos of the Bird's nest and the Water Cube from across the nearest highway.  I only have time that evening to see the new CCTV building before I head to the West Train Station for my overnight train to Datong.  On the bus, I have a pleasant conversation with a young Chinese student using my rusty Chinese.  It seems nowadays, being a Gweilau and speaking Chinese is really no big deal.  Back then, I would command upwards of 40 staring onlookers! Today, I get only a grudging compliment. 

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Summer palace
Summer palace
Summer palace
Summer palace
Summer palace
Summer palace
Summer palace
Summer palace
Summer palace
Summer palace
Summer palace
Summer palace
Summer palace
Summer palace
Summer palace
Summer palace
Summer palace
Summer palace
Summer palace
Summer palace
Summer palace
Summer palace
Summer palace
Summer palace
Summer palace
Summer palace
Olympic park
Olympic park
Birds Nest
Bird's Nest
Water cube
Water cube
water cube
water cube
CCTV building (nearing completion)
CCTV building (nearing completion)
1,455 km (904 miles) traveled
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photo by: Deats