When you get up in the morning and loom out the window you'll be in for a surprise, not only the landscape has changed but the view just feels more busy, more full of people.
It's hard to explain but where Mongolia felt like a vast but empty country, China feels like a vast country but full of people. There are cities, roads, industry but also some amazing landscape to be seen.
Everything just feels hustling and bustling, even the smallest towns but maybe this is what you feel after a few days in Monglia.
After arriving in Beijing and getting out of the train station, what struck me, aside from the extreme heat and humidity, was that it kind of felt familiar. Sure, last time I have been here was in 2006, before the Olympics, so a lot has changed since then but the overall feeling was not too different from the time I arrived back with friends from Shanghai.
This time it was easier though, I knew what to expect and how to find my way. Part of it is having been here but part is having travelled a lot so in a way everything feels familiar and finding my way is rarely an issue.
This at least made getting to my hotel very easy, also thanks to the over 10 new subway lines they built since last time I was here.
One thing I did not remember or did forget was that the Great Firewall blocks Facebook, which I can live without, but also Blogger, which I can't. Guess it's no different than the UK government blocking access to EZTV and Pirate Bay, equally annoying for me.
This means although internet access is available everywhere here, posting might be more hassle till I can set up a VPN or workaround. This will be done in the next day or so, for now it's time to head out for a walk.
What always strikes me when walking through Beijing, Hong Kong or Hanoi is that although all are big cities with millions of people, they feel quite calm and relaxed. The rush and hectic felt in European cities is missing here. This becomes the more clear as soon as you happen upon people dancing, singing karaoke or hanging out together in one of the parks.
Everything feels more social and fun than in the 'western world' and I like this a lot.