A week late with this update – pacing myself. Not much happening locally – did have an interesting conversation with a co-worker that resulted in the statement – “Stella McCartney’s parents are famous too?” – generational/cultural, who knows?
We missed Alexandra –she would have liked all the rules and structure. But she is pretty much on vacation full time so we don’t feel too bad.
We had the same tour guide as a similar trip I took a while back – worked out well as she maneuvered us through the various tourist traps for two days at the Wall and historical sites in Beijing. We then had the last day on our own and when back to Tiananmen Square and the Mao mausoleum. No pictures allowed in the mausoleum – so you are spared.
Temple of Heaven
Tiananmen Square and the Mao mausoleum
We confirmed China does not allow true internet access – at the Great Wall – uploaded to Facebook was super fast, I could see other friends that had checked in. But in most of places had no access to Facebook and our guide had given up on Facebook a while back. Similar story with CNN and other news sites. Our guide told us that the first time she saw picture of the tank in Tiananmen Square in the protests of 1989 was in 2012 – when a tourist had it on their phone.
The other thing that hits you in the face – the air pollution. Air quality index of between 200-300 when we were there, which is heavily polluted – far worse than anywhere in the US now. It was pretty overwhelming and the sun was just a glow. Can’t imagine a 600 plus day.