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Beijing is home of delicious egg tarts, Forbidden City, Mao’s gigantic portret, smog and scams.

Temple of Heaven: an Imperial Sacrificial Altar in Beijing

Blue sky Beijing

When we first arrived in Beijing from Shanghai we couldn’t believe it. Blue sky, great visibility. And then the next day the same, and the next. Propaganda, we thought. Before coming  I have seen videos of smog blanketing Beijing in just half an hour:

And although on all our photos the sky in as blue, as blue can be, we saw  smog arriving on the day of our departure. And it was scary. You could hardly differentiate shapes of buildings, all of them looking hazy and grey. Smog in China has many causes, including pollution from industries and traffic, but it tends to happen more often in the winter, when low temperatures cause electricity demand to soar.

This pollution can come from many sources, but burning coal has been linked to the largest number of air pollution deaths in China, causing 366,000 premature deaths in 2013.

Seeing smog like this, feeling how hard it is to breathe and knowing that pollution in Poland is at some days similar to that in China I can see what the apocalypse will be like.
Aaaand now some more culture:

So that’s how it used to be
And how it is now. Some truths are just international.
Dougong : caps and blocks. They support they roof beside beams and columns. And make the temples and palaces look all fancy and Asian 😉
Nathan can’t belive how much culture he saw.
Making new Moon (doors).

Forbidden City. One of of 980 buildings.

And now something new:

Birds Nest National Stadium by Herzog & de Mauron.
Great views from the roof. Who can spot a Golden Ship Looking building?
One day before LOL Final ( we’ve been told ).
Beijing National Aquatics Center.
Big Underpants by OMA.
Best of China. Dinners with new friends and reunions with old friends.

Beijing and scams

We heard stories from many people during our travels  about how they got scammed in Beijing. With friendly students inviting them for wine, for a tea ceremony or  a dinner. It always ends up costing a LOT. We thought we knew better, having travelled all through China for past three months. However we got taxi-driver-one-on-one-scammed. Long story short, we went out at night and a taxi driver wanted really to get punched by a big Australian guy, to get him to pay. It didn’t work out, but he still tried pulling it off. It cost us 8 hours at police station, lots of stress, Nathans 20 minutes in jail, a fake confession, two swiss franks and any positive feelings we might have had for the capital.

I spelled polished curses on him and the whole police station, so there will be justice one day. Till that moment, you have been warned.

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