Live from Beijing, China

Beijing Travel Blog

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After catching the 5 hour, 1 am bus to Incheon Airport early Wednesday morning, I arrived promptly at 6 and found my friends a solid 12 minutes later. After catching up for a bit (or an hour or two), we began making our way through various lines before getting close to our gate in the terminal. Here, with 10 minutes to go before boarding time, we decided to hit up Subway before hopping on the plane. 25 minutes later, and 15 minutes after we were supposed to be boarding, we're still in line. I had bailed on getting a sandwich because I figured we weren't going to be able to get them, but Ashley and Jackie had already paid so  Jackie and I waited in line while Ashley and Lena ran to the gate.

With only 3 people left in front of us wating to get their sandwiches, we got the call that the line was diminishing and we'd better get there. With heavy hearts and empty stomachs, we ran. Ran through the airport, ran towards Beijing, ran with the realization that when faced with the choice of a delicious Subway sandwich or a 5 day trip to China, we would still choose China! We made it. And now, here we are.

 In Beijing and kicking off the year of the Rat in style (and of course, I was born in the Year of the Rat (1984) so this is my year! And with my birthday being two days ago....haha, very lucky for me...). Yesterday, we hit up Tian'amen Square and the Forbidden City (well, we made it through the first two gates but not the final gate into the City.

..ahh, so, we arrived after it closed...) before jaunting around the city watching all the fireworks for a couple of more hours. Not being able to withstand more than 40 hours of sleeplessness, I hit the sack at 11 only to be woken up again at 12am sharp by the fireworks extravaganza going on outside my window. Pretty exciting.

I must say, Beijing is not really anything like I expected and I am very impressed by this place. Coming from Seoul, where the entire city sprawls on for miles and seems to grow vertically as much as it does horizontally, Beijing is a real fresh of breath air. And quite literally, too. This city seems so clean and new and organized. I can't get over it. I was expecting apartment buildings stretching to the horizon and store after store packed one on top of each other (like Seoul), but this place has tons of open spaces, huge roads, and well planned-buildings and street blocks.

There is also a sense that everything is new and polished up. I have seen virtually no trash or anything along the roads and the public transportation seems to be working very well. Most of the buses are rigged up to eletric lines (like trams) and the subway system seems to be getting its final touches as well. The sky is blue and the air seems much cleaner than Seoul (I'm sure this could be debunked or at least debated, but it  seeeeems cleaner).

In any case, I haven't exactly explored the city in full, so these attributes might just extend throughout the center, but not the outerlying places. In any case, I really like it here and am looking forward to seeing more. Today we're planning on hitting up the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace, before tackling a 6.5 mile hike on the Great Wall tomorrow (followed closely by a full body massage). Throw in some Peking duck and some acrobatic shows, and it should make for a good time. That's all from Beijing. Until next time.

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photo by: Eric