Travels in China – Xi’an to Beijing

Beijing railway station October 2002

Beijing railway station October 2002

Our group of  fourteen, including a guide, Langer,  had left Xi’an on the night train to Beijing.  Langer had foolishly told us that because of the danger of getting separated we’d have to follow his flag. (Some travel groups have jackets, badges and baseball caps!) We told Langer that if he got his flag out we’d take it from him and break it in pieces. He obliged.

The Temple of Heaven, Beijing

The Temple of Heaven, Beijing

Our first day in Beijing and off to the Temple of Heaven and the Forbidden City

Morning exercise at the Military museum, Beijing, October 2002

Morning exercise at the Military museum, Beijing, October 2002

As a group we were to have four days in Beijing, but as this was the first leg of a year travelling, I stayed on for another twelve days. Here morning exercise on stilts outside the Military Museum.

Morning exercise to music at the Military museum, Beijing, October 2002

Morning exercise to music at the Military museum, Beijing, October 2002

Morning exercise is very common all over China and while many westerners would feel more than slightly embarrassed prancing around in the street, often accompanied by music, Chinese people seem to have no such reticence.

Tiananmen Square, Beijing October 2002

Tiananmen Square, Beijing October 2002

I managed to get this shot from the subway entrance, just after being moved along by one of the many police that patrol the Square.  I said “some stains you just can’t  remove” but he didn’t understand.

Tiananmen Square Beijing, October 2002

Tiananmen Square Beijing, October 2002

A group of Hui Chinese visitors from Gansu Province.

Beijing  - the canary rescued, October 2002

Beijing – the canary rescued, October 2002

This young woman managed to lose the canary she was carrying, which promptly flew into the middle of this busy road junction. Amazingly she weaved her way through the traffic to capture it.

Beijing,  The Forbidden City from Jingshan Park, October 2002

Beijing, The Forbidden City from Jingshan Park, October 2002

Jingshan Park overlooks the Forbidden City and apart from the views, has two temples with empty plinths and a notice “Buddha stolen by eight Allied Armed Forces 1900”.

The Great Wall at Simatai, October 2002

The Great Wall at Simatai, October 2002

I made two trips to the Great Wall, the first at Simatai which in 2002 was still very much in it’s original state before renovation work started.

The Great Wall at Simatai, October 2002

The Great Wall at Simatai, October 2002

Looking back toward the place where the chair lift deposited me. The tower was the twelfth I’d reach and not noticing the path around it I clambered up and though the window opening.  On the far side of the tower I noticed a coat on the wall and just hidden from view, a guard who pointed his rifle at the “Dangerous no walking sign”.

The Great Wall at Simatai, October 2002

The Great Wall at Simatai, October 2002

So after negotiating his fee – about £1.25 he allowed me to pass and climb to the next tower……

…… where it was possible in the high winds to understand the sign.

The Great Wall at Mutianyu, October 2002

The Great Wall at Mutianyu, October 2002

My second visit was to the far more developed Mutianyu site.

The Great Wall at Mutianyu, October 2002

The Great Wall at Mutianyu, October 2002

It was the end of October and northern China is not a place to be in the winter without winter clothes, there was already ice on the streets, so it was off the the heat and humidity of Singapore.

Next:   The road to Juizhaigou

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