Saturday, 07 May 2016 20:46

Stopover in Beijing between train rides - Photo gallery

Chinese landscape Chinese landscape

After 3 days in Shanghai we left to Beijing by train - a 5-hour ride at 300 km per hour on a high speed train. They are clean and comfortable - but more on that later.  

We left smoggy Shanghai in the late morning and most of our ride was a big haze of drizzle and fog – outside the window and inside my head. I needed to catch up on sleep/deal with that jet lag.

Arriving in sunny Beijing

To my big surprise Beijing was sunny and clear when we arrived! During my first visit there about 10 years ago I had not gotten to see the sun once for smog. My host’s brother, who lived in Beijing, picked us up at the train station and took us in his super fancy car to a nice hotel nearby. I convinced them that I’d be able to find dinner on my own so that they could spend some family time - and me some bathtub time. My room had a bathtub with a view of the room and the park outside the window!

A dangerous looking dinner and a phone call for rice

It was dusk and chilly and windy so I just went on a short walk around the block and then back to the restaurant across from the hotel. Not exactly a mistake, but certainly not the best choice of my trip. It was a slightly grimy place with not a word of English anywhere.

The usual ‘picture book’ was produced and I got gawking and settled for the least conspicuous looking stuff which ended up tasting okay. However, there was no rice to be seen, not in the book and not even at any of the busy neighboring tables. I tried showing with my hands, drawing a picture... nothing - just stares. I finally called my host from my local phone ‘Could you just tell this dim-witted bimbo to produce a simple bowl of rice for me?!’ is what I wanted to say - of course I was much more polite than that and did get some rice eventually.

The most amazing thing about my meal, however, was the assorted ‘stuff’ on my table - all looking even more alarming than my meal! As always, the beer glass was a shot glass - especially hideous at that. "Good pictures at least." I thought to myself.

The pleasures of a hot bath and travelling some more

I returned to my room across the street with the fantastic bathtub , slightly disgruntled by my mediocre meal, but soon cheered up by the wonderful bath with a view.

The next morning we left early - it seems to me now we were forever leaving early - I got a quick shot of the many blooming trees outside my window and of a hotel employee dusting the woodwork at the entrance and away we went in a train station shuttle bus.

The train station was bright (and draughty), but we were soon off to Dalian in the East of the country, through varied landscape, interspersed with clusters of skyscrapers looking  like settlements accidentally dropped from outer space. 



Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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