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Row of Bicycles Parked in Beijing
#5184 Row of Bicycles Parked in Beijing
#5184
Three Friends in Beijing, China
#5181 Three Friends in Beijing, China
#5181
Moat on the West of the Forbidden City, Beijing
#5180 Moat on the West of the Forbidden City, Beijing
#5180
White Male, Forbidden City, Beijing, China
#5178 White Male, Forbidden City, Beijing, China
#5178
Young Woman at the Forbidden City
#5177 Young Woman at the Forbidden City
#5177
Mao Portrait, Entrance to the Forbidden City
#5176 Mao Portrait, Entrance to the Forbidden City
#5176
Crowds in Tiananment Square, Beijing, China
#5175 Crowds in Tiananment Square, Beijing, China
#5175
Entrance to the Forbidden City, Beijing
#5174 Entrance to the Forbidden City, Beijing
#5174
Main Entrance to the Forbidden City
#5173 Main Entrance to the Forbidden City
#5173
Man on a Bicycle near the Forbidden City
#5171 Man on a Bicycle near the Forbidden City
#5171
Tower in Beijing
#5169 Tower in Beijing
#5169
Chinese Official Observing Crowd
#5167 Chinese Official Observing Crowd
#5167
The Great Wall of China Climbing a Mountain Range
#5166 The Great Wall of China Climbing a Mountain Range
#5166
Chinese Soldiers Descending Stairs
#5165 Chinese Soldiers Descending Stairs
#5165
Man Sleeping in a Beijing Hutong in an Armchair
#5164 Man Sleeping in a Beijing Hutong in an Armchair
#5164
Chinese Toddler in Father's Arms
#5163 Chinese Toddler in Father's Arms
#5163
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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