Monday, February 20, 2012

Battered and Tired in Beijing

We are operating on more than 24 hours without sleep. And in amongst the 6800 miles travelled we have already consumed copious amounts of noodles, brothy soup and everything else they offered on the plane; enjoyed a very late night traditional Beijing dinner with our colleague and his friends and settled into our very touristy hotel. Before turning in for some much needed z's I wanted to post something short. To my surprise (or not) our free Internet does not necessarily mean free access -- Google, Facebook and Hotmail are being selectively blocked. Luckily I am married to a tech wiz and we have a work around.

The size of Beijing is unfathomable to me; the 40 million population of the city exceeds that of my own entire country! First impressions: a crush of people everywhere; towering buildings lit in vibrant colour - purple, pink, neon green; western labels - Tiffany, Calvin Klein, and food chains - Pizza Hut, McDonald's, Starbucks -  screaming into the night. KFC rules here, as does Porsche, Audi and Mercedes.

As we circled the airport there was an unmistakable odour of heavy fuel fumes; this smell intensified when we disembarked and began the hour and half foray into the rush hour traffic to get to our hotel.   The sky is coated in a thick layer of haze -- and how could it be any other way with the sheer volume of vehicles on the road.

I taste-tested pretty much everything this evening -- and enjoyed about half of it. Not a fan of the corn starch like thickener used in the soup and sauces nor the organ meat. But the fish was delicious and the tiny little pork balls weren't bad either. The traditional schnapps (my word) tasted like tequila but we used it for toasting so I was a trouper.

Off to bed as we will be early to rise. We are off to see the tourist sites - Tienanmen Square and the like - but I think we will forego the traditional congee (rice porridge) for a western style breakfast to start the day and then wing it the rest of the day. 

I am a pitiful tourist who can't pronounce "thank you"  xia-xia worth a dang!
Night folks.

7 comments:

  1. My brother went to Beijing two summer's ago and the air quality (or lack there of) was his first observation. He could hardly breath at all. Hope you have a wonderful adventure.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lyn you've only been gone a day and I miss you so much already! I'm so happy to hear that you landed safe and sound...and sounds like you're much more adventurous with the food than I would be!

    Hope you have a great day touring tomorrow and I can't wait for another update!

    Jen

    ReplyDelete
  3. We hope you had a good night's sleep and instead of 'battered and tired' you both are full of 'vim and vigour' as you embrace China and they embrace you. (Just don't breathe in the fumes...some how/some way)

    ReplyDelete
  4. OMG You're there!!! What a visual post. I've never been there, but the images you painted made me feel like I could see it. I feel for you, being in a new place is pretty scary at first. I love/hate feeling new somewhere. It's a really intense feeling. I hope you have a wonderful time in China! Pictures please. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Lyn. Seems like you have been there for a week. Don't get tired and get sick.It must be very exciting to be in the worlds largest city and see America written over it. Good blog . Keep it up until they catch you and charge you with some trumped up idea. Have fun and enjoy every minute. Polar Bear.

    ReplyDelete
  6. your doing a wonderful job recording your impressions lyn! have a wonderful time soaking it all in.
    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  7. Lyn. Great blogs. You will be able to make a book of the blogs they are so complete and descriptive. Your pics are so clear. I don't see any smog. The great wall pics are better than any I ever saw. Keep up the good writing and stay well. Wear a mask SVP. love Polar Bear

    ReplyDelete

I've made it easier to comment - no nasty word verification. So let me know you dropped by.