Today we arrived in Beijing. We have heard many things about Beijing. The shopping reputation had mixed reviews, some said it was good and some bad. The women are supposed to be less beautiful and stylish then Chengdu. Apartments are supposed to be enormously expensive. Our first tour guide, Lisa, told us that Beijing is known as the largest parking lot in the world.
We also heard and worried about the pollution levels. The news has been reporting that pollution levels in Beijing are currently at record high. As we got off the plane the smog did not appear to be worse then what we have seen. But after a few hours many of us are complaining of gunk in our throats. People are not wearing masks as much as Xian, which is surprising. Many of us are wearing masks.
Beijing does feel more modernized and less foreign. We see more other foreign people and we are stared at much less. From what we have seen so far there are more English speakers.
Our hotel was nice, a pleasant change from our less nice (but not awful) room accommodations in Chengdu. The wifi is a perfect connection. Speaking with family members on a clear connection is a relief.
Our dinner was fantastic. The chicken and beef tasted normal like home. Beijing food feels more western and less spicy. Some of us are excited and some are disappointed.
After dinner we went to another opera. Our favorite parts were the plate spinners and the Kung foo. There were pictures on the wall of many important political figures that had been there before.