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Woman Shopping in Beijing Mall
#4268 Woman Shopping in Beijing Mall
#4268
Beijing High-Rise Apartment
#4267 Beijing High-Rise Apartment
#4267
Beijing Airport Flight Board, Tourism Staff
#4266 Beijing Airport Flight Board, Tourism Staff
#4266
Forbidden City Moat in Beijing
#4161 Forbidden City Moat in Beijing
#4161
The Great Wall of China
#4160 The Great Wall of China
#4160
Crowd at the Great Wall of China
#4159 Crowd at the Great Wall of China
#4159
Great Wall of China
#4158 Great Wall of China
#4158
Photographer at the Great Wall of China
#4157 Photographer at the Great Wall of China
#4157
Couple at the Summer Palace, Beijing, China
#4156 Couple at the Summer Palace, Beijing, China
#4156
I visited Beijing, China with William, a good friend I made in Shenzhen. He and I spent about four days there together, after which my wife, Arlene, arrived from Manila to join us. William and I had traveled to Guilin together first before flying to Beijing, and his help was essential to making travel plans (he's Chinese and I could not get a grip on the language myself).

My wife was mistaken for Chinese by vendors, taxi drivers, and others, who spoke to her in Mandarin. She speaks Tagalog, Ilocano, English, and Japanese, but doesn't know Mandarin. She would respond "English, please" but they would continue in Mandarin.

By sheer coincidence, we were in Beijing the week of "National Day", 2004. This meant attractions like the Great Wall, Forbidden City, and others were at their peak of tourist traffic. For some reason, the government honored the celebration by giving these attractions special, shorter, "holiday" hours. This is why there are such huge crowds in my photos of the Great Wall. The crush of people there bordered on dangerous, and I was physically separated from my wife and William at the Great Wall.

Arlene and I stayed at a hotel in the Hutongs of central Beijing, north of the Forbidden City. It didn't work out so well, and we moved to the Red Wall hotel, which I would recommend.

Flying out of Beijing was a problem. The airport has two terminals, and we were careful not to exit our taxi until the driver showed our tickets to an airport staff person who confirmed which terminal we needed; we were directed to terminal two, and exited the taxi. Once inside, we were told we must haul our luggage by foot back to terminal one (and hurry). Back at terminal one, we were able to check-in, but on the concourse, we were told again we must return to terminal two.

We made it on the plan by guessing who to listen to. We were actually on two separate flights, and as I took off, I couldn't be sure if Arlene made her flight or not.

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This page last modified:2007-11-17

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