We arrived in Beijing on Monday, and after going through immigration, getting our bags and going through the green customs line, we finally entered China. China! We were all so excited to be in China.
I had been dreaming of this for years. When my brother came to China, I was nearly jealous. When the Olympics were in Beijing three years ago, I imagined what it was like to be in the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube. Well, now here I am in Beijing, China.
My first observations of China:
- Smog! As we were descending in the plane and about to land, we couldn’t see a thing. I questioned whether we were actually landing or not then we hit the runway. As we taxied we could see the airport but not much further than a few hundred yards because of the intense haze. I heard about the smog and read about it around the Olympics but could never have imagined it like this. I suppose it’s partly because we’re here in August, a very hot month, and the greenhouse effect is taking place.
- So many people! Yeah, there are tons of people everywhere in Beijing. I guess that’s what happens in a city of nearly 20 million people. It’s been great entertainment and a little bit of terror to be riding in our bus and seeing how the traffic works in such balance with the bikes, scooters and pedestrians, and by balance I mean how something balances above a bed of razor-sharp blades about to fall off and slice into a million pieces. If you think it’s crazy in Manhattan or Boston, come to Beijing and you will think it’s mild there.
After getting to Beijing we checked into our hostel, not too far from the Forbidden City, Beijing Night Market and a nice walking street. Then it was off to my first real Chinese food not the acculturated stuff we find in America. It was delicious! I really enjoyed it and I used only chopsticks even though I’ve never used them before. I was so proud that I didn’t use the fork they provided for us.
After dinner, we attended a Chinese acrobatics performance. It was like Cirque du Soleil in the raw form. There was tumbling, drum dancing, Chinese yo-yos and more. My favorite act was called “Playing Straw Hats.” It was the men of the troupe doing tricks and juggling with straw hats. I had never seen this before and was very impressed. They did some pretty cool things with straw hats.
The final act of the show was the globe of death. You may have seen it before at the circus or on America’s Got Talent. There’s a big metal sphere that motorcyclists get in and drive in circles. It’s pretty spectacular and until now I had only seen it with three motorcycles. They upped the ante and got four bikes in at once.
To get back to our hostel we drove past Tiananmen Square all lit up. This only got me excited for the next day and our adventure in the heart of Beijing.
(pictures were taking to long to upload on this connection so pictures will come soon)
(pictures uploaded 1 Sept 2011)