Whirlwind: Beijing, China

Our time in Beijing was a whirlwind adventure, as we were only there for four brief days.  Unfortunately, those 96 hours seemed to be focused primarily on this new idea that Kevin, our Communist tour guide, was testing out called,  “Temple-Trotting.”
Okay, I have no idea if that was what he was doing or not, but I do know that we were herded like cattle through too many temples to count.  I think he found it wildly amusing or something.  And excuse my ignorance, but each temple seemed to be no different from the previous.  Needless to say, I literally have hundreds of photos of temples, but I couldn’t give you any names or give you any kind of significance behind the photos.  While the temples are one big, exhausting hodgepodge of a memory,  these are the little pieces of Beijing that I most certainly won’t forget.
TRAFFIC.  But, it’s China–Beijing at that.  We wouldn’t have gotten the full experience if the traffic was absent.
This wall that stretches for miles in the mountains… I can’t remember the name exactly… but maybe you’ve heard of it.
The Pedestrian Market…
…and this is why.
Yes, those are scorpions on a stick.  And yes, they are still alive… just hanging out, waiting to meet your taste buds.
The Bird’s Nest.  (2008 Olympic Venue)
Inside of the Bird’s Nest.
And I won’t forget this because I was having serious stomach issues from some sort of Asian delight I tried at lunch.  Kevin gave us a very generous hour to soak up all that the inner arena offers which was… overpriced segway rides around the track!!!  I found Kevin hilarious at this point.
The Water Cube.  (Another 2008 Olympic Venue)
At this time a cold front blew through and the temperature dropped what felt like 25 degrees.  Wasn’t that a nice little addition to Kevin’s heinous plan for making the Americans miserable.  The Water Cube is fascinating and all, but I wouldn’t have minded observing it from the bus as we drove by.  Standing in the cold for an hour while staring at a cube that is supposed to be the molecular structure of water… far from riveting.
Donald Duck and Minnie Mouse… and their evil twins?
FYI:  Asians get free photos with Disney characters.  Americans pay “five dolla!”
The smiling grass.
 The architecture
was so impressive
in every part of the vast city.
And last but not least:  the squatty potties.  Of which I still have nightmares about.
I realize that most of this sounds negative, but Beijing is a city with so much to see and so many stories to tell.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed every second I spent there.  For it is the good and the bad that create the adventure.  I just wish our time was spent in a lot of different ways at a lot of different places…  I guess that just gives me an excuse to return one day!

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