Other than the Great Wall, nothing about China has ever really screamed “COME HERE AND SEE ALL THE THINGS AND EAT ALL THE FOOD AND SPEND ALL THE MONEY” at me. It always seemed to me that once you get past all the on-the-surface seriousness and the bureaucracy and the red tape and the whole Tibet thing which, let’s face it, just ain’t good, it would be an absolutely lovely place to visit. It has everything you could ever want in a place: history, culture, pretty views, nice buildings, interesting food and lovely people.
But it has never seemed like my kind of thing.
And I’ve never seen the point of spending the time, money and effort on taking a trip somewhere if you’re just going for the sake of ticking it off a list and not because your heart is actually in it.
With that being said, I’m a big fat hypocrite and ended up only going to China to tick something off a list (that something being the Great Wall, of course). But I didn’t really have to put any money or effort into it – just a bit of time. And trust me, my heart was REALLY in that list!
I had to get from LA to Sri Lanka, and there were no *affordable* direct flights, so a stopover was inevitable, and Beijing was actually one of the cheapest options (along with Singapore and various cities in India). My only concern was the whole visa situation – one of the main turn-offs of China as a holiday destination in the first place. Luckily, a relatively new scheme (by relatively new I mean it’s been in force for over 2 years now, so not new at all) in China enables citizens of certain countries to visit the country visa-free for up to 72 hours. It’s way more complicated than it sounds though!
I realise that the title of this post is “In Pictures” and so far there’ve been no pictures and I’ve just been waffling on about lists and visas and how I have never actually wanted to go where I ended up going, but it’s kind of relevant: I just wanted to explain why I was only there for 48 hours. Because tell someone you went to Prague or Barcelona or Dublin or even New York for the weekend and they’ll say “oh wow, that’s nice. Tell me all about it!” Tell someone you went to China for the weekend and they’ll be all like “eh? What’d you do that for?“
And one last thing before I – or more accurately, my fingers – shut up… the reason this post is just all pictures and no actual explanations is because, quite frankly, I had no idea what I was looking at half the time! I don’t speak Chinese, I don’t read Chinese, and most of the time the random buildings that looked really cool and all “Wow, need to Instagram this” were just bog-standard restaurants.
So yeah, enjoy looking at my restaurant photos.