My Life - So Far

"Unbounded ambition makes an obscure existence simply impossible for me"
Lucien de Rubempré

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Beijing I

I had my flight to Beijing on Tuesday, 9/11, which is exact the same weekday as in 2001 when the two airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City. I was pretty early at the airport in Zurich-Kloten so I even found time to have a coffee in the Airside Center Starbucks Store. Boarding time was 5:30PM but my flight was delayed. In Vienna all connecting flights were negative, except the one to Beijing! I was flying with Austrian Airways, but I was slightly disappointed of the service they did. The airplane was old and the board entertainment system too. And for you engineers out there, I have an assignment: Why can't you build soundproof airplanes? It's that noisy in there because of the aircraft turbines I had to listen to my iPod with maximal volume and the music was still very low. During the night we could see Moscow below, an immense sea of lights down there.

Finally having arrived in Beijing I took the airport shuttle to the city centre, and then I struggled to find my hostel. There was no subway in that direction, no busdriver understanding even a single word in english, even the taxidrivers didn't know the location and they as well spoke no english at all. Anyway, a taxi drove we at least in the right direction and the rest I walked even though I was tired as hell. I had to share my room with a finnish guy who took the transsiberian railway from Moscow to Beijing. We talked for a while and I then explored the neighborhood by myself. I walked to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Outside of China, the square is widely known for the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 when over 500 students lost their lifes. The square is 880 metres south to north and 500 metres east to west, a total area of 440,000 square metres, which makes it the largest open-urban square in the world.
I met a chinese couple from Shanghai and went to drink tea in the hutongs, which are narrow streets or alleys around the Forbidden City. After that nice experience I went back to the hostel and immediately fell asleep...


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