On a recent business trip to China, I had to spend a couple of weeks in Beijing. What struck me immediately, was how everybody seemed so content meandering around each other, all with a purpose and clearly with somewhere to get to, yet untroubled by the inability to go from A to B without the constant need to weave in and out to avoid all those obstacles (bodies) in their way.
Considering the population of the place, government statistics suggest 20.5 million people in 2013, I did not experience any rage or animosity during my stay. It did make me wonder how intolerant people living in the UK have become.
There are a fair few bicycles, buses, and other forms of transport on the roads but for tourists, undoubtably the easiest way to get around the city is by Taxi. I calculated, due to the traffic congestion, the average journey time was around an hour which cost about £2.30, hard to believe I know, but true. For westerners this is a cheap option, not so for the Chinese, leaving only the reasonably wealthy affording this luxury.
There is so much choice when it comes to shopping, you wouldn’t want to be one of those people that can’t make a decision about what to buy without visiting every retail outlet, otherwise you’d be shopping for weeks. Still, if one shop looks busy, there is the advantage that you can simply pop into another, selling exactly the same items.
What I love about Beijing is the hustle and bustle of it all and the variety of restaurants available. Yes of course you need to be careful about where you eat, but I never had a bad meal, the food was great and really inexpensive. The one thing I will do when I return again to this magical place, is take time to see a bit more of Beijing’s historic sites. Nevertheless, I did get to meet the architect who designed the Airport terminal building, a really nice unassuming character.