Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The road more traveled

It's been difficult to decide where to go since I started working for an airline. When the actual flying portion of the trip is relatively inexpensive, there is a strange feeling of empowerment which comes with strings attached. First off, flying as a standby passenger has limitations. While it is cheap and often free, you are also the first piece of cargo to be jettisoned if the flight fills up with real customers. So while going 'anywhere' may be possible, 'anytime' can be the difficult thing, so one must select airports to travel to in off-peak season times. In the current global economy, traffic to China has slowed a good deal.

In traveling through China and seeing the Great Wall and Forbidden City and other famous must see places, it's easy to start feeling like the views and experiences you are absorbing are very similar to those of literally millions (and potentially billions more). Richard Nixon travelled to this same part of the Great Wall in his trip to China in 1972, I guess I never would have thought we had the same travel tastes.

Bicycling through Beijing, is awesome. While dangerous and a bit frightening at times, I would highly recommend this to anyone who can handle themselves on a bike. The hostel we stayed at actually offered free bike rental, and I saw this as an opportunity to experience Beijing as much of the population of Beijing does everyday.

At Wangfujing there is a snack street, which is famous for having grilled scorpions, starfish and other exotic things on sticks, in fact offers many tasty treats for the more westernized tongue. I ate candied pineapple and grapes, along with grilled squid, lamb and chicken and some others. All in all the place has a variety of tasty things to try, and a great place to pull back some of your food inhibitions. We found lots of good food in the streets all around Beijing. All that said, I realize going to an open eatery loaded with tourists the same day a swine flu case was confirmed in China, is probably not the safest thing. But at least I have lived to blog about it.


Zach said...

I'm jealous

Brock said...

Did you say scorpion? That is pretty off the hook.

How did you do out there with just English? Or did you learn some Mandrin?

Marc Jorgensen said...

Yeh scorpians. English phrases with pointing works fairly well actually.