Beanies and Bikinis -Summer on the Trans-Mongolian Railway travel blog

Incredible fog (smog?) at Beijing airport

Sounds delicious!

Dongsi area

Morning market

No idea about this one!

Dongsi subway

I stumbled across a photo shoot in progress

Despite getting off to a shaky start Air China came through with the goods and I was reunited with my bag later that same afternoon. With half a day left still to fill before Boris arrived I spent some time walking around the Dongsi area near the hostel I'm staying at.

I had expected a little more chaos here but for a city of over 23 million (and counting) it's pretty organized. It's like taking the whole population of Australia, putting them in one city and expecting it to work...but surprisingly it seems to. The subway system is a really quick and efficient way of getting around, 2 yuan for any destination flat rate. City rail take note!

I'm loving the supermarkets. Not that I want to buy anything but the variety is astonishing! There is one whole aisle dedicated to the subtleties of soy sauce alone. And that's not even getting into the chicken feet vacuum sealed in snack packs for eating on the run, powdered tea and milk combos (just add water!) or the mysterious black rubber looking slabs that seem highly popular.

The Beijing Olympics seem to have done much in the way of improving the international feel of Beijing, by all accounts, and I'm definitely reaping the benefits of English street signs and subway station names. I haven't encountered anyone yet who actually SPEAKS English though, so communication is a lively sport of gestures, grunts and head nods.

The pollutions is appalling, and I thought Bangkok was bad! There isn't any sky to be seen and there is such a haze over the city that you generally can't see more than a couple of hundred meters. I think there has been a lot of fog too since I got here but I'm not sure where that ends and the smog begins.

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