Oh China, where to start. So much to see, so little time. We were fortunate enough to be able to make a layover in Beijing a bit more extended and spent 3.5 days there. Not enough!
The weather was a bit of a shock, coming from plus 30, sunshine and the beach, to minus 5, snow, and frost. It was preparation for home though, where we were greeted by balmy minus 20 weather.
The first thing we noticed was the smog in Beijing. It was bad, we couldn't see very far ahead because of it, and people were always wearing face masks to protect their lungs.
Beijing had a beautiful airport, new and shiny and huge, but easy to navigate. It was stunning,our favorite airport. We took a taxi out to our hostel and immediatly started shivering! Our hostel was down a skinny little hutong (alleyway) so it was a good intro to Chinese streets and driving habits.
After a little rest, we headed into the chill to Tienanmen Square. I kid you not, we put on every layer we could think of. But more were needed! So we went shopping.
Funny side note: As we stepped onto the ridiculously crowded subway, Andrew immediately smoked his head on the hand rail going across the door. He was a little taller than the average Chinese person!
Tienanmen Square area was just huge. Massive. Enormous. A really big place. Really neat to see a place where on one side were old buildings and the other newer and modern.
Behind us is the picture of Mao and the gate where you can eventually get to the Forbidden City, where the emperors lived. We were too late to go that day as we had planned due to the flight delay, which was too bad, and we never ended up getting back there.
We tried to fit in amongst all the other tourists, but as they were all Chinese, it did not quite work. Some people asked to take a picture with us, which was such a funny feeling. It makes you wonder if you are funny looking or if something is wrong with your hair, or your fly is open. But it was just because we were white (we think), which was really odd, but there were a lot of Chinese tourists in town from the outer villages for the Chinese New Year. Interesting to be a minority.