Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Sunday in Beijing
On the Sunday I walked from my hotel to Tienanmen Square to have a look around. In principle it seemed easy, I had to walk out of the alley my hotel was in and go left and keep on walking. I passed the main Beijing railway station. I would like to say that I was freaked out by the number of people, but it wasn't so bad. I have actually walked on Oxford Rd in London close to Christmas. Man, there were a lot of people on Oxford Rd in London then. Somehow I thought I was lost. I always have problems reading the crappy maps in the Rough guides to cities. I was just staring at a map posted on a wall, when somebody helpfully sold me a bigger map to Beijing for 20 yuan (you can buy a cheap meal for that amount). I then walked 20 yards and I found that I was at Tienanmen Square. It is a really big square. I walked around it for some time. The museums at the side of the square were closed for refurbishment. There were a lot of people selling flags and other tacky souvenirs. The hassle from the street sellers wasn't any worse then in any European city I have been to, but you may be surprised that in a "communist state" that there were any people selling stuff on the streets at all. A good thing about Tienanmen Square was that there were a lot of free toilets around. Even though I didn't drink any beer (because there were no bars around), access to toilets is a big deal I am willing to admit that my political priorities may be a bit skewed, when I am happy about the free toilets in a city square that is famous for a recent massacre. I am willing to admit that my political priorities may be a bit skewed, when I am happy about the free toilets in a city square that is famous for a recent massacre.