Monday, August 8, 2011

Travel to Beijing

After over 24 hours of traveling, and one extremely long 12 hour flight which wasn't that bad, just long, we arrived in Beijing.  The airport was fantastic.  It was clean, efficient and quiet until you got outside, it was also 10:20pm:)  We got scammed by a 'taxi' in the taxi lane.  If they don't have meters, they ARE NOT a taxi, even if the have the taxi sign on top of their car.  We got safely to our hotel.  We love the hotel, it is right across from a gorgeous park, Longdan Park.  By street I mean 6+ lane road/highway.  There is a walking bridge over it.  After sleeping on an extremely comfortable western style bed for 4 hours I waited for DH to wake up at 6am.  We went to see about going to the Great Wall and booked a tour for Saturday, got a walking map and decided to walk to the sites.  We walked around the beautiful park first.  It cost 2RMB to enter, about 35cents.  There were groups of people doing tai chi and playing hacky sack. The park encircles a lake and there are rock gardens, recreated temples, and beautiful pathways.  We exited the park, walked the wrong direction for a couple/few miles, then asked some guards where we were, back tracked and went the right way to the Temple of heaven.  The architecture was cool.  It felt so very sad to me to see a place that was once an epicenter of worship allow peddlers(DH is a softy!) and noisy tourists. Even though it is not my religion I felt a sense of disappointment for the loss of belief or sacredness,  it is hard to describe, but like a historical site has been downgraded to a photo op for foreigners, although most of the visitors were Chinese.  I guess a loss of history.

Then we walked a ways to Tiananmen Square.  It is very large.  Then we came to the Forbidden City which is the Palace Museum.  We rode the shuttle to the exit accidentally and had to take another one back to the entrance since there is now only one way in and one way out to control traffic flow.  It was amazing.  The Forbidden City was so extensive and historic.  There is a beautiful Imperial garden in the center.  It was amazing even in the heat and humidity.  It was truly fantastic.  I could have spent an entire day there in 30 degree cooler weather!  Then we decided to get a taxi back to the hotel.  It was a 'no go'.  We could not get a taxi at all.  We walked back around the outside wall of the forbidden city(which is 178 acres big) to get back to the front, found a 'taxi' that had no meter and offered to drive us back to the hotel for way too much money so we walked to the subway.  For 2RMB(35cents) you can ride anywhere in Beijing, including connections.  We rode a packed rush hour subway back to our hotel vicinity and got back.  We walked for well over 10 hours straight, had a quick dinner and crashed.  Beijing is totally laid out for pedestrians.  It is extremely safe.  I really enjoyed our first day here in China...and my feet are killing me!!!!!!:)

No comments:

Post a Comment