Impressions from Beijing

September 19, 2005 2 By Jakob

Today we’ve already been in Beijing for a few days and it’s time to move on. However, first it’s time to try to give you a taste of all that we’ve seen in the last couple of days.

On Saturday we had breakfast where we enjoyed the so-called Moon cakes. They’re supposed to be very delicious, but the one we had on Saturday morning were not really our thing.

We ventured out into the traffic of Beijing went to the Forbidden City and took the metro to the Tian An Men Square. What a place ! All sorts of people of course wanted to offer us all kinds of services, and a group of Chinese people wanted to have their picture taken with Jolanda!

Once inside the Forbidden City at the North end of the Square, we rented a Roger Moore audio tour of the forbidden tour and went on to see what this Forbidden City hype was all about. The city is HUGE! We had expected a few well-kept houses, but what we found was simply amazing. Many small temples, most of them more than 500 years old, many of them rebuilt several times in the original style, because fire has never been a friend of the wooden Forbidden City, and all of them amazing to look at. We were busy all day until 17.00 when they closed, and we could probably have run around a bit longer – just to see it all.

We exited at the North Gate and went across the street into the Jingshan park where we had seen a temple which prodivided us with an extraordinary view of the entire Forbidden City !

Still trying to digest all we’d seen during the day we decided to take a look at the Night Market and have something to eat. At the first stand at the Night market we got cheated into paying a very high price for our food, but we got smarter and eventually got ourselves a very nice meal, shopping from the stands.

On Sunday we went through the same procedure as Saturday with breakfast, but with much better moon cakes than on Saturday. For some reason they still played the very same song over and over again as yesterday.

We went by cab to the Panjiayan Market (a.k.a. Dirt Market). Outside the hotel men are willingly offering taxi services for 50 Yuan and as you leave they’ll start slashing the price. We went across the street and got the same ride for 20 Yuan. A couple of hours were spent looking at crafts, Rolex, Chinese and Soviet army goods and many other useful and useless things. Very interesting to see everybody bargaining and talking about goods. We tried a bit of bargaining ourselves and went back to the hotel with a HUGE painting for our home. Help! How will we get that home??

Having rested a bit at the hotel we shopped at a small local supermarket and then went cycling and also saw some hutongs. Hutongs is the name for the areas where especially poor people live with small alleys and low houses – to great extent in ruins. Again we saw how the city mixes rich and very poor within a few square meters.

Later in the evening we went to a hotpot restaurant across the street. Hotpot is a restaurant where the guests sit around a table with each managing his own pot of meat and vegetables. Very delicious and cheap.

Now we’re ready to go biking. Everything is good here and we look forward to seeing China outside Beijing as well !

Beijing, Hotpot, China, Restaurant, Hutong, Panjiayan Market, Dirt Market, Night Market, Jingshan park, Moon Cake, Forbidden City, Tian An Men