A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: istol

Beijing

Beijing is...WOW.

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...

Posted by istol 21:59 Archived in China Comments (0)

Moscow

Moscow was a quick trip--I felt like one second we were there, and the next second we weren't. But it was interesting, to say the least. It was such a city of contrasts--so beautiful, so ugly, so clean, so dirty, so rich, so poor, so modern, so primitive. One second you are walking amongst high-end, expenseive shops and buildings, and the next you find yourself in the midst of a bleak, soviet-style high-rise housing development. It was a strange feeling to be surrounded by such old, rich, historical sites like the Kremlin or St. Basil's Cathedral while trendy attired young Russians walk by. Russia is a country in an obvious, somewhat awkward transition, and it makes me wonder whether or not these vivid remnants of the past will ever be able to blend smoothly into the modern present. I feel as if this two camps are at constant odds with one another. Yet, the city is certainly humming with people, with culture, and with history. Perhaps this strange combination of old and new has come together in a way that works, or perhaps it is simply a matter of time before one side gives way to another. Time will tell...

Posted by istol 21:51 Archived in Russia Comments (0)

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