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Silhouette of Pagoda and Trees at Sunset
#5162 Silhouette of Pagoda and Trees at Sunset
#5162
Chinese Soldiers Descending Stairs
#5161 Chinese Soldiers Descending Stairs
#5161
Marble Boat, Lake at the Summer Palace, Beijing
#5159 Marble Boat, Lake at the Summer Palace, Beijing
#5159
Back Lake and Suzhou Street, Summer Palace, Beijing
#5158 Back Lake and Suzhou Street, Summer Palace, Beijing
#5158
Back Lake and Suzhou Street, Summer Palace, Beijing
#5157 Back Lake and Suzhou Street, Summer Palace, Beijing
#5157
Back Lake and Suzhou Street, Summer Palace, Beijing
#5156 Back Lake and Suzhou Street, Summer Palace, Beijing
#5156
Chinese Tower, Summer Palace, Beijing
#5155 Chinese Tower, Summer Palace, Beijing
#5155
Pagoda-Type Patio by the Front Lake, Summer Palace, Beijing
#5154 Pagoda-Type Patio by the Front Lake, Summer Palace, Beijing
#5154
Beijing Freeway with Yellow Bus and High-Rises
#5153 Beijing Freeway with Yellow Bus and High-Rises
#5153
Worker Climbing Construction Crane, Beijing, China
#5152 Worker Climbing Construction Crane, Beijing, China
#5152
Coal Stacked in a Beijing Hutong
#5151 Coal Stacked in a Beijing Hutong
#5151
Chinese Father and Sons on Bike Together
#5150 Chinese Father and Sons on Bike Together
#5150
Young Boy Riding on the Back of a Bicycle, Beijing
#5149 Young Boy Riding on the Back of a Bicycle, Beijing
#5149
Older Chinese Woman in Wheelchair, Road in Beijing
#5148 Older Chinese Woman in Wheelchair, Road in Beijing
#5148
Man Carrying Old Woman, Bicycle Cart, Beijing, China
#5147 Man Carrying Old Woman, Bicycle Cart, Beijing, China
#5147
Man Carrying Woman, Bicycle Cart, Beijing, China
#5146 Man Carrying Woman, Bicycle Cart, Beijing, China
#5146
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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