Wednesday, May 2, 2012


So, after a couple of days in Shanghai, I woke early and went to Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station, to catch the fast train to Beijing. This railway station was enormous - the biggest station that I'd ever been to - and finding my train was no mean feat. However, after some abrupt customer service at the information desk, I managed to find my platform with plenty of time to spare.

Several hours later, I was arriving in Beijing! I was, unfortunately, suffering quite a painful foot injury at the time. However, with the help of the hostel, I found an international medical clinic nearby, and it didn't cost too much to see a doctor, who prescribed some anti-inflammatories, and told me to rest my feet for a couple of days.

So, the next day, I decided not to travel too far. Fortunately, I was just down the road from Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Unfortunately, both of these involved a lot of walking. Both were quite an amazing site to behold. I was ever-aware of the police presence, which added a level of solemnity when wandering through the infamous square. And then the Forbidden City was something else - you could walk around it all day and still not see everything. I spent a good four hours there, before deciding to seek out some good street food, and braving the stinky tofu.

Friday morning began with venturing down some alleyways in the area, looking for where the locals were eating. I was staying in Nan Luogu Xiang, which has many food places, but they're not really the early-morning breakfast kind of places, and the ones that were open were kinda pricey. Fortunately, I found a place, and then played the try-to-order-food-and-get-something-completely-different-but-still-awesome game. After a couple of days of seeing the ceramic yoghurt jars around the place, I decided to try some as well. It was a little odd, as it was thicker than normal drinking yoghurt, a little bitter, like greek yoghurt, and served at room temperature. Still, as a staple breakfast food, it did the trick!

The rest of the morning / early afternoon consisted of more wandering around the area, visiting the Beijing Drum and Bell towers, and Jingshan Park, which is the highest point in Beijing, overlooking the Forbidden City. I then ventured to the Poly Art Museum, which holds four of the bronze figureheads of the Zodiac Fountain which was looted in 1860 when the Old Summer Palace was infamously destroyed during the Opium Wars. 

Next: Great Wall Swing Out 2012 - the Beijing Lindy Exchange