Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Beijing by day

My first thought about Beijing, when we left the train station was "This is not a place where someone gets lonely". I had never seen such a busy place. Lots of people going in every direction... It was crazy!... For a moment I asked myself if I could do 4 days of this, but there was no need. The city ended up being much more organized and not as crowded as I expected. Of course there were a few exceptions, and here I will show you some of them.
For the few that had been here before, the city has been losing a lot of its charm. The old neighborhoods, built over narrow alleys, called hutongs, have been destroyed to make place for the new western huge avenues with modern buildings and shoppings malls. Fortunally there are still of few around and just on the first day we ran into one by chance (I love when this happens).
First thing that struck me was that the atmosphere here was completely different! If the other street where we had been walking could belong to most of the cities I've been to, this was different... this felt... unique and vibrant! There is a lot of food for sale mixed with all kinds of shops. Some guys had no shirt on, the narrow alley was full, of people, of smells, colours... it was a feast for the senses. Finally I felt like I was in China! :)
I've walked through hutongs later on, mostly at night, and even got a bit tipsy on one! :P At night time, things are a bit different. 

There is a lot of food in the hutongs. Fruit...

Cold meat...
Meat at "room" temperature...
Yet to be meat...
All kinds of nuts
All kinds of eggs
Candied fruit

Some meat skewers... and much more!

There were no other clothes around, just these two manequins with winter coats on a very warm day (around 25ÂșC)
Another mandatory place in Beijing is the Forbidden City. At first I was not very curious and actually, didn't know exactly what to expect, so my expectations were imensly overcome. We had to wake up at 7am to be there when it opened (at 8h30am) to fleed the masses and because Natalie had an airplane to catch!
Even at this hour the amount of people was overwhelming (the name "Forbidden" becomes a bit out of place when you see so many people in the "city"). Being the last day of a big Chinese holiday didn't help at all, either. So we had to share the experience with thousands of other tourists, which was actaully okay, because the Forbidden City is so big, that you can even find yourself alone a few times in the smaller squares!

Of course, a picture of Mao at the entrance!
The hordes of people walking towards the center of the (not so) Forbidden City
The hordes of people walking towards the center of the (not so) Forbidden City - part2
This dragon statues were in almost every roof

The city is so big that you welcome one of these from time to time

One of the doors between one Holliness Serenity Square to the other (the names were all like this)

Sometimes you need some help to carry on
On our way out
This was taken on the next day. The forbidden city under the smog of a monday morning.
And here is the proof that I was there :p

But because Beijing is much more than this, I leave you here with a few other images of it.

This doesn't happen only in India
Music is fashion

It's very common to see people dancing or doing Tai-chi in the gardens. The two women facing the camera were doing just that

Everyone wanted to see/take a picture of what the others were seeing/taking pictures of
On the other side, the crowd. In the Temple of Heaven
And when you have to go,you have to go! Yes, the kid was peeing, not even aiming to the flowers! I've even seen a kid on top of a garbage can in the metro peeing inside of it!
And that is why they have these pants... with a hole from back to front! This way is easier... way easier!
On Tianmen Square we could see kids having fun... being patriotic...
...adults working/having fun...
...and adults being patriotic.
Signs of Portugal. Don't get too excited, they tasted like srambled eggs! :(
Arty cafe in district 798
Just around the forbidden city
We tried to go here, but apparently the Beijing Underground City has closed... for a while!
We found a park and in this small corner there were several people all playing cards and drinking tea! It was cool!
Sometimes you get lonely, even in Beijing

Wrong match!

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