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Pedestrian Tunnel in Downtown Beijing, China
#4377 Pedestrian Tunnel in Downtown Beijing, China
#4377
Forbidden City at Night, Beijing, China
#4376 Forbidden City at Night, Beijing, China
#4376
Chinese Soldier Outside the Forbidden City
#4375 Chinese Soldier Outside the Forbidden City
#4375
Portrait of Mao Above Gate to Forbidden City
#4374 Portrait of Mao Above Gate to Forbidden City
#4374
Entrance to the Forbidden City
#4373 Entrance to the Forbidden City
#4373
Asian Tourist at the Forbidden City
#4372 Asian Tourist at the Forbidden City
#4372
Entrance of the Forbidden City, Beijing
#4371 Entrance of the Forbidden City, Beijing
#4371
Summer Palace Temple, Beijing, China
#4277 Summer Palace Temple, Beijing, China
#4277
Stone Ship, Summer Palace, Beijing
#4276 Stone Ship, Summer Palace, Beijing
#4276
Round Doorway at the Summer Palace, Beijing
#4275 Round Doorway at the Summer Palace, Beijing
#4275
Summer Palace, Beijing, China
#4274 Summer Palace, Beijing, China
#4274
Chinese Traffic Cop
#4273 Chinese Traffic Cop
#4273
The Forbidden City at Night
#4272 The Forbidden City at Night
#4272
Chinese Soldiers near Tiananmen Square
#4271 Chinese Soldiers near Tiananmen Square
#4271
Chinese Soldier at Attention, Tiananmen Square
#4270 Chinese Soldier at Attention, Tiananmen Square
#4270
Oriental Architecture, Beijing at Night
#4269 Oriental Architecture, Beijing at Night
#4269
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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