In the pekinese lair

beijing

Colossal, massive, dense, impressive, surprising, I don’t know how to describe my first impression of Beijing.

I am trying to get used to local life. Food is usually a good way to start. I decide to have a bit.

Avoiding Junk food or touristic restaurants, I quickly have to understand mandarin. None menu is available in english.

As a rule, food is pictured on the wall. However, it’s pretty hard to make the difference between a dumpling of pork and a dumpling of …

A good way to order the right food, I mean something you would enjoy eating, is to check out what locals eat. They don’t mind being disturbed during their meal. Actually, Chinese become more talkative when you show interest in their food.

Fortunately for me, Chinese youth learns english at school. Frequently, my order is taken by a 8-10 years old kid.

Starving day, I am having noodles. The show is both inside my bowl and in the kitchen. Noodles are prepared just in front of me. «The noodleiolo» takes the dough, stretch it, cut it and stretch it again, beyond understanding for a none discerning eye. He throws them into a broth and 2 minutes later, I am served. I am in heaven and all of that for less than 0,5 euros. (less than 1 dollar).

Full, I am ready for a ride in Beijing. The rule here : “there is no rule”. You’ve better be the most cunning otherwise you get stuck in the pack and then you are screwed.
I am having fun. Local cyclists don’t understand what I am doing here.

I always make the same mistake about distances. On the map, everything looks so close but it isnot. Checking the scale more attentively, I realise how spread out is Beijing.

I haven’t told you yet why I decided to come to China.

During a night of july 2006, I woke up in China. The Great Wall was under my feet. I was alone. I was running fast, really fast. I felt like flying. Obviously I was dreaming but I liked it. Then I promised to myself to have a look at it one day.

I am now on my way to the Great Wall. I hope I won’t be disappointed.

I am going to Badaling, one of the most visited Great Wall sections because renovated. In fact, many parts of  the construction are in ruins. 3728 miles long  (6000 km), it is impossible to protect it all.

Great Wall of China, Badaling

Great Wall of China, Badaling (photo by will-on-board)

The place is astonishing. This stony snake following surrounding hill peaks and going in that rocky scenery takes me aback. That’s a wonder.

I pace it. Passings are steep and slippery. I am surprised that there are so many Chinese and seldom foreigners, may be a lifetime travel for them.

The visit lasts only 2 hours but my walk on this monument will be stuck forever in my mind.

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