My Visit to Beijing

It's been a while since I last posted so let's get started on my trip to China last month. One of my really good friends has a brother who lives and works in Tianjin. We've gone on a couple trips together with several other friends and always joked how we would visit him in China. Well in the Fall that actually came as a possibility when we found an excellent deal on flights and decided to book. I had never been that far east in the world and you could probably guess that I was extremely excited to be dropped into a completely different culture. 

I and my friend Stephen flew out to Boston to get our connection flight to Beijing. I've endured many long trips in my life but never flown for more than 6 hours or so. To fly straight from Boston to Beijing is 13.5 hours. Eeeek! Despite the long ride, I was willing to take on the long ride in order to explore the eastern side of the world. We flew Hainan Air which was very good. My only complaint would be that there was no wifi but beggers can't be choosers. If anyone has ever experienced flying across multiple time zones, you can understand how odd it is.

We left Boston at 4 PM on a Friday and arrived in Beijing at 6 PM the next day. It's a weird concept to grasp especially when you're flying with the sunrise. Really odd. Anywho, we got to Beijing and already felt weird with the time change and thought we should go to bed at a respectable time. We didn't. I think we went to bed around 3 AM when really we should have gone to bed at 10 PM. It happens but we were just too excited to be in China. Me, my friend Stephen, and his Brother went out into town, had some great food, booze, and decided to hit the sack. 

 Beijing Jinmao Renaissance Hotel Lobby

Beijing Jinmao Renaissance Hotel Lobby

 Panda Brew Pub Beijing

Panda Brew Pub Beijing

 End of the night drink. Me on the left, my good friend Stephen on the right and his brother Michael in the middle. 

End of the night drink. Me on the left, my good friend Stephen on the right and his brother Michael in the middle. 

I was honestly too exhausted from traveling to photograph much the first night that we arrived. The next morning we had the chance to get out and roam the city a lot more and see Tiananmen Square. It's right across from the Forbidden City, which I did not get to see because we just didn't have the time to wait in line. Huge area with a ton of history. Very glad I got to see it. 

 Year of the Monkey!

Year of the Monkey!

 Military Guard at Tiananmen Square about to tell me I can't take his picture. 

Military Guard at Tiananmen Square about to tell me I can't take his picture. 

 Tiananmen Square looking at the Forbidden City

Tiananmen Square looking at the Forbidden City

After that, we hit the Hutongs, which were small streets in the old part of Beijing. Easily my favorite part of the city. We were walking by people's homes and you wouldn't event know it. Small back alleys and roads. Going through the small towns and shops, it seemed like they had some love for Obama. Don't worry I documented it. Not sure if it's for the tourist or people. I'm assuming tourist. 

Bad picture, but, a little whiskey to warm us up in the middle of the afternoon. I forgot to mention that the two weeks we spent in China happen to be the coldest that they've had in almost 60 years. 

Next you will find pictures of the open food market in Beijing where almost anything goes. You will find pictures of bugs, but let me tell you that they are a tourist trap. I honestly wanted to try a scorpion but when I heard they basically don't taste like anything and the locals don't eat them, I decided to pass. 

.....and later that night we had Duck!!!!

 Traditional Peking Duck - Image from my iPhone

Traditional Peking Duck - Image from my iPhone

I really enjoyed my stay in Beijing and unfortunately, we didn't get to spend much time there. Even though it's a massive city continuing to grow, it still had the best of both worlds, the old and modern.