After a lengthy but uneventful flight from Ottawa via Toronto, I finally landed in Beijing! This is the furthest from home I have ever been and I am really excited because I am not only visiting the capital of one of the oldest cultures in the world, but I am also lucky enough to have a local to show me around. Lu Zhen met me at the airport and we began our Beijing trip together. I left Ottawa at about 10:00 am on the 26th of January and landed in Beijing around 4:30 pm on the 27th. After I landed and we checked into our hotel, we went for supper near the hotel. Needless to say, the food was as authentic Chinese as it gets. A strategy I use to deal with jet lag is to never sleep on transcontinental flights. So when the time finally came, I slept like a baby.
Then next day, we went to the forbidden city. The Forbidden City was the Palace of the old emperors. We each rented audio guides, which detect your location in the palace and recount interesting facts about the all the various temples and court yards. After the palace, we toured an interesting district called Nanluoguxiang. This area featured lots of old shops in traditional one story houses. Effectively, it was the opposite of the palace, a place where commoners used to live, eat, drink, buy and sell. I saw some fans and parasols which would interest the girls, but they were a bit overpriced since we were in a tourist district and it was only my second day, so I didn’t make any purchases. Finally, we returned to the hotel to freshen up and ended the evening with a lovely supper with Zhen’s mom, their family friend. We had some amazing Roast Duck and a bunch of other stuff.