It is truly unbelievable to be sitting in the midst of this enormous, booming, modern city, that has really only become what it is within the last 10-20 years. The people here, I must say, are overall much more friendly and enthusiastic than those of Russia, and I feel much more at ease here for some reason. In Russia, we all seemed to notice that smiling was a rarity, and while it may not seem like a big deal, it really makes a big contribution to the effect the city has upon you. In China, people smile--alot, at that--and it really makes for a much more positive atmosphere.
Of course, it is puzzling to me because while I feel happier here, I am very well aware of some dark undertones as well. Police are everywhere, and I still can't help but feel uneasy that in Tienamen Square, not a single sign memorializes or even acknlowedges the tragedy that occurred there. So, there is yet again, just as in Moscow, a contrast. I suppose contrast is everwhere, but these two cities certainly serve as great examples.
The history in this city is remarkable, and I love that the amazing buildings and palaces of the past are intact and in such great shape. Of course, this makes for quite a swarm of tourists nearly every famous place one goes, but it is quite worth the business to see such sites. And, most of all, I cannot wait for our trip to the Great Wall!
Overall, the experience here in Beijing has been incredibly positive--the people, the sites, the sounds, the food, and just the overall feeling. I can't wait to see how it compares to Mongolia...