I keep forgetting Beijing is further north of the country meaning it’s quite cold, nor did I do a good job of packing, I went to the Chinese Opera in a flano. All class.
It was fun exploring the old town of Hutong, about 20mins on the subway from central city, next to the Lama Temple. It’s great that Beijing still maintained its old historical buildings in this small town, leaving its history much to be desired for. Walking around the area everything feels at peace, very zen and tranquilized. I visited the Lama Temple and the Confucius Temple. The Lama temple has many large Buddha statues where many locals come pray and give thanks. I was lucky enough to make it just in time for a midday dance performance at the Confucius temple, if it wasn’t for that there wouldn’t be much reason to visit there.
One of my favourite photos from the trip. A simple man painting a simple picture of a tree.
A quick stop at the popular tourist destination of the Pearl Market where you can find many fake goods, make sure you bargain hard! I didn’t buy anything, and to be honest I was put off by the sales people constantly grabbing my arm to pull me into their shops. But other than that, if you’re looking for clothing, handbags, jewellery and toys this is a great place to get a bargain!
That evening I decided to immerse myself in some Chinese culture by going to the Opera. It was hmm….an experience. First of all, the show was at 7.30pm which meant I would have to take the subway because of the bad peak hour traffic, which is also the worst time for public transport too. I waited at the station and watched 4 trains passed me by because it was so packed to the point where no one could get on nor off. By the 5th train I squeezed myself on, ok fine I got pushed on, only to feel like literally sardines in an air tight can. It’s no wonder people get sick so easily here, everyone is breathing on each other. Thankfully my station was only one stop away.
Don’t let my germophobia deter you from using public transport in Beijing, remember there are 25 million people in this city alone – that’s the entire population of Australia condense in one city – mind boggling I know. Their subway system runs smoothly! A train every 3 mins, it’s super fast, great advertisements everywhere (I secretly love checking out the advertisements on subways) and there’s pretty much a subway station near every tourist hot spots. Just try and avoid peak hour which is 5:30pm – 7:30pm.
The Peking Opera is not for everyone. I know this because some people walked out 10 mins into the show. It’s a very high pitch, highly entertaining show, filled with bad dialogue, colourful costumes and acrobatic dance moves. I loved it. Anything that is completely cheesy and over the top, is right down my alley way. I spent most of the show giggling to myself at the poor English translation on the subtitle board.
Sadly this is my final full day in Beijing, it has been a quick trip, but one to remember!
Next stop Hong Kong!