Seeing Forbidden City (2008-05-14)

Halls and LionsWalking around in the summer warmth of the famous Forbidden City, taking photographs of the red buildings, I feel the elation of a first meeting with someone beautiful. Forbidden City is a fling, however, as I doubt I could live in Běijīng knowing that the sky is not misty but smoggy.

There are surprisingly few people in Forbidden City in the early morning as we work our way south to Tiān'ānmén Square. The crowds arrive later and travel north. We hear Spanish in the gift shop and chat with a traveler from Spain.

After Forbidden City, Tiān'ānmén Square, and a disappointing lunch, jet lag lures us into a nap before a Peking Roast Duck dinner at Quanjude. A friend of a friend who is in Běijīng working for Microsoft meets us. The duck there is delicious.

[Added more links.]

Arriving in Běijīng (2008-05-13)

May 12 we were in the United States of America, and May 13 we were in the People's Republic of China for three weeks of vacation (with no visa trouble). Two airplanes and a taxi brought us to Běijīng, to Xiyuan Villa. On the way the language around us changed from English to Japanese (changing planes in Tokyo) to Mandarin.

Běijīng smells burnt. That's my first impression as I sit in the speeding taxi. It's an official Běijīng taxi, from the taxi stand rather than the salesman inside, but still it has no seat belts. The impression of burning stays with me for a week. The back of my throat and my eyes burn. A business associate later says he smokes only in Běijīng. Since he's going to inhale smoke anyway, he says, it might as well taste good. He also doubts the seat belts would save me from anything.

[Added explanatory links.]


Leaving Feistel (2008-05-12)

Feistel at Teri's HouseWe once again left our cat with a friend while traveling, this time for three weeks instead of two months.