Where: Trans-Siberian Railway (Beijing)
When: June 2005

The Trans-Mongolian comes to a rest 7 days and 7 nights after leaving Moscow in Beijing. There is so much to love about Beijing. Enormous six lane through roads lined with skyscrapers give you a taste of the emerging power that is China. This is the side of China that the government would like you to see. But behind the buildings is, for me, real Beijing. Tiny streets and laneways filled with outdoor butchers, hairdressers and cleaners... this is a city where cramped accommodation still mean that many people live their lives out on the streets. It makes for wonderful 'window shopping'.

And the food. I spent a full day wandering around the markets in Beijing. All manner of fruits and vegetables out on display, and if you get hungry there is every kind of meat available for tasting - chicken, beef, pork and the more unusual snake, scorpion and cockroach (yum?). The memory of buying tea from a man in the vegetable market still brings back the tastes, sounds and smells of that afternoon. The store owner had hundreds of greens teas including jasmine and toasted-rice green tea. My nose was in sensory heaven and the Grade A Jasmine tea that I eventually bought was so sweet and light and delicate - so much better than anything available in Australia.

But at the end of three days in Beijing I was ready for home. My three week adventure crossing two continents overland had come to an end.

1 comment:

Clare said...

Hi Bear, your blog reminds of a book I read recently, a Penguin Modern Classic, called The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux, a famous American fiction and travel writer from the 70's and 80's. He makes a train journey from London to Russia, including of course the Trans-Siberian Express. You might be interested to read it. Clare :)