First of all – I’m doing well and I am not in China at the moment. I left China a couple of days after the news about a new and contagious virus was…
While everything is on hold and in the grip of the coronavirus (not only) in China, I don’t want to miss out on sharing some travelling I did, before things went crazy. After…
Ready to get back to the mainland I stepped onto a super fancy high speed train that would bring me to Guangzhou within not even an hour and with an average speed of 300 km/h. The landscape outside looks like I recall it: little fields of whatever crops, banana plantations, garbage piles along the tracks, run down houses, factories and skyscrapers in the distance, huge bridges, broad highways and over it all hoovers that very visual heavy subtropical hazy air.
The moment I entered the arrivals hall at Hong Kong airport I could feel the difference. I entered not just a different world, but a different system. Everything suddenly seemed to be more colorful, more vibrant; people looked more individual, representing a different life style by behaving more individually. The speed of the city is a faster one, even the walking patterns differ a lot from what I am used to in Beijing. The crowds are more heterogenous, people from many different places. Mandarin, English, Cantonese, Dutch, German – many languages can be heard in the shadows of those sky rising towers.
The longer I live in Beijing, the more I see and hear and feel how this country works. The – I call it – outer world barely has an idea about China. It is way more than that picture that is drawn by the media in wherever country you are at. I am not saying that this is wrong, I am saying that you have to add many more shades to it. However, by living here you start to question common ideas everybody takes for granted without questioning them. But shouldn’t we sometimes question them? Maybe not necessarily in order to abandon them, but to make them better, adjust them.
Living in Beijing is not just sight seeing, unicorns and good food: After waking up in the morning first thing I do is making myself a coffee. As I love reading about what is going on in the world while I enjoy my coffee I usually check the news. To get a full on idea what’s going on I need to peak though the Great Wall of China that is not always easy.
Beijing is such an interesting city! It is surprisingly green, full of places to explore and marvel on, full of culture and history. I love exploring places and I love it even more when I can share that with the person I love.
Yeah, you know it – we love hiking! Wherever we are we try to get some miles in. However, to hike in China is quite a challenge. Even though China boast spectacular landscapes such as impressive mountains, deep gorges, vast deserts, green hills and deep forests, hiking is not (yet) the thing to do.
After having walked though the entirety of Forbidden City and up Jingshan (that we started to call ‘debris pile’ as it is all the dirt from when the moat surrounding the city was digged up) we just kept on walking … towards the Bell and Drum Towers that are on a symmetrical axis with Tian’anmen and Forbidden City.
On one of those long subway rides to the center of Beijing, John noticed, that the Forbidden City is actually a tiny icon on the subway map. And it is the only icon – no other sights are indicated on that rather technical map that helps to ease the chaos of how to get from one unpronounceable station to another one. The Forbidden City is literally the center of Beijing, the heart of the city, probably the heart of the nation.