When you exit the station immediately you notice two things; persistent taxi drivers and polluted air. There are industrial chemical plants and mountains on one side of Beijing and sea on the other.

Beijing is modern, huge, highly populated, political capital of China.

Beijing station.

All industrial waste entering the atmosphere is blown in by the wind from the sea and gets trapped by the mountains and remains in the city.

I was told that an average day in Beijing air pollution is five times higher than the standard of safety set out by the WTO.

In some places Beijing resembles Soviet era from the 80’s photos, square tall houses with small windows and granite facades. Broad, polished clean, empty streets, all this creates a sharp contrast in difference between Beijing and Hong Kong or Shanghai.

Tiananmen Square.
Red flags on square.

China was the place I desired to visit most, more than any other Asian country. But since the preparation of documents for my visa, I realised that it would not be so easy. Before I went to China I was also concerned that the Chinese can be very inhospitable to visitors.


People in the arch of Tiananmen square .

All my ideas about Chinese hostility faded away on the second day, when people started approaching me, touching my skin, and watching me eating. They were asking where I am from and why I do not speak Chinese.

Some Chinese really do not care about the whites, they just doing their usual thing – sleeping anywhere they find appropriate.

Two sitting tourists and sleeping Chinese.
A candy sculptor makes a horse candy out of caramel as the boy blows in it, the process is very similar to glass blowing.
A candy sculptor makes a horse candy out of caramel as the boy blows in it, the process is very similar to glass blowing.
Locals are obsessed with card games.
Locals are obsessed with card games.

The 70th anniversary celebration of the end of the Second World War and victory over Japan was held in the city. China lost 20 million people fighting the Japanese in WWII and many here believe the island nation has yet to fully apologise for the genocide during that time, as did Germany.

Children in pram with flag symbolic.

Chinese people really have something to celebrate, they raise their patriotic spirit by painting their faces with flags and wearing strange flower clips in their hair.

Girl with hair clippers and Chinese flag.

Children playing with a strange wooden chip thing that clicks and rolls over.

Playing kids.
Flowers in the hair of guys.
Flowers in the hair of guys.

The lion is the symbol of power and authority, so China in general is full of sculptures. Although there were no lions in China ever.

Some of the Forbidden City delights.
Tourist in the middle of the Forbidden City.
Delights of Changpu River Park.
Delights of Changpu River Park.
Lotus lake.
Lotus lake.
Locals playing Chinese chess.
Locals playing Chinese chess.
Standard residential area few kilometres away from Forbidden City.

Beijingers say that the air is polluted also because of the number of vehicles on the roads. Here the sun looks like this.

Sun sets down in foggy sky.

Some sort of the lottery is carried out in Beijing everyday, where cars with certain registered license plates are chosen to be banned from going on the road the next day. This is reported to the owner of the car in person and printed in the newspapers to make everyone else aware. If the owner of that license plate goes on the road the next day he faces a fine. This is done to reduce the amount of traffic and CO2 emissions. It’s for this reason that wealthy Chinese own two cars.

Example of communal speed roads; half of the road is paid and pretty deserted, free part is well used but busy.

For those who do not have a car, but have wheels, there are separate roads or fenced off lanes. In Beijing scooters, bicycles and pedestrians often use one track.

A tricycle speeding past a buggy with a child.
A tricycle speeding past a buggy with a child.

The good thing in Beijing is that the scooters run on electricity or gas. It’s good for two reasons; less noise and lower CO2 emissions. The bad thing about the electric scooters is that they are so quiet that pedestrians don’t hear them and so there is another problem – beeping scooters. Because of this some areas have started introducing no-beeping signs. I heard that problem is solved in electric cars in the U.S. with speakers that simulate the sound of the motor.

Scooter sales and rental store.

If you don’t own any wheels you take metro.

Parents are helping boy to pee in a can.

Overall Beijing seemed a fairly plain and uninteresting town to me.

At night Beijing is full of dim light.
At night Beijing is full of dim light.