Where is Bryan?

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Beijing: Week 11 and Farewell

All good things come to an end, like this cyclist's ride, which ended a moment after when he fell off his bike drunkenly...
My final week was, by all accounts, lovely. I had committed to leaving China and, as such, dedicated my final days to enjoying Beijing as much as possible.

On Monday I was supposed to work at an event but was told I wasn't needed at the last minute, so I took some time to visit the Lama Temple, which had been on my list for weeks. It was an incense-filled visit to, what I think, is the city's prettiest temple with all of its Tibetan influence and its 85-foot tall statue of Maitreya, successor to the Buddha. The Portuguese president was in town for the event I was meant to cover and joined me (well, not really) at the temple for a visit. Check and check.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Beijing: Week 10

One of my favorite images I took in Beijing...
By now it's no secret that I'm out of China, but I still had a few days to enjoy Beijing before I peaced out to the U.S. The entire cultural aspect of living in this city never got old, and I made sure to immerse myself in it as much as possible.

I did one last epic walk past the lakes and through the hutongs, taking advantage of another seriously sunny day. I oriented myself towards the bell and drum towers, some landmarks that were cute enough to explore before doing some shopping at the super touristy Nanluoguxiang hutong. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Beijing: Week 9

The Bund at night...
Well, week 10 was not so much about Beijing as it was about Shanghai. I took a long weekend to explore my neighbor to the south, taking the train about 5 hours through some unremarkable landscapes, ultimately arriving at what would become one of my new favorite places.

For the record, Shanghai is amazing. Let's just start there.

Perhaps Beijing, in all of its cold, dirty, capital city drear, has lowered the bar for me, and my expectations for Shanghai were unfairly low. After three days, however, I was seduced. Maybe it was the post-colonial charm, the excitement of the skyline views from the Bund, or the food, or the cycling, or, more likely, all of it.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Beijing: Week 8

Teddy's not impressed with anything these days...but wow!
Spring is here, Beijing is warming up, and I am in the swing of things. I am getting good at not wasting time, moving through the work week with the goal of maximizing my days off, whenever they are. Week 8 was one of the better ones...

First, I spent a day treating myself to lunch at a Muslim restaurant with halal food made famous by the Uyghur people of China. If you don't know about them, go ahead and start Googling it and you'll understand more about why this is significant. Without getting into the politics of it, I can attest that the lamb was spicy and delicious, and Time Out Beijing did a good job of picking out this restaurant for me.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Beijing: Week 7

This bear, I tell ya, he gets around. Week 7, which feels like eons ago, took us to Olympic Park, site of the 2008 summer games. The Chinese were going bonkers over the blossoms on the trees, and I admit it was rather pretty. After a few photos, though, I felt the need to move on with my life.

We found the Bird's Nest, the iconic stadium, and Teddy posed like the ham he is. The park itself is underwhelming, apart from the blossoms, I guess, but it was fun to walk through and imagine all of the athletes and international stars who once walked the very same park. I have been in Olympic parks and stadiums before, but this one felt bigger, like Beijing was really trying to impress someone.

They've got the winter games in 2020, so I guess it worked.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Beijing: Week 6

These clowns...
Another week, another story. Last week I joined a group of professional tourists to go visit part of the Great Wall. Waste no time, right?

Mutianyu is one of the most famous parts, but it's not actually that touristy. Not yet at least. A large portion of visitors are international travelers. Michelle Obama and other First Ladies and dignitaries have visited it, but it's got less kitsch than a more well-traveled part like Badaling. OK, so they did take us into some sort of 3D history experience that I could have done without, but the wall itself was as expected. Stunning.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Beijing: Week 5

We had a day, Teddy and I.
I don't know what was better this week, visiting the Temple of Heaven or winning pub quiz. Given that one rewarded me with some UNESCO heritage architecture and the other rewarded me with a keg of beer, I think it's pretty clear.

The photos are highlighting a very blue theme in Beijing last week. Strolls back from the flea market and through the park at the Temple of Heaven were once again reminders that air pollution is not a constant problem here. Near-constant, but not constant.