After six nights on the train & over 7,800 kilometres we made it to Beijing. Here’s David outside the train station.
The accommodation – Jade Hotel.
View from the hotel window. The building in the centre is ‘Beijing’s Obstetrics & Gynecology Hospital’.
To quote Homer Simpson “You guys are commies? Then why do I see rudimentary free market systems?”.
More rudimentary free markets – The Night Markets.
Seemingly over a hundred stores each selling a bizarre array of food.
Including; squid & birds on a stick.
… scorpions on a stick.
… toad or frog on a stick.
… snake on a stick.
… and the worst of all spiders & centipedes on sticks.
We were actually on our way to get dinner but oddly enough I felt less hungry after see this freakshow of food.
David, the birthday boy, with his complimentary bowl of noodles.
Lauren brought some candy floss big enough to feed China.
Video – Jade & Lauren kindly brought a novelty candle for David’s birthday.
It doesn’t matter where you are… a night on the town isn’t complete without a visit to McDonalds.
The ever present Beijing smog. On this particular day (Saturday 12th Jan 2013) the pollution was x8 higher than WHO recommendations.
Rather than risk buying something off the street we went to the tried & true KFC for lunch.
The Forbidden City with a photo of Chairman Mao (the world’s worst mass murder by a substantial margin).
The smog just got worse, and worse.
Forbidden City guard.
Two tree species grafted together. It suppose to symbolise a happy marriage. But based on the history I heard the various Emperors spent more time with their concubines than their wives.
Hill of Accumulated Elegance. “At the Double Ninth Festival every year, the emperors, empresses & imperial concubines climbed the hill”.
Hmm, I think ‘Hill of Accumulated Orgies’ might be a better description.
That’s the sun between the trees!
A Roewe a.k.a a Chinese Rover. I use to own a Rover car in New Zealand so know a bit about the history of the brand & the Chinese take over.
This pooch was scratching at the door wanting to get inside.
Infamous as the site of the 1989 protests & subsequent massacre (estimates of the death toll range from several hundred to the thousands).
A Colombian in Tianamen Square.
In the evening we visited Beijing Olympic village. My back was playing up at this point… & I hobbled around the village like an invalid (kinda ironic given it’s a place of athletic achievement).
… a late Colombian entry for the 2008 Olympics games.
The Bird’s Nest… in the smog.
The Water Cube.
Last dinner in Beijing – at ‘The Great Wall Restaurant’ near the Sheraton Hotel.
Goodbye Beijing. Goodbye smog. We had to get up super early to make the 7.30am flight from Beijing to Tokyo.
Also goodbye the Vodkatrain group. Thanks for being great company during the 17 day trek across Euroasia.