Finally the day has come, we arrived in Beijing! WOOP WOOP! We landed around 11.30 local time, and being the adventurous people we are, we decided to give the Beijing metro system a chance. It was a great choice, it is much simpler than it first seems, and it is also very very cheap. We picked up on a few Chinese habits really quick, e.g. push in and out of the metro if you want to make it to your desired destination, and you can cross everywhere and anytime, as long as the others are going as well. As my friend said, just make sure there are two chinese on each side. We managed to find our hostel easily, without being run down by any vehicles.
Our Hostel is on one of the Hutong’s, which are basically a food/shopping street kind of allies. While the street is loud and full of people, our room is as silent, as if we were sleeping in the middle of nowhere, and it also has AC, which we are super thankful for.
At the afternoon, we met one of my ex school classmates from Hungary, Rita, who has been living here for 5 years now and speaks fluent Chinese (super cool). She and her boyfriend gave us a little tour and gave us some tips and tricks. They also made us experience Chinese food as we otherwise couldn’t have. In this tiny diner there were no pictures of food, absolutely nothing in English, and it seemed super chaotic for us, but Rita and her boyfriend helped us with ordering a few (like 8) things that they thought we should try. All I can say is that it is very very different from what we are used to as “Chinese” or “Asian” food in Europe. Some of the food was actually quite nice, like the dumplings, some beef pastry kind of thing, noodles with some meet rague thing and a deep fried pastry filled with red bean paste.
We were already passed out sleeping at 9 O’clock local time, because we only managed to sleep 1hour on the plane. Our first impressions: There are a lot of misconceptions and stereotypes that are not true. It is clean, it is safe and it is not extremely different. There are a lot of people, which was a bit overwhelming, and our lack of Chinese makes us a bit uncomfortable. It is super nice though, and exciting. There are some buildings that are just majestic, and walking around in the alleys is a great experience.
We are looking forward to getting to know this great city better!
Eszti and Simon