First impressions...

Beijing Travel Blog

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The view from our room at the Dongfang Hotel.

It is late in the afternoon when my husband Rens and I land in Beijing. The flight took only nine hours, but since we are still on ‘Amsterdam-time’, it feels as if it’s the middle of the night. With a blank face and a blurred mind first impressions of China enter my brain. At the airfield, passing customs with numerous forms that all the ask the same shows that the Chinese love bureaucracy. And uniforms, nearly every employee at the airport wears a different variation of a kaki outfit with impressive accessories that remind of army uniforms, even the garbage men.

A bus takes us and our twelve new travel companions (we travel with the Dutch travel organization Koning Aap) to the Dongfang Hotel.

The busy streets of Beijing.
The hotel looks comfortable and luxurious and while I leave the lobby and follow Rens to our assigned room I reckon China must be dirt-cheap, since this trip wasn’t expensive at all.

I’m exited when I look from the window of our posh hotel room, it views a hutong and it’s proof we’re actually in China! So far the airport and the hotel could have been anywhere, it’s the old fashioned allies with small wooden houses without running water outside our window that tell us we’re on the other side of the world.

From our hotel we walk in the direction of Tiananman square. This leads us through the grubby hutong where locals sit and chat in front of their houses. We end up in a busy shopping street that is lined with food stalls that sell fruit and all sorts of pikes with meat and tofu.

Tiananman square in the early evening.
The shops mostly offer beautiful Asian-looking clothes and T-shirts.

Many Chinese people are shopping, they stroll slowly in front of my feet and loudly yell their gibberish at each other. More and more shopkeepers boost their products with either a earsplitting microphone or piercing megaphone. The crowds are tiresome, the deafening noises drive me crazy.

When we finally reach the Tiananman square it’s like we’re finally able to breath (that is, once we are able to cross the street without being run over). All of a sudden there is more room to walk around and we silently absorb the atmosphere of the huge open area where a couple of families play with kites. At the far end of the square, we see the enormous portrait of Mao that hangs over the entrance of the Forbidden City. It’s closed now, but I can’t wait to go there tomorrow.

We return to the hotel and go to bed. Our first encounter with China has been exhausting…

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The view from our room at the Dong…
The view from our room at the Don…
The busy streets of Beijing.
The busy streets of Beijing.
Tiananman square in the early even…
Tiananman square in the early eve…
The busy streets of Beijing.
The busy streets of Beijing.
Kites at Tiananman square.
Kites at Tiananman square.
Beijing Hotels & Accommodations review
Posh on a budget
The Dongfang Hotel in Beijing has been around since 1918, it was the first hotel to have telephones in every room. Although the building structure and… read entire review
photo by: Eric