Beijing, China’s Last but not Least Destination
10 October, 2013
Beijing is the capital city of great China. Its current population as our hospitable guide Grace told us, is around 20 million. What else? A big city, not as huge as Shanghai, but has its own charm. I will be sincere now and the weather is the best compared to the South and North, the two cities we have been depicting previously (those of Changchun and Shanghai) – quite a mild one. However, frankly speaking, this is the city where
one gets really exhausted in a transport – a lot of traffic jam. Bicycle as in Shanghai, is a very popular form of transport. Surprisingly enough, there are no special tracks for the people to ride them, but they still do – no matter how old they are, whether they are male or female, etc. Now, our journey begins:
as in Shanghai, bicycles are a very popular means of transportation. Surprisingly enough, there are no special tracks for cyclists but they still manage to move along – no matter how old the riders are, whether they are male or female, etc.
This is where our journey begins.
On the first day, we went to the Olympic Stadium immediately after we arrived in Beijing. We toured Beijing National Stadium, Beijing National Aquatics Center, Water Cube, and other stadiums where the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games took place. Next day, we went to Qianmen Street which used to be an ancient and traditional street but now has been turned into a commercial and business street. It looks quite European with a tram and lots of various brand shops around. Then we went to the Nan Luo Gu Xiang, one of the most ancient streets in China. In Chinese it is called Hutong.
The next stop is Beihai Park. There we saw a white pagoda, lot of lakes and trees around. It is an imperial garden of ancient times.
Of course, first and foremost China is associated with the Great Chinese Wall. We, all members of the seminar, were thrilled to see it. Considering the fact that we had only one lecture in Shanghai and one in Beijing, it turned into a cultural-historical-tourist tour, exhaustive but full of excitement and full of new discoveries. On the third day, we went to the Great Wall and spent almost two hours climbing it. Here you will see people from all around the world. Nice place for dating, ain’t it? I wondered – will I meet here some Georgians? Well, apparently, I was one among the few from Georgia who has visited this magnificent country. My Georgian friends were surprised and they would gladly trade places with me. Nowadays, when borders are open, nobody is amazed when you say you are going to America or Europe but China is still a rarity for us to visit. So, I would like to thank cordially the former Consul in Georgia and his spouse for their personal invitation. Probably, I can never pay you back your kindness. The Great Wall is really great – over 8 thousand km long - by other calculations, even 12 thousand km. It clearly shows how industrious and hard-working the Chinese have been and still are. Its construction started BC and ended only as late as in the 17th century AD. Marvelous views unfold from there. Still, had it not for the mist, it would have been much more impressive to survey Beijing City from that point.
In the afternoon, we visited the Ming Tomb and saw the underground crypt there.
Last day we went to the Tian’an men Square, where Mao Zedong is buried, and toured the Forbidden City, the imperial office of ancient times. It also used to be the residence of entire imperial family. There we saw the palaces of the emperor, empress, and surveyed their imperial gardens. There were so many tourists there! We spent there the whole morning. In the afternoon, we went to Xiushui Market for shopping. Of course, the best places for shopping are provincial towns. However, here too, in the capital city of great China you can buy beautiful things for not so high prices. I bought very nice scarves with beautiful colors. I cannot even name them - mystic ones, some greenish, other grayish. I am really proud of them. I also bought a pretty nice fan for my mom, made of bamboo and silk. She liked it and was happy. One more thing: Beijing is a city of willows. These wonderful trees grow everywhere and look so cute!
The hotel in Beijing was the best. We tasted the famous Beijing duck and other delicacies at its restaurant. Expensive restaurants are full, a stark indication of wellbeing of Beijing residents. They do love life. They say it is Maoism – socialism that is open to the rest of the world, which gives its citizens sense of security and protection, vigor and motion. That’s why this man is still praised and respected. People in China live normally and they hope for the better. Of course, the one-child policy is still enforced and the placement is a problem for the nation while for the rest of the society including Georgia, just the contrary happens: our death rates exceed the birth rates. However, Chinese do not take it too close to their heart the fact that they have no brothers and sisters. They have friends and a surprising vigor to always smile no matter how hard life may be on them. This is something that we, Georgians, should learn from them. They seem never tired in spite of great rhythm and daily routine. They were happy to be our guests. And our dear friends and hosts, particularly Lois, was all tears at the airport. I could not help crying either, it was impossible to stay calm. Margaret and Roy were waiving to us till the very last second. Bye, China! I am addicted to you, and will never ever forget you.