When I arrived in Beijing, China, in August, 2016, I wavered back and forth between staying for one year or leaving after three. Now that I am leaving, and heading to Austin, Texas in a couple of months, it has got me to think of all the lovely and beautiful ways I've made this city my home.
With only a basic level of Chinese learned, I've managed to navigate my way through parks, temples, palaces, bars, restaurants, grocery stores, theatres, hutongs, bookstores, and other countless gems, with relative ease.
How did I do it? Being friendly, and always smiling. I'm also not above hand gestures or miming what I need. The locals are really helpful; they're patient and are willing to "explain" things the best way they know how. I also walk most everywhere too. If I don't need to take a taxi, I don't. If I can walk to a park, temple or historic building from my apartment, I do. I think that makes me more approachable than the average expat. I also love taking the subway.
Though Didi, the Chinese equivalent of Lyft or Uber, is widely available -- and I do use it, I try not to too often. Anyway, I've lounged away afternoons in Jingshan Park, Fragrant Hills, Beijing Botanical Garden and Summer Palace; as well as Temple of Heaven, Temple of Earth and Temple of Sun Parks.
Therefore, I have a plan.
Starting on Thursday, September 20th, and running through Monday, November 19th, I plan on incorporating at least one piece of Chinese history, culture and/or pastime into my daily routine.
That could be anything from walking through a famous hutong where an emperor once lived; attending a Peking Opera (pictured above); witnessing a shadow puppet show, sitting in awe of a Shaolin Kung Fu performance, or simply visiting one of Beijing's many art galleries or history museums.
This is essentially my glorified way of saying goodbye to the places I love! But to also share new places for you guys to visit.
So. I will share my travels here once a week; essentially rounding up everything I did over the course of seven days. But Instagram will be home base for the day-to-day postings.
Lastly, feel free to hit me up or post comments about the things you think I should be doing. Because I'm hella sure there are plenty of places I'll miss. Nonetheless...
Let the adventures begin!