Which One Is Beijing?


When you first go to China, you assume that everything will look Chinese: red lanterns, curvy roofs, narrow streets with hordes of people walking down them.

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Sorta like this. You immediately think “China,” right?

You think things will possibly be dirty, crowded, stuck in the 1800s and the era of the emperors, where everyone wears long pigtails,or at least in 1950s and the era of Mao, with everyone wearing blue or gray Mao suits.

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Obviously, they don’t!

You think maybe people will still get around in rickshaws carted by Chinese workers, and maybe women still practice foot-binding, and maybe they’re still cooking over fires or something.

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Totally unrelated cool house. I want to live there!

And then you get to China, and you see what it’s really like. And it’s nothing like what you imagined. Tall skyscrapers tower into the air. Cars overrun the streets. People are everywhere, and they wear American clothes, and many of them even speak English.

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This is what most of Beijing is like.

It’s a modern city now, and as such, isn’t very different from cities in the U.S. Obviously it’s a ton bigger and has a gazillion more people–but it’s still a modern city. And it even has a modern skyline.

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See? Skyscrapers. (But it’s not usually that pretty with blue skies and such!)

So don’t let your historical assumptions created by reading Gladys Alyward or Hudson Taylor fool you–China has changed!

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7 thoughts on “Which One Is Beijing?

  1. Pingback: 2015: Year in Review | Milk and Pickles

  2. RC

    Oh, so obviously it’s somewhat smoggy in Beijing. Do you get to see any beautiful Colorado-like sunrises or sunsets? Or does the smogginess act more like fog and make mornings and evenings more grey and bleak and lacking in the color?

    1. Colorado sunsets are inimitable. End of story. But occasionally we do see some color in the sky here–just not very often! If we lived higher than the fourth floor, maybe we’d see more sunsets, though.

  3. RC

    Some of those buildings, especially the yellow one with the arches, are so cool! I would live in that yellow one as well! 🙂 It’s funny you mentioned Gladys Alyward, because I have wondered if China was still much like what she saw and dealt with. I guess that answers that question. But obviously there are still more of the traditional “Chinese” buildings. Are there very many or are they mostly gone by now?

    1. Isn’t that yellow one cool (in spite of the crooked picture-taking angle)? And it’s sorta funny that the yellow car matches it too.

      We don’t usually see many traditional looking buildings. The ones in this post are from “Old Beijing,” and there don’t seem to be too many of them left, at least not here in Beijing. When we go to Xian, I’ll let you know!

      1. RC

        Haha. I hadn’t noticed that the car matched. 😛 I was paying too much attention to the building behind it, I guess. How big is “Old Beijing”? Where is Xian?

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