The thing about taking a 12 hour flight that drops you in a city 15 hours ahead of the one you left is that it can take you a few days to get it all together again.
And so it was that we landed in Beijing, running on fumes after changing time zones from South America to Los Angeles to Beijing over the course of a week.
But despite the jet lag and the confusion (What day is it anyway?) we were excited.
There is so much history in this country it is mind-boggling. And as an outsider who doesn’t speak the language there is only one way to penetrate it – with a guide.
Laura, from China Travel 2.0 was the perfect conduit.
After suviving an impromptu rainstorm we finally connected with her outside the Forbidden City and what ensued was pure magic.
(There are some things that are just too difficult to translate without a guide. )
I’ve eaten Szechuan food at home (it’s actually Sichuan – as in the province I’ve since learned) but not like this.
There were few foreigners making their way along the river; mainly locals – here on bikes built for three, holding kites and kidlets, coasting on pedalboats on the water or simply sitting with friends over a game of cards (with a bit of a wager of course).
In the course of 24 hours Beijing, which had felt foreign and difficult became accessible, friendly and poetic. Thanks Laura.