Sunday, September 16, 2007

Beijing, but not beyond

Our two day train journey from Lhasa across Tibet brought us finally to Beijing. Unsurprisingly full of building work as they prepare for the Olympics, Beijing was hazy, dusty and busy. Despite the modern malls and shops, the huge old communist state buildings and higgledy piggledy hutongs made it very easy to imagine Beijing as it was just a short time ago - a sleepy communist backwater of a city. The hutongs form by far the most interesting parts of Beijing. Sadly they are being demolished at the rate of 10,000 a year to make way for anodyne modern buildings.

Our long overland journey from Nepal ended here and unexpectedly, so did the entire trip. We had planned to go on to Moscow via Mongolia on the Trans Siberian Express but a family bereavement brought us home early and put our travel plans on hold for a while. We've spent the last couple of months at home but hope to be on the road again soon. We look forward to seeing you there.

Scary paramilitary uniform on a distinctly non-threatening 16 year old policeman. Picture behind showing a cuddly granddad outfit on a the most successful mass murderer of our age, bless him. Dozens of squads of these teenage policemen constantly patrolled and marched in formation around Tiananmen Square.

Birds at the Forbidden City.

Mary in the Forbidden City.

Barbecued crickets anyone? How about a nice blackened scorpion?

Calligraphy brushes in the antique district of Liulichang.

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