beijing (北京)

In this town…:

  • You can actually walk on many of the pavements (strangely, they’re not all used for bike storage and outdoor shops like in other cities I’ve been to).
  • You can get an “automatic guide” for the Forbidden City in Esperanto (so the sign suggests).
  • Pizza Hut appears to be some odd, TGIF-style “family restaurant” that sells all sorts of western food, not just pizza.
  • The taxi drivers are very polite and very helpful (suggesting good places to eat as you kill time on the expressway coming into town from the airport, finding the number for and ringing up the China Aviation Museum 40 miles out of town to find out how to get there).
  • There’s a great cheap jiao zi restaurant just around the corner.
  • You can fool the cheap trinket sellers at the Great Wall into thinking you speak great Mandarin if you can pronounce “bu-yau” properly.
  • There’s plenty to watch out of the hotel window (see? the soul of a city is in its streets).