Well, I’m finally sitting on our lounge, Radio 3 playing some classic music I’ve never heard before and Mirinda fast asleep upstairs. It was a longish, uninteresting flight home (though appeared to be full of tour groups rather than individuals and I guess that’s really what you get with China) with a rather horrid little customs man at Heathrow who seemed to be looking for counterfeit jewellery.
As I reflect on our trip to Beijing, I am somewhat divided about it. Although the cons far outweigh the pros, the pros were pretty good. So, in order to explain what I mean, here they all are.
- Food – we loved the food. Apart from the one microwaved thing at the Forbidden City, every meal we had was delicious. All but the hotel food, was also quite cheap. This goes for food from street vendors as well as in restaurants. We also had a lot of fun with the waiting staff.
- Sites/Sights – apart from the Olympic Village, we loved everywhere we visited. The only thing that impacted on a number of the sites/sights was the pollution.
- Cost – most things are incredibly cheap (not coffee though) which just makes you spend more money which is very good for the Chinese economy.
- Pollution – this will be my over riding and enduring memory of Beijing. It was so disgusting on the heavy days and the air is something you can’t really avoid.
- Public Toilets – ignoring the fact that they are mostly the primitive squat types which they seem to prefer to the sit down model, they stink. Every street has a block (they don’t all have their own in the house) and the stench is horrendous.
- Spitting – I know this should just be ignored but, really, they don’t do it on the subway or in department stores so why do they have to do it on the street?
- Rickshaws – I was really getting annoyed with these guys by the last day. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, they seem to think it’s okay to ride up to you, smile and tell you you want a rickshaw. I found these guys a lot worse than anyone else offering me stuff. And they weren’t even real rickshaws.
I’m glad I went but will not be returning. We always keep something for going back to places we visit (France is littered with them) and we obviously didn’t see everything in Beijing, but we’ll not be seeing them. It’s not like the pollution’s going to get any better!
As usual, it was a great break but I sure am glad to be home.