[happy tourist] beijing the second time

Almost 12 years to the day, Hubs and I honeymooned in Beijing. This week we went back for more. Of course this time we had a few tag-a-longs.

In 2000, Beijing was a highly populated city (12.8M +/-), even more so now (20M +/-). And we could feel the population difference at every attraction. So. Many. People. Sight-seeing quickly became more about getting through the hoards (and I do mean hoards), and less about discovery and reflection. Not to mention that we actually had a “if you get lost” plan in place for the girls – because, you know, there are So. Many. People.

Part of Project Chinese History/Culture,  included going against every traveling instinct that Hubs has – and hire a guide. Turned out to be a solid plan. Frank, our guide, was/is well informed about the city and its history. He filled us in on Chinese symbolism, customs and more. We heart Frank.

Here’s a look at thousands of years of history, covered in four days in Beijing.

An art district called 798, this was a great place to walk around, see some art, finds some crafts, and enjoy a variety of foods.

The Great Wall of China
makes for a great workout with its multitude of steep steps and slopes.

About 150,000 tourists visit The Forbidden City each day. That’s about 1/4 the number of people that the ceremonial courtyard was built to host.

We enjoyed a very nice lunch at a traditional Chinese themed restaurant. It was a beautiful place that created an authentic dining experience. The iPad menus and Coke cans were the only clues that we weren’t in the Ming dynasty.

Manmade mountains surround this manmade lake which makes up the Summer Palace, used only a few days out the year by the emperors.

Before going to the airport, we went back to the hutong neighborhood that Hubby and I had visited twelve years ago. Although it’s still a genuine look into how the Chinese have lived for hundreds of years, it was certainly a less quiet and intimate peek into the past.

Just a little more.


[different but the same] let’s go to the market

So we’re here. And somewhat settled (as much as you can be in four days).

We’re in a ginormous complex with about 18 towers. It’s a small community. If I were the non-adventourous type, I would never – never – have to leave this complex. It has everything (including a pre-school and Botox services at the spa across the street).

Our first to-do was to stock up on food items. So we walked across the street (I like the sound of that) and ventured into the international market/grocery store. It has great stuff from every place around the world. Including some of our all time favorites.

It made me giggle though to see how things are just a little different, but of course the same. And if you look closely at the Snap, Krackle and Pop’s eyes, I’d swear there was more of a ‘slant’ to them than in the States.