Back to Beijing

28 Nov

I haven’t been in Beijing for about six months and recently had the opportunity to go back for work twice in the last month.  The first time I went I had heard that the pollution was bad, but I hadn’t realized just how bad until I landed.

Getting in to the car I immediately sensed a strange taste in my mouth.  It was as if a little bit of dirt had gotten into it.  I didn’t notice it at first, but even after a drink of water the taste just wouldn’t go away.  The visitor who I was accompanying took it pretty hard and I knew in his mind, Shanghai was a better city.  It’s funny how the pollution can change your view.

A perfect cup of tea - and a way to wash out my mouth from the grit

A perfect cup of tea – and a way to wash out my mouth from the grit

Because it was his first trip though, I was able to revisit some of my favorite places in Beijing – Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.  Even with the gray skies, I still had a good trip.

Posing with Chairman Mao - note the gray sky

Posing with Chairman Mao – note the gray sky

The lions in front of the Forbidden City are just as imposing under gray skies

The lions in front of the Forbidden City are just as imposing under gray skies

This shot was taken just as we left the Forbidden City - I noticed the reflection in the water and thought about how I could capture it.  One of my favorite photos recently.

This shot was taken just as we left the Forbidden City – I noticed the reflection in the water and thought about how I could capture it. One of my favorite photos recently.

My more recent visit the situation was flipped – Shanghai has had high PMI 2.5 levels for the last week and Beijing was clearer.  I flew in the evening and I picked up the most beautiful sunset out of the window as I skimmed across the sky.

The sunset welcomed me back to Beijing on my second trip

The sunset welcomed me back to Beijing on my second trip

I’m happy I’ve made it back to Beijing.  It is a completely different city depending on the weather.  What places fall into that category for you and what times of year should be avoided?

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11 Responses to “Back to Beijing”

  1. ladyofthecakes November 28, 2013 at 8:53 am #

    I do remember Beijing’s acrid taste in the back of my throat like I’d swallowed acid or something, urgh. But yes, the city is impressive, and it has lovely parts to it.

    • gkm2011 November 28, 2013 at 11:30 am #

      The history there is incredible and on a clear day, very beautiful for sure.

  2. Every Day Adventures in Asia November 28, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

    I miss having the opportunity to travel to Beijing and Shanghai both! Especially love your ‘reflections’ pic – excellent.

    However pollution… definitely one of the downsides of living in modern Asia. The highly oxygenated crisp air of my hometown in Canada can be quite heady for those of us now accustomed to the equivalent of smoking a couple packs of weird toxins daily!

    • gkm2011 November 29, 2013 at 10:55 am #

      True – I sometimes forget that I wore my contacts every day in the US which would not ever be possible in China. Am soaking in the clean air as I type!

  3. Valerie November 28, 2013 at 11:51 pm #

    Omaha and the winter – of which I will likely be there next month for xmas. BRRRRRRR!

    • gkm2011 November 29, 2013 at 10:55 am #

      Happy Thanksgiving! Keep warm….

  4. pollyheath November 29, 2013 at 12:24 am #

    It looks so amazing there, but every time I hear about this pollution nonsense I can’t imagine traveling there, much less living!

    • gkm2011 November 29, 2013 at 10:56 am #

      For traveling it is doable, no worries – come visit! Living takes more serious planning,

  5. CrazyChineseFamily November 29, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

    The pollution is really something I hate about China. Everytime I spent several weeks in some of the cities I get this nasty feeling in my throat which persists even up to two weeks after leaving China. I just hope they get something done with the pollution problem in the next years to make a stay in China so much more enjoyable :)

    • gkm2011 November 30, 2013 at 5:24 am #

      Very true, fingers crossed that the government takes it seriously.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The tenth quarter review | 中国 Jumble - January 25, 2014

    […] started my new job and made a couple of trips to Beijing which I enjoyed.  Sometimes you need something new to remind you of what’s just around the […]

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