Friday, 13 June 2008


Well, I'm in. It's enormous. Seriously. Far eclipses london in every single way. It's just absolutely monumental.

Spent the morning looking for another hostel as the one I was in, whilst located in a cool 'hutong' (traditional backstreet area) just had no character) and finally checked into the Hostelling International place opposite Beijing Central Train station. I'm slap bang in the middle of town, I guess the equivalent back home is having a hotel opposite Kings Cross/St Pancras.

There is a constant haze everywhere, it's just not very nice. It doesn't feel dirty, but everyone's got an irritating cough and you can even see the pollution on the INSIDE of big spaces (like a shopping mall). No wonder they all really hock up their phlegm.

Caught the bus to Tiananmen Square (spelt Qianmen in Pinyin) and climbed the famous gate of Heavenly PEACE where Mao watched up to a million TROOPS march past. Ironic huh?

Anyway, it's amazing. The smaller square out the back is as big as Trafalgar Sq, the main one is just immense. You can hardly see the other side and down the edges are two buildings. Again, they're just so vast! Anyway, it started to thunder off in the distance, then the wind picked up and then the rain came, so I think they called off the regular raising/lowering of the china communist flag at dusk.

Beijing is SO big, it's just not an easy city to 'do' if that makes sense. A taxi is most convenient, but the traffic pace (10km/h) is not much faster than walking - at least they're air-conned and sealed from the pollution. Walking is out - stuff is just so far away from everything else, then there's the heat and pollution. The heat. Tested myself today. Sat down, did nothing outside (there's no shadows due to the haze) and tried to rest. Nope, its impossible and official. I'm sweating here doing nothing, I simply haven't acclimatised one bit or I just haven't shifted my English winter 'insulation' or as Donald would say 'plumpness'.

No comments: