Brrrrr…. it’s cold in Beijing

11 04 2010

When we arrived in Beijing the weather was very nice, 20°C and sunny, better than in Hong Kong, which lays almost 2,000 km. south of Beijing.  When we woke up on Friday however the weather seemed freezing cold to us even though it was about 13°C but quite windy.

Despite the cold we went to the Forbidden City – probably the most famous site in China.  We walked from our guesthouse to Tiananmen square and walked through the Gate of Supreme Harmony, which sports a nice portrait of Chairman Mao.  The Gate overlooks a massive courtyard where the rulers of the past could address up to 100,000 people at the same time. The Meridian gate marks the beginning of the Forbidden City and we joined the constant stream of hundreds of people flowing through gates.

We mainly followed the south/north axis of the city that contains all the biggest halls and buildings.  I don’t know if it was the weather but we felt that the city was a very cold place and not very inviting.  There are big gray plazas between great halls that all looked similar but no one was allowed to enter the halls.  It wasn’t until the Imperial Garden that we felt any warmth in the place.  Due to the cold we didn’t stay too long in the Forbidden City but we’ll return to Beijing before we go home and have already planned to return to the Forbidden City and explore it further.

Most of the afternoon went into searching for warmer clothes.  We wanted to find something cheap and that wasn’t too easy since we were in down-town Beijing.  I found a nice Burberry coat for $4,000 and an Armani coat for $2,000 but that wasn’t exactly what I was after :)  Finally we found a sweater for me for $16 and a nice running jacket for Elínborg for $7 and two pairs mittens for $7 so for $30 we got what we wanted.

On Saturday morning we walked for an hour to see the Lama Temple, the most renowned Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet.  The weather man had said that today would be colder than yesterday but we were happy to see the warm sun and the weather was quite nice.  The Lama temple was beautiful and we could sense the peacefulness that surrounded the temple as soon as we arrived.  The whole temple stunning but the most famous artifact is a 26m. or about six stories high statue of Buddha that was carved out of a single white sandalwood tree – quite impressive.

We ended the day by eating Beijing (Peking) duck at the Beijing Dadong Roast Duck Restaurant, highly recommended by Lonely Planet.  We had been looking forward to this moment of months and were quite excited.  Unfortunately the duck was overpriced and even though it was good it wasn’t any better than at Nings in Reykjavík.  We have not given up on Peking duck and will continue trying until we find the perfect duck!

We have been quite surprised that Beijing feels like the most westernized place that we have visited on the whole trip.  Maybe westernized is not the right word – it is most like what we are used to in the west.  Maybe it is the climate that makes the difference but the people most like the people back home apart from the different faces of course.  They are similarly dressed and have all the latest gadgets and all that stuff.  The traffic is also most like we are used to with mostly cars on the streets.  Maybe there are more bicycles outside of down town Beijing – we’ll find out soon enough.

After listening to Lost on Planet China we has some implanted ideas about China and the Chinese but so far many of them have proven wrong.  The Chinese are not as rude the author proclaims, they are not spitting or blowing their noses at every step and the menus in restaurants are in English and the food is quite good so most things have a more positive spin that we thought :)

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2 responses

11 04 2010
mamma

Synd að þið hafið orðið fyrir svona vonbrigðum með Cina en það lagast kannski þegar þið farið út á land. Hér er svipaður hiti og í Cina 10 – 15°C. Vorið er að koma held ég.
Mér líst bara ágætlega á nýju pósurnar ykkar (tilbreyting). Peysan verður vonandi til þegar þið komið heim, allavega þegar ég fer í gegn um R-vík á leið minni til Canada. Kveðja…

11 04 2010
othordarson

Ég myndi nú ekki segja að við höfum orðið fyrir vonbrigðum með Kína – sumt er betra en við áttum von á og annað ekki. Forboðna borgin er svo sem eina sem við höfum orðið fyrir vonbrigðum með og svo kannski veðrið eða öllu heldur hitastigið :) Annars er bara gaman hérna og gaman að kynnast nýrri menningu.
Hlakka til að sjá peysuna :)
Kveðja
– Ö r n –

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