Beijing. By far the biggest city I have ever been to.
We went during the spring festival and witnessed the mass migration when we got to the airport.
Beijing itself had virtually emptied and was eerily quiet- a great contrast to the airport.
First stop had to be Tianenmen Square of course.
A refreshingly open expanse in the middle of a built-up city, it is kept immaculately clean - not single weed is allowed to form between the tiles on the ground, and it is framed by lines of red flags and officially-dressed sentinels.
Next stop was the Beijing planning exhibition museum- showing the entire city on a miniature scale.
This opened my eyes to just how big Beijing is. The whole floor of the museum was printed with a satellite image of the city, with miniature copies of the buildings for only the city centre. The very outskirts of the city are not shown because the space is not big enough.
It is truly immense and to think that such a city has been built to house 20 million people with no natural water sources is incredible.
There were other things to see in the museum too. We particularly liked a room covered by mirrors. We sat in a boat in the middle of the room and we could select the images we wanted to appear on the screen. The image was then reflected in different angles to form a kaleidoscope effect. Very disorienting- seeing yourself looking at yourself.
I have enough fun on the auto-sense escalators: they are stood still, but can sense when a person walks on. Then they start moving. Sci-Fi or what?
As we were in Beijing for the new year, the city lit up with fireworks at night. We went for a walk in the hutongs (narrow streets) to see all the commotion.
Literally everyone had fireworks, firecrackers or sparklers and the noise was deafening. But wonderful to witness.
To be continued...