After a very comfortable flight (thank you Qatar Airways) and a brief connection in probably the largest airport in the world, Doha – seriously, we thought we were walking to China on one of those conveyor belt things – we arrive in Beijing’s famous bird’s nest airport. The queue to get through customs takes almost as long as the flight and the titles above the check-points are somewhat interesting: Chinese / Foreigners
Beijing is huge. HUGE!!! Forget London, its 10 million is tiny. 21.6 million people live here – which is more than many countries. Remember Slovenia we visited? 12.7 times as many people live in Beijing as they do in the entire country of Slovenia.
In Beijing you will:
Find the oddest, grossest street food (cockroaches or bats anyone?). Oh, sea snake tastes like squid btw.
Be harassed by the largest population of OAP street sales people on the planet.
See dozens of people taking open-air dance classes in city squares, or simple on street corners.
See cute old people doing weird morning exercises (twisting their one wrist for hours while popping their hip).
Be dazzled by thousands of enormous neon symbols, none of which you can understand.
Generally; YOU WONT UNDERSTAND ANYTHING.
Have your phone “pimped” by your Chinese friends so you can engage in phone-swapping-translator-app conversations.
Say goodbye to Facebook and ALL social media, sob (censorship) – and then you’ll realise you don’t miss it as much you thought.
Be disgusted by the constant spitting by the older locals.
Be tempted to buy a face-mask to avoid the smog pollution.
Remark to your partner how stupid the westerners look in their face-masks.
Wish you had bought a face-mask too.
Eat Peking duck.
See the most amazing historical sites (you know: Great Wall Of China, The Summer Palace, The Ming Dynasty tombs; practically the entire China is a UNESCO site).
Feel inspired by the street fashionistas who look like they’ve just stepped out of the latest ‘Rita Ora-Disney Micky Mouse Club in the future’ music video.
Be wowed by the cuteness of teddy-bear-onesie-wearing Chinese toddlers on a daily basis.
Be surrounded by school children in their iconic shell-suit uniforms.
Learn that Chinese LOVE group tours.
Spend your entire time in China to avoid the group tours.
Generally discover that in some ways we are seriously behind China.
Fall in love with the place big time.