10 Very Subjective Reasons To Visit Beijing
Some experiences in Beijing have to and should be planned, like walking on the Great Wall, seeing the Forbidden City (pardon, now it’s known as the Palace Museum)or the Summer Palace. Other just happen along the way as we are watching local life go by, but I believe its the second kind that tells us more about the people and cultural differences than any book. It is these little things that make traveling a truly personal experience… and so much fun, too. Here is my top 10.
1. Chinese are a very resourceful nation and the climate is not always on their side. So if they have to ride their bike in the winter they just attach huge (and I suspect really warm) gloves to their handle bars? I wonder what the stylish Italians would say about that idea. They love bikes too, right?
2. Dance lessons in parks. What a wonderful idea! With a proper teacher, onlookers sitting on nearby benches and music that you can hear form far away. There is really no need to be shy.
3. In some parts of the city the drainage hole covers look like real works of art and there is an infinte number of different styles. You can make it into a creative project and take pictures of as many as you can find, or just simply stand still for a second and admire one you spot on your way.
4. A moment of magic in an unlikely place: seeing a middle aged man writing a piece of poetry on a pavement, with a calligraphy brush and water. Yes, it does disappear in minutes, but that’s precisely what makes it so unique (unless he gets paid for doing it every day in front of the same calligraphy supplies shop).
5. Translations! I’m sure everybody who has ever visited Beijing will have their own list of funny translations. Here is mine. Just please, don’t ask me why the pork was raped or if I had crap for lunch 😉
6. Trained fish. They immediately spot anybody approaching water and start cramming in with their mouths open, regardless of size. If you move around, they will move after you. Simple, but so much fun…especially for the people who saw me running around the pond like crazy.
7. Packaging at the famous Cathay bookstore. At a first glance you get reminded of paper and ribbon shortages so popular in communist times, but then you look closer and realize that the eastern aesthetics somehow makes it work, and quite beautifully, too.
8. Color combinations and patterns. Simply exquisite! Just look at the photo.
9. The architecture, the rhythm, the symmetry. Truly divine, though not necessarily Catholic.
10. And last but not least the toboggan/slide in Mutianyu. If you ever decide to visit the Great Wall I strongly recommend the Mutianyu part. Not only because it’s picturesque as the wall is climbing up and down the hills, but also because of the slide down. You can develop quite a decent speed…unless you have an unreasonably cautious Austrian couple in front of you who stops every 50 meters driving everybody behind them mad.
What would you add to the list?