Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The foreigner has landed

Of all the places I ever thought I'd visit, Beijing usually wasn't one of them. But am I glad I came. It's nuts. It's hazy. It's awesome. I've only been here for about five hours and seen just a couple things, but I'm excited for the next six days. I wouldn't know exactly what to compare the city to. It's sprawling and loud and busy.

I took a bus to stop by Tiananmen Square this evening, only to learn that the sun sets at seven here. That's what you get when the whole country's on one time zone and you're in the eastern part of it. But that round trip on the bus only cost me 30 cents. Tack on a 60-cent bowl of noodles, that I enjoyed at a table shared with locals in a small restaurant and I've had a cheap night.

Olympic fever is still here--signs and billboards are EVERYWHERE. The official signage has been modifed to reflect the upcoming Paralympics, and a huge welcoming committee was on hand at the airport for the athletes.

The place where I am staying is in what you would call the "real" part of town. It's not overly touristy by any stretch. Nearly no whities around except the ones I'm staying with. Shop--some no bigger than a closet--line the streets. The area has a lot of character.

So, I'll take some photos tomorrow. Tiananmen and the Forbidden City I think are on my agenda. But most importantly, I'm here, I'm safe and I'm impressed.

1 comment:

bkwriter2007 said...

Loud, hazy, crazy and sprawling... sounds a lot like L.A. Glad you're having fun.