Running around with Charissa

Map of Subway in Beijing~ If you’re in the city, it’s a convenient way to get around.
      Beijing subway map

Running around with Charissa, my sis. I picked her up at the airport yesterday and already we are having a ton of fun running around the city.

Last night we had some amazing grilled lamb that was done right in front of us at our table. Similar to the korean style of cooking, we had a myriad of different lamb cooked at our table by an assistant. The grill got replace after every course of lamb, of which there were five, and we walked out paying a whopping bill of $15 USD. This meal would probably be around $50 in the states.

We went to bed early and woke up early, right around 530 this morning, ready to tour the city. First stop, Tiananmen Square. Already by the time we arrived, there were many tour groups of Chinese, but we were the only foreigners. Many citizens of China come to Tiananmen as a sort of pilgrimage. Similar to how many US citizens would visit Washington DC. I saw some elderly Chinese walk around in reverence as my sister and I enjoyed the warm sunny morning taking photos of the spectacle.

We were keen to see the embalmed body of Mao, which I don’t know is for real or not, but we have to wait as it was closed on Monday. We opted to walk around the southern part of Tiananmen through some alleys, pick up some Chinese donuts and then make our way to the Forbidden city.

This is my second time to the Forbidden city, and I forgot just how massive this palace is. It is pretty crazy to think that this city existed for 500 years, never being invaded or infiltrated. Looking how high the walls were, it would be humanly impossible to scale. At least 50 feet high.

It is a beautiful sight. To see the intricate decor and engineering put into this palace is amazing. One can lose sight of the detail in the midst of hundreds of tourists in the courts, but it is there.

We trekked though, and made it to the park beyond the palace where we caught a very nice view of Beijing and the city. The markets got our attention after the park, we enjoyed some japanese fare for half the fare you would pay in the states, and saw some neat artists, vendors and culinary items (think snake and scorpion) for sale. Charissa got a Louis Vutton purse wallet for $10 that looks exactly like the real one that goes for $600. I almost bought a shirt that is digital in that it lights up to music beats. I think I will get one.

Beijing Beijing. The city has changed and maybe all of China has changed. It is definitely more expressive than in 2002 when I was here last. More variety of hairstyles, fashion and what is “cool.”

I remember being hounded all the time as a foreigner and wanting my picture taken back in ’02. But it seems like locals don’t care too much as they are familiar with foreigners. Everything changed after the Olympics. I have yet to still see the Birds nest stadium. I’ll make it up there soon.

Things are good, no one is sick or jetlagged. It is a smooth transition. Even though I am halfway across the world, it doesn’t really seem that far. I guess when you hear Justin Bieber in the restaurant and Gaga ringtones in the bank, it almost doesn’t feel like you’re so far from home. Plus, every chinese loves to wear some form of clothing that has some english on it, whether the english makes sense or not. I guess it looks cool to them as opposed to the characters they are familiar with in their script. But this isn’t that big of a surprise to me, I saw this all over 10 years ago too.

What is more is individual expression. What is less is, the china of old, the communist garb worn by everyone in the old days. A few old timers still rock the garb though. If it was all you were used to, why change now? 🙂

I’ll try to post some pictures soon.

Ciao

Shawn

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One thought on “Running around with Charissa

  1. When in Rome, we explore the vatican, and in Tibet we say some prayers. Cruisin in China you might find some people, this time around you might also find your calling. Wear your heart on your sleeve so all will get a piece. Share love with your smile and all will agree. Theres something in the air, changes are a comin, I wish you the best on this spiritual quest. Thanks for the map, I just may need it one day. Yo yo yo!

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