China - Beijing


Getting from Ulaanbator to Dushanbe, Tajikistan required a very long and also expensive flight, that had stops in Beijing and in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The stop in Beijing was long enough to permit me to take the airport express subway line and head into town. Once I realized that I was given a transit visa, since I had to change terminal, I was out of there. By the time I got into town, the Forbidden City was closed, not that it mattered, I have spent enough time in there, and some military formation ceremony, which I did not hang around for, was slated to happen and they sent the young recruits out to clear the space in front of the large gate. Not willing to put up with that, I left, as did many Chinese. Next to the actual Tiananmen Square, where I was not allowed on, because of some staged event, I got the rare opportunity to enter, for a scalped ticket, one of the two large, normally off-limits, government buildings that flank the square. While I was neither interested in the patriotic movie they were playing for the visitors, nor would I have understood it, I wandered around and enjoyed the fantastic antique Chinese artwork that decorated the building. I think that is the banquet and official visitors reception building. I am sure that the various buildings are connected by tunnels, to keep dignitaries from having to brave the usual visiting crowds and traffic around the square.





My waitress at the excellent airport restaurant, on the lower level near the food court, where you can eat cheaper fare





Since my last visit to China, just in 2008, I notice innovative new ways by the Chinese businesses, encouraged by the government and the flagging demand for Chinese goods in the rest of the world, to sell their products locally. Here a pretty novel way of advertising on the subway. I don't know how it is generated or where. I could not find a projection source, but these ads travel with you for a while, on the windows, then vanish, sometime later to be replaced by a different ad.


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