Son Noah and Howard

Daughter Sarah

Wife Rebecca


Mongolian Adventurers: Leo Murray, Mongolian Horseman, and Howard

Monday, July 26, 2010


I'm trying to see as much as I can in a week in Beijing. I've seen the Forbidden City (where the emperor lived and held court), Tiananmen Square, Mao's Mausoleum, Lama Temple, Confucius Temple, Temple of Heaven (where the emperor gave offerings to the Gods for a good harvest), and the final two days I will travel to the Wall, see some Ming tombs outside the city, and visit the Summer Palace. So lots ... but it is exhausting and not the most inspiring architecture. The emperor architecture is all on such a grand scale, meant to intimidate, I think, that I do not find it most exciting.

It is very hot, and I have found both the three wheeled vehicles and taxis unreliable, so it is all either on foot or by subway. The subways are good and cheap but still lots of walking is required. I think perhaps the Olympics and the current atmosphere of greed in China has affected the taxis and other hucksters with the tourists, so that Beijing has been the least interesting and enjoyable part of my trip. Chinese come up frequently and want to talk with you and I have become immune to it because everyone seems to want to take you for a ride for your money, one way or another. A typical ploy, to which I have not succumbed, is for someone to speak kindly in English to you and invite you to a tea house. You proceed to share some tea and then receive an exorbitant bill of $50-$100 USD. I have met several tourists who were taken for that ride, and others who have been robbed in the streets.

The hostels and hotels always are friendly and safe so I appreciate that. Also internet service is readily available. Although the Chinese seem very business like and hard-hearted, I have had enough acts of kindness, particularly from younger Chinese students, to leave me with at least a mixed picture of the Chinese. It definitely has been interesting to travel here but I am not sure I care to return. You don't enjoy it so much because of the difficulties of travel.

So I will be glad to end this part of my journey and be on to Mongolia. I will take the train there July. 31 - Aug. 1, stay at the Palace Hotel in Ulaanbaatar, then go for 17 days on horseback until Aug. 15 when I return to Ulaanbaatar.

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