Skip to content

Making a Trail

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Sooooooo, now that we are out of Beijing, Mike and I would like to send our full report on what we experienced. There are highs and lows, but for the most part, our consensus is that Beijing is a shithole.

Things that make Beijing a truly unbearable place:

1. The pollution

I’ve lived in Los Angeles before. I thought, oh smog, I can deal with that. There is no describing the pollution quite as vividly as we exprienced it. For being a sprawling city with skyscrapers and supposedly cool architecture, we couldn’t see any of it because visibility was limited to about 0.5 miles in front of us. Everything was covered in soot as if there was recently a large fire or volcanic eruption. When you walk a few blocks without a mask on, you can taste the dirt/soot/pollution in your mouth. We rocked our N95 masks the whole time and luckily I had no asthma attacks. Below is a comparison of LA pollution particulate matter report and Beijing, etc:


2. Everything we saw looked run down, dilapidated, and poorly maintained.

On our first full day in Beijing, we went the Olympic stadium and surrounding villages, because we heard they were impressive. Though the summer olympics occured just 6 years ago, all the buildings looked like they had suffered through a nuclear winter. Everything was covered in dirt, run down and just overall depressing.
Later on, we asked a tour guide about visiting the zoo to see the pandas. She hesitated and then admitted that the pandas look dirty and sad, and maybe not worth the visit. I settled for hugging this cleaner panda in the mall, the only place in Beijing that looks like it is well-maintained.

3. There is no order, no rules, and people hawk loogies everywhere.

If you’ve ever been to Chinatown in SF, you know the loogies are a given. However, the drivers here could give Israeli drivers a run for their money. They don’t drive in lanes, they zig zag all over and if they see a pedestrian, I really think they actually speed up to try and just miss you for fun. There was the expected line-cutting and lots of yelling.

I could go on, but I don’t want to be even more of a negative Nancy. I’ll let Mike post about the some of the positive stuff. 🙂