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December 10, 2005

Paradoxical Beijing

We spent Thursday in Beijing. I would have liked to update the blog while I was there, but there is not full Internet connectivity there. Sometimes it connected, but most of the time it did not (seemingly whenever I considered creating a new blog entry).

In any case, it was below freezing the whole time we were there, which was not usually a problem as we were in meetings and not hiking through the city. But it certainly contrasted with Singapore earlier in the week.

I did not get out to see any of the city this time around, although I did notice that there has been a lot of construction over the last twelve months - Beijing rivals Tokyo for the number of buildings that are going up. They have the Olympics in 2008 and the government seems committed to making the city a showcase before then. I did take this picture from our car as we passed Tiananmen Square - it is the entrance to the Forbidden City and Mao is prominently displayed.

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Despite all the modernisation, one of the primary methods of transport is bicycle (although not nearly as predominant as it used to be). And this is where bicyclists go if they need tires, air, or whatever else it takes to keep your two-wheeled transport on the go. I do not think there will be too many of these left in 2008!

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By the way, one of the coolest restaurants in the world is in Beijing and we went there. It is the Red Capital Club, and never mind the teasingly irreverant attitude. It is the site and the food that are important. It is tucked away down an alleyway and impossible to find unless you have directions. There is not any walk-in traffic. As we went at night and I am useless with the camera then, there are no pictures.

We had a good dinner and tucked ourselves away in the bar for a few bottles of Chinese wine. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I had one of the all-time worst hangovers when I woke up the next morning (after four hours sleep, so maybe it is my fault). I was on my way to the airport and it was one of the longest taxi rides I had.

Posted by Kirk on December 10, 2005 12:16 PM

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