Sunday, 25 August 2013

Day 19 - Arriving in Beijing

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.


  1. Some great photos here, Christian. I recently visited Beijing and agree with your sentiments about it feeling very busy, but relaxed at the same time. I felt as if people there are generally less stressed and uptight, but I wasn't there for long enough to see if this was the case.

  2. I'm really enjoying the photos and the commentary Christian - Look forward to following you each morning; it's become part of my routine....

    How's the GR review coming along?


  3. Cristian,

    I like these Beijing pictures very much. Looks as though you and the GR are more at home here than in the great wide open spaces..

  4. I think your forte is the urban environment, Cristi. You have the knack of capturing familiar things but making them look rather special. I like the shot at the station of the locomotives and the girl and also the street with all the flags flying over the sidewalk. You also seem to have a good eye for a shapely pair of female legs. :-) Like others have said, following your travels is a high point of the day.

  5. Thanks for your comments!

    Martin, I am glad to hear we both felt the same about the city and people here.

    John, the GR review will take a while as I was running way behind with my posts but I added to the text. The comparisons will follow as I need to free up the space on the hard drive.

    Peter, you are right that I am more at home in an urban setting than out in the great wide open, at least when it comes to my photography.

    Calvin, you and Peter seem to agree on my urban photography. :)