We just got back yesterday from Beijing. It was just as crowded as I thought it would be but what a rush to be in such a huge city that is so famous! We went to Tienanmen Square, the Forbidden City, The Great Wall, and the Beijing Zoo. We also visited a government jade store, a government silk factory and had a tea ceremony at a government tea store. The last few were all part of a tour package where the tour is very cheap ($18 CAD each) but they take you to government stores to sell you things to pay for it. I think the tour guides get a commission from it. It was an experience.
Of all the places we went, the Great Wall was definitely my favourite. It was quite a rush to get to the top. We chose the hardest climb, the Badaling portion, because I heard the view was better at the top. If I ever do it again we will definitely take a gondola down though. My legs are more sore from the climb down than the one up! The entire climb I was so impressed with my little son, he was such a trooper! He also got a lot of attention from everyone, as always. He has had hundreds of photos taken with various Chinese people who seem very interested in photographing a foreign child.
The worst part of our trip was the Zoo. I wouldn’t recommend it for any animal lovers. All zoos are a bit inhumane anyway but this one was worse in a few ways. First of all, people bang on the glass cages to drive the animals crazy. They also throw garbage at them to see what will happen. I saw a lady dribbling coke down a wall of a bear enclosure, giving the grizzly bear a drink. I thought the behaviour of the visitors was appalling. Some of the conditions were pretty awful too. The polar bears were kept in an enclosure that was painted white and blue but it was so hot outside that day. The air conditioning was two windows that were propped open a bit. I know that polar bear fur is designed to keep the heat in so I felt so sorry for those bears. The camels were in awful condition too. The fur was falling out in clumps, matted and dirty and their humps were completely fallen over. Anyway, I think it’s turned me off going to zoos for a long time.
To be in Tienanmen Square was interesting. There were so many people that day and security officers everywhere. We went through several security checkpoints to get in the square. I’m glad we went to see it. walking in downtown Beijing afterwards was neat too. So many people!!
Well…two more days and we go back to work. I have heard that the next two months will fly by and then we will be home in Canada for the summer. I look forward to being able to read the cereal boxes again although I do NOT look forward to paying Canadian prices for everything!
Here are some photos to tide you over until next time: ;)