Anthony's Interesting Times 2004 travel blog

The main road by my hostel, and a very typical Beijing view,...

View towards my hostel, only for some fluke lacking the usual people...

Hutong back-street in Beijing, except less grey, narrow and crowded than most

And pretty much a normal Beijing driving view, except for lack of...

A corner of the Forbidden Palace Complex

Bridge to White Jade Islet, Beihai Park, Beijing

Coal Hill, Beijing

Nearly three hours on the tarmac while there were various failed attempts to mend the air-conditioning, and it got very hot, even hotter than it is here now. Anyway, a two hour flight and then a nine hour, with a beautiful view of the Gobi Desert, which was this incredible pink colour. And it is suprisingly hot here.

I was impressed at the way all the plane cleaners lined up in rows waiting for us to get off. Seen various lots of people here standing around in rows, or marching; shop assistants, petrol pump attendants, etc. And the few tall ones are coppers. Nice to be somewhere where I am the tall one.

My mandarin is having mixed results, it didn't seem to help much in getting a bus from the airport, though I did get here, so it can't be that bad.

First impressions: In general it feels and looks like Bangkok, but with less sleaze and Western wasters. Huge and flash buildings being built everywhere, like Hong Kong. I have put in a couple of pics just to give a sense of what most of Beijing looks like. There are some old bits, but not many, and probably not for long. China will be world top power within 20 years I think.

Anyway, quite late by the time I had a shower, etc, so I just whipped out to this park next to the Forbidden City, which was very nice, and great late afternoon light.

And a great evening meal too, very hot stir fry, very cheap, yum,yum! Glad I had the chopstick practice before I left though, as not a fork in sight, and it would have meant incredible loss of face to make a complete mess of it, important round here.

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