Sunday, 2 January 2011

Beijing-January 2011

The thought of travelling to Beijing alone was indeed a nightmare. Unknown land, people and language. But, having been in Singapore for years, I expected no culture shocks other than the language.Right from the comfort given by the familiarity of Changi Airport and meeting dear friend DHY in Beijing, till reaching Singapore back, Beijing is a good memory.Thanks to my good friends who have helped to write essential dialogues in Chinese... 

As she drove out of the Airport car park, DHY was telling that Beijing hasn't seen rain for past few weeks. I could see bare trees silhouetting against grey sky. Winter is colourless. There were lonely nests on tall trees, abandoned by birds.Sun was hesitant to shine through as if lazy to wake up from an afternoon nap. Reaching Chongwenmen, DHY got confused about the hotel location and it was a painful realisation that even though you know Chinese, its difficult to get around and locate places by asking people.

She offered to take me around Beijing and Monday being a public holiday, we started to the Forbidden city by subway. I could feel the vastness and the past glory of it from the first glance. Its not a city in ruins hailing an era of lost power, instead, it stands head high having hosted the mighty emperors of China. Humbled by the vastness of the great minds with great visions for their nation, we moved on. 

By paying a fees anyone can go around the palace which once upon a time was guarded by knights and the smooth pavements which could only be used by the emperor is swarmed by laymen. That's a paradigm shift and proof that time is a silent witness without sentiments or partiality. Its a proof of the cultural heritage China takes pride in. We moved around taking photographs and buying souvenirs. The freezing cold weather was relieved by the golden rays of the Sun. The imperial garden was my favourite. It was designed of trees surviving different weathers and looked beautiful even in Winter. After having the delicious WeiDuoMei wife cakes which DHY carried with her and a chocolate drink at a shop inside the palace we returned back to the main gate, getting lost in between and exploring the ways with the help of a map we bought at the entrance.

We went to Tienanmen Square and then to Qianmen Street. Walking along the street in that cold weather where everything is unknown and everyone is a stranger is a good experience...We went home tired and on Thursday we visited Olympics park... Bird's nest and Water Cube were illuminated by yellow and blue lights...2008 Olympics has given a new life to Beijing, one that is contemporary and rich. An old woman came a long way behind us requesting us to buy an Olympics souvenir...As her words faded away, cold chilling wind froze my mind and body...