20 months flying and finally got me to Beijing. And even twice! Although we fly there twice a day, seven days a week, even though the flight isn’t the favorite flight of my colleagues, I had to specifically ask for the destination to be able to finally be there.Every country has its customs
As for the flight indeed, cultural differences can be observed from the moment of entering passengers on board. Someone is talking through the phone as if he’d be shouting to someone across a busy highway. Somebody will innocently fart, and someone else will burp. However, I see much more positives. The Chinese are very funny and friendly. Especially women, who to the delight of my vanity, asks for a photo with me :D They’re also very resourceful. Always somehow will manage to put those 1000 bags, they carry on board, to small baggage compartments. So I can only from time to time help some lady in lifting package that she wouldn’t strain her spine. Moreover, they don’t behave as if the world had ended, if in menu we run out of beef and there’s just chicken.Free Willy on Great Wall
But a good impression of flight, it was also thanks to the superb crew I had. And so together with Noelia from Argentina, Lauren from Scotland, Kimberly from India and Wairimu from Kenya, we went to one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, the Great Wall of China!And immediately we’ll refute here two myths. The Great Wall of China isn’t one! It is the collective name for a series of fortifications and walls built during the rule of several dynasties (mainly Han and Ming). The wall can’t be seen from the moon, but only from the low-Earth orbit, from which you might as well see highway or airport.The wall also wasn’t able to stop the attacks of large organized armies, but rather small hordes of wild tribes from the north. More often served as an early warning alarm. With guard towers stationed every 100 meters at night were lit fire to announce the impending enemy, and in the day were played smoke.In one such tower, I released something as well, the little Willy;) Each tower has numerous windows, all of which offer a unique view. The girls, one after the other put in one of the windows their shapely bodies, which I patiently immortalized on the camera’s memory stick. After a 4th of them I thought what the hell! I’ll strike a pose as well!
Unfortunately my body is neither so shapely nor such small sizes. Scrambling and scrambling. First with right foot, then with left one. Until in the protest, my favorite jeans gave shrill sound of tearing exactly at the height of the crotch. Seeing this, after 2 seconds of deathly silence, all burst out laughing.On top of that, it happened in the morning, so the whole day I had to not only walk with the “ventilation” between the legs, but also to be contend with the titles given to me by girls like the Big Crotch of China or Free Willy.
But the capital of the Middle Kingdom is much more than the Great Wall. Pearls of Chinese architecture, markets and all the places worth visiting are scattered throughout the city. And here, with the help comes Beijing subway, thanks to which you can get anywhere. Although for me it’s rather a good excuse to ride it, because how to better get to know the country, if not in public transport?I became emperor in Forbidden City
And so I visited the other site of the city most often visited by tourists – the Forbidden City. Why forbidden? As the Imperial Palace, built by Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty, was completely inaccessible to people.In the area of 960 m long and 760 m wide was built approx. 800 palaces and pavilions. The entire complex, with its characteristic yellow tiles, is enormous. There are so many small alleys, nooks and crannies that even though thousands of tourists visiting this place every day, you can find yourself in a place far from the hustle and bustle, where unhampered by anyone can admire the Chinese art of architecture.And, for a while you can even become an emperor… :D
Where emperors gone wild
No less spectacular is the Summer Palace. Palace-garden complex used to be resting place for emperors, to which I went along with the charming Hungarian girl born the same day as I! :)The exact name of the palace is Qingyiyuan – Garden of Clean Waves. The hill, which is the highest point of the park has been dug from the soil taken to dig a huge lake, also part of the complex.Battle of old vs. new
Summer Palace is one of those places in Beijing, which has resisted modernity and preserved the old spirit of China. The same as hutongs – districts of traditional houses, which are the living heritage of China.Hutongs, have a long tradition not only in Beijing (the first appeared in the XII century), but also all over China. Dense architecture with paths not exceeding 3-4 meters, with gates and courtyards retracted, created favorable conditions for the defense in case of siege.While Hutongs were able to resist the attacks of foreign armies, unfortunately are rapidly losing the battle with modernity. In 1949 in Beijing was 7,000 houses of this type. Today this number is significantly below 1000. All quarters are demolished and their residents forcibly relocated that officials and developers have space for new buildings that enrich them.Buildings that with China have so much in common that at the same time might be in Los Angeles, London or Mumbai. With cheap labor and architectural thought purchased from the West, Beijing created designs that set new aesthetic and technological standards and each subsequent overshadows the previous one.The three most spectacular buildings in my humble opinion are the National Stadium resembling a bird’s nest, large cuboid consisting of soap bubbles – Aquatics Center and the amazing Central Office Television of China, which locals call “pants”.Construction fever of Chinese authorities, however, isn’t in the history of the Country of Dragon, nothing new. Each power, rebuilt the capital to emphasize its strength. Ming Dynasty ordered the construction of the Forbidden City, as a sign of connection of emperors with heaven. The great halls, stadiums, broad boulevards in the Soviet style created in the 50s and 60s of the XX century, after the communists took power, symbolized collective strength of the working class and the government of Mao.If not only this food…
Today, Beijing is to be a global city, speaking to the world with the slogan that China is mighty and powerful, but also innovative, sophisticated and open. That the world shouldn’t be afraid of them.And certainly there is nothing to be afraid when visiting the city. I went to various places, at different times of day and night and never felt unsafe. If only the food would be more eatable and the air less polluted, I could visit this place more often ;)
First video from Beijing: Great Wall, Forbidden City, Summer Palace
2nd video where I’m taking you to those less touristy places of Beijing. You got to check it out! :)