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Leaving Beijing

Beijing, China

I really liked Beijing, once you figure out the subway it's not as big as it seems and there are a few amazing places to go. The trouble is that anything ancient or traditional suffers from a swarm of tourists and while high walls attempt to block out the intrusion of industry, the rapidly developing city is difficult to escape.

Waiting in traffic today we had the pleasure of witnessing our driver clear his throat loudly and proceed to open the door, spit, close the door and drive on casually. This is something I am becoming used to now - to be fair they probably think my use of handkerchief is nasty. They'd probably be right.

We have been a bit unlucky with timing which meant that a lot of temples have been closed. I don't really care. The Summer Palace is still by far the most beautiful part of Beijing that we discovered. The huge lake is busy with boats and is surrounded by various temples, halls and palaces which are well worth a look. The gardens are pretty extensive and you may even be lucky enough to stumble onto silence. We found ourselves watching an old man doing tai chi and it was one of the best Beijing moments so far.

We didn't do well with the Bejing nightlife but we did attempt a big night out (on a Monday - bad idea) with a Malaysiuan guy we met at the hostel. He looked about 15 but was actually 30 and went by the wonderfully alliterative name of Tony Ting. We had been joking in the hostel bar that a large Canadian girl who was celebrating her birthday might like to "smash" Tony. In the taxi on the way out, Tony dropped one of the best quotes so far:

"If tonight go well, you will smash!"

You probably had to be there but I was actually crying.

permalink written by  steve_stamp on April 9, 2009 from Beijing, China
from the travel blog: The art of being lost
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