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Trip Report Back In The Land Of The Ming Dynasty

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In less than 13 hours of flying from the United States, I am back in Beijing. This is my second visit in less than a year and one I have looked forward to for a long time. In a day and a half I begin a journey that few on the planet have taken. I am headed to Tibet then to the base camp of Mt. Everest (EBC) and to Nepal.

Temperature wise this is a nice time of the year to visit Beijing and the weather is just as forecast as we make our arrival into one of the most populated cities in the world. Surprisingly or maybe not, what we called something else in the 80's when I lived in Los Angeles is today here called fog.

To have the opportunity to again be in the land that gave us fireworks, poker playing cards and “Kung Fu Panda”, I can forgive this and the burning sensation in my nose as I walk its city streets.

My accommodations in Beijing for the next two days is like a homecoming as I return to welcoming comfort of the Chinabox Hostel. The Airport Express Train for about US$4 to the subway system then it is a about US$0.30 fare and a short walk before I crash from jet lag into a cozy bunk bed.

I wake up feeling refresh around 10pm with Patsy Cline in my head. Getting more comfortable for the cooling evening temperatures, I set out to do a little “Walking After Midnight”.

Stepping out of my room and looking straight up, the sky is clear as an almost full moon beams down on the city. Perfect conditions for a night walk. A stop at a 24Hr convenience store and my first meal in Beijing is a dumpling filled with spinach for US$0.30. I could have had some KFC but not a chance for a traveler like me.

It is nice that at this hour of the night in this city I practically have the streets to myself. At Tiananmen Square there are only a few others like myself enjoying the serenity of the city that I am sure only comes from being out at this time.

Down a side street I do get a little scare as something jumps near my feet. Turns out to be a scraggly city cat looking for a late night snack. Further down the road I think about returning to give him a warning as a rat bigger than him crosses my path.

Fortunately, no more scares during my walk just mystical views of “The Forbidden City” and Jingshan Park under foggy moonlit skies. At Beihai Park, I watch a group of men doing some cool night fishing with neon lights from a street bridge. I wish I could join them.

It is well past midnight as I return to Chinabox snacking on a giant ear of corn like I would at the County Fair back home. It has been about a three hour walk with dinner for less than two dollars and although my nose is still adjusting to the Beijing air, thanks Patsy for the inspiration.

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