Saturday, July 7, 2012

Train day 7 and Beijing Day 1

Ever since the night in the yurt I've had a some sort of a pinched muscle in my neck and I haven't gotten a good nights rest since.  Interior China looks pretty much like I expected.  It is a foggy morning and the surroundings are very hilly.  I don't remember going through any tunnels in Russia or in Mongolia, but in China we've already gone through at least 25.  There is no question China is densely populated.  Mongolia has 2.5 million people while China has well over 1 billion.  In Datong we changed from our diesel-electric engine back to an electric-driven locomotive. The hilly terrain gave gave way to flat land and agriculture.  All along the way you could see shanty towns where the locals lived and high rise housing in the back ground.  As we approached Beijing the surroundings change to very mountainous.  The train carved its way through deep valleys.  With our arrival to Beijing our train journey was over.

The mass of people leaving the train station was amazing.  It was muggy and hazy.  I think that is a blessing because this humidity with the full power of the sun would be quite unbearable.  This city is truly a megalopolis.
House before Beijing
The city is 17 million people large, following Shanghai as the largest city in China.  I don't now to express how large this city is...suffice it to say it is ginormous.  After a short stop in the hotel to de-sticky-fy our selves, we left to go into the city.  We were sticky and sweaty again in a matter of moments.  We walked to dinner and ate at a nice Chinese restaurant.  The food was fantastic.  Then we boarded a city bus and went to Tienanmen square.  Tienanmen square sits right in front of the forbidden city, but we will see that tomorrow.  The forbidden city used to extend all the way out and actually covered what is now Tienanmen square.  After that we went to the Wangfujing shopping district.  At the end of the pedestrian area to the left there is a street with all sorts of exotic foods.  This is what I was looking for.  I sampled fried scorpion and cricket, and dog.  My exotic culinary samplings are now fulfilled.  Now I'm off to bed and tomorrow is my final day.

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