Beijing, Forbidden

27
May
2007

Beijing has been very interesting, and raises a huge number of questions for me.

The city is spotless and there seems to be new construction everywhere (probably in prep for the Olympics). I can’t get over how shiny and new everything feels (even the old stuff). The air pollution, while not great, is way better than Xian.

The Forbidden City is OVERWHELMING. There is no other way to describe it. It is massive and impressive as hell, but very difficult to integrate in a 3 hour visit. It is the kind of place that needs to be visited piecemeal over many months. It is so extensive that one really gets overloaded and loses the awe of the place. By the end of 3 hours, we just wanted to escape.

Taxi hailing is a mystery in this city. There are taxi stands that one can go to and SOMETIMES taxis will stop, sometimes not. Outside of that, one SHOULD be able to hail a taxi anywhere, but they take one look at us and mostly keep on going. Can anyone enlighten me? I do seem to be able to get them if I wait in front of a hotel and ask the doorman to hail.

Gay life seems pretty open here, much more so than in India. We went to a nice bar last night called Destination. I met a sweet guy from Los Angeles and we hung out. (I did feel a little guilty I admit, like I should be more focused on local, ahem, cuisine.)