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Re: [BKARTS] Beijing China

Hi Teri,

I was in Beijing in early April two years ago.  I was with a fairly large 
group, so didn't get to do much sight-seeing on my own.  I would suggest 
you visit Jingshan Park.  It's on the back side of the Forbidden City.  
The tall hill in the park was made in about 1400 when the moat around the 
Forbidden City was created.  In the park you will see a real slice of 
Chinese life.  There are people of all ages in groups all over the park, 
ranging in size from 2 or 3 to over 100.  They are singing, playing 
instruments, dancing, playing hacky sack, doing tai-chi, etc.  It's 
fascinating to watch everyone.  Just inside the park, near the entrance 
there were people with huge brushes writing on the pavement with water.  
It was beautiful.  I understand it's a form of mediation, as the writing 
evaporates and whatever was written goes to heaven (or wherever it goes - 
my intention is not to belittle, I'm just not clear on the beliefs).  The 
writers were willing to let forneigners try their hand at it.

And here's a warning, the air quality can be HORRIBLE.  I mean AWFUL!  In 
the winter the coal plants are burning very unclean coal and exhaust 
emmisions controls are seemingly unknown in the entire country.  Also, 
the winds from the Gobi Desert can bring in dense dust storms to Beijing. 
 Even if you don't experience a dust storm, the residue of them is 

Oh yes, traffic is horrendous, and there are beggers who wander through 
the traffic looking for handouts.

Yes, you can find vegetarian food, but be warned, some of it is firey hot.

Overall I'm so very, very glad I was able to go, but at times it was not 
pleasant to be there.

Take a digital camera and an extra memory card.  There's so much to see 
and plenty of signs using wacky English, i.e. "Man Washing."

Best wishes!


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