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Marc' s Trip to Beijing, May 2008

 

I went to Beijing to give a course to our geophysicists for five days. I took a little time on either end to check out the sights of Beijing. Here are some of my thoughts and a few photos.

The first thing is that everyone talks funny, so it is hard to understand them. OK well maybe the problem is me. Outside of the office I did not run into many people that were fluent in English. I did find, however, that many signs and office names were in both English and Chinese and that many of the people that dealt with foreigners either as tourists or in their small businesses learned enough English to get along. In the various restaurants I did not find a lot of people with even rudimentary English skills. On the other hand many of the expats were not able to speak even rudimentary Chinese.


It poured when I visited the Forbidden City. The entrance is above.

Gate of Heavenly Purity

Forbidden City - interior walkway - the rain stopped, but it got cool.

Forbidden City - gates along walkway

Market at the Great Wall, which was ~1 hr. NE of Beijing

In general people were friendly and very helpful. However when trying to buy something - 'buyer beware.' One must expect to bargain. I did like the practice of not tipping everyone in sight. That gets to be a pain in a hotel.


One
can get really cheap food in China. Three of us ate at a dumpling house for $11 US. An expensive restaurant can run $20 for one, unless you eat at the hotel, which is at least twice the price. In Beijing the food seems to be ok everywhere, although I decided not to experiment with the water. One of the expats got his household water tested and found it to be very good.


The Great Wall is steep in places - after all it goes along a mt. ridge

View from one of towers along the wall.

Looking out to the mountains..

Me in intrepid explorer outfit
 
Not all of the wall has been restored - my friend's knee to the left for scale