Mesmerized by Beijing

Beijing is beautiful— I don’t even know where and how to start.

We stayed there for four days — three before moving to Xi’an, and one before we went back to the Philippines. And since I was still having an internship hangover the moment I boarded the plane to China, I don’t have any expectations on what will the place, food and people be like in there. I just hopped on the plane, slept and landed on Beijing, also known as Peking — the next thing I know, I was amazed.

Beijing’s traffic is almost similar to Manila’s, the only difference is that they don’t have trikes and jeeps, and it is much more quieter — no angry drivers blowing their horns anywhere and the city’s buildings reminded me somehow of Makati. This is one reason why I think I did not experience culture shock at all.

We checked in at Majesty Hotel after taking our first lunch, and rested after a sleepless and tiring flight.

We started touring the second day, and it was 12-13 degrees Celcius kind of morning, and I cannot help but to savor the chilly wind carressing my face. Our first destination is the National Museum of China (中国国家博物馆) located on the East side of Tiananmen Square.

Their museum is boasting of a total floor space of 200,000 sqm with four storeys, and it has a very tight security system wherein they would scan each visitor and his bag, just like in the airport. If they found a bottled water in your bag, they will let you sip it in front of them to make sure that it is not some kind of explosives.

Sorry for the LQ photos, I was only using my iPad and it was too dark. 😦

But what amazed me the most is the fact that the Chinese people are incredible when it comes to preserving their culture and their past. For a country that is too big and is rich in historical stories, their people are doing a good job when it comes to educating their next generation about their history — one of the things that I would like to happen in our country.

The next stop is the famous Forbidden City (紫禁城) located at the center of Beijing. The place served as home to the emperors and his wife, including his concubines for almost several hundreds of years. It was called forbidden because nobody can ever enter or leave the walled city without the emperor’s permission.

The Forbidden City covers a total of 72 hectares, so yes, it was a hell of a long walk for us. But I must say, the view is great, and before I was only seeing this palace on TV and in encyclopedias, so it’s definitely worth it.

On our third day in Beijing, we visited a jade gallery and factory. What people don’t usually know is that China is not just famous for jade jewelries but jade plays a big role in Chinese culture.

The jade gallery and store
How a jade ball is being carved
A pure jade ball
Zodiac animals made of jade

And then after, we climbed the Great Wall!

There are absolutely no words for this one. Yes, the Great Wall (長城) was hard to climb (because we chose the path where there were less tourists, but more steep steps!) but the view up there was breathtaking. I haven’t managed to go up further and reach an end, (thanks asthma!) but the feeling was amazing. I climbed down thinking to myself, “I can climb anything now!” LOL!

Long way up
Just before climbing the Wall

View from the top… the “top that I reached”, actually. 😉

After visiting the Great Wall, we proceeded to Beijing Olympic Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest, and to the Beijing National Aquatics Center, or the Water Tube. These two architectures, which were built for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, were my most anticipated stop because I thought we weren’t going there anymore, and I am a sucker for unique architectures like these! Luckily, we have enough time just before we boarded the train to Xi’an.

I met Minnie as I was going to the Olympic Stadium!
Bird’s Nest, finally!
After the name shits before entering China, we are now here! Hello, ate Ellaine! ❤
Paulinians represent! 🙂 With Albert Tante in front of Beijing National Aquatic Center

After ten days of staying in Xi’an for Chinese classes and some tour, we went back to Beijing again to have our one last tour in the city, and visited the Summer Palace (颐和园).

The Kunming Lake, which is a 100% man-made lake, dominated the palace, along with the Longevity Hill which is about 60 meters high. The place was called as the Summer Palace because way back during the times of Ancient China, the emperor used to go there during summer since the wind there would be cooler because of the waters.

Kunming Lake and Longevity Hill
Last tourist mode before flight back home 😉

Just like any other cities in the world, Beijing has its own flaws:  the traffic, the pollution, and the reckless drivers… But I bet not one city in the world has nothing wrong with it. Maybe because somehow, this city reminds me so much of Makati and Manila, but I think Beijing is just too beautiful to not be appreciated by foreign tourists. Given the chance, I would surely go back once more (hopefully this time, with someone!), visit more places and take more photos.

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