Why you should visit Beijing?
Dr. David Silber 19.08.2010 rerelease 23.05.13
China is one of the most important economies in the world and in a couple of years China is most likely to become the world′s biggest economy. Beijing is the capital of China, home of the country′s most influencial people and 17 million other citizens of Beijing are living the dream to become as rich and as famous. People nowadays have more freedom and higher income than any generation before. Also many people start their own businesses, galleries and restaurants. Therefore you will find here:
- 63,000 restaurants with typical chinese cusine from all over the country
- historical sights like summer palace, forbidden city, parts of the great wall or the temple of heaven
- modern architecture with a renewed skyline, bird′s nest olympic stadium or the alien egg
- large food, electronic, silk and antique markets with up to 50,000 bargain hunters and 3,000 shop keepers
- blissfull quite parks and ancient hutongs (alleyways)
If this sounds not very exotic to you, it is because Beijing is today not very different from any other big city. Trams are crowded, but they are not more crowded than the trams in London. Shop keepers want to sell their stuff, but they are not more (or less) annoying than shop keepers in Istanbul or Vienna. The car drivers do not pay much attention to traffic rules, but car drivers in Rome do not care either. So apart from the language and the food, living in Beijing feels nowadays very like living in any other big city. If you want to see something from ancient china you can either go to the museum, to the main tourist attractions or visit some of the last remaining hutongs.
Right: This chinese calligraphy translates as "It is better to see once than hear one hundred times." (Bai wen buru yi jian.) It means that I can describe the scenery or a the city to you, but I can only give you my impressions and my perception. When you see the the city for yourself, then you become aware of the nuances, which are important to you.
when to go?
Many people think that the best season to visit Beijing is in autumn. While the summer is to hot and the winter is to cold, autumn is very pleasant. I think the autumn in Beijing is similar to early spring in Germany (april). While it is quite cold in the mornings and evenings, during the daytime it can get pretty hot. In autumn you can comfortably travel to parks, do sports, go sightseeing or wall climbing (great wall).
about the author
I came to China in 2010 after infrastructure and hotels were renewed for the olympic games. This made it pretty easy to get along in Beijing. During studying surface chemistry for my PhD thesis, I visited the IVC conference and also spent some time in Beijings universities. Working with chinese students gave me the oppurtunity to pick up some basic chinese pretty fast but it took me another year (and two language courses back in germany) to even begin to write a short letter. Even during my short time in Beijing it became clear to me that Beijing is a city, which has changed in the past beyond all recognition and is still changing everyday. So when I share my impressions with you, I have to warn you that this is just a snap-shot of one of the most exciting cities of the world.
I would like to thank all my chinese colleagues for showing me around in their beautiful city and for their good companionship. Special gratitude goes to Y. G. and J. L. for their invaluable assistance and patience. Thanks to M. M. for her crucial insights.