Looking out the train window as we arrived in Beijing, we prepared for cold and possible rain by how gloomy it looked outside. Then we walked out of the train into the haze to be hit with extreme heat and high humidity. The next day we hiked our way up a portion of the Great Wall. By the time we arrived at the top of the Great Wall in the muggy weather conditions, we looked like we had just stepped out of a sauna. Beau and I didn’t really care that we were soaking wet, the cool part was we were standing on the Great Wall of China! While taking a break and trying to absorb this amazing experience, we watched an elderly Chinese couple climb the tall and uneven stairs with their family. When they arrived at the top, the elderly couple posed strong and tall with straight faces for their grown children to take a picture. It was obvious how much pride this family had in their nation’s landmark. Witnessing this moment made us realize that the Great Wall is so much more than a tourist attraction, it is an integral piece of Chinese culture.
Not letting the heat and humidity get us down, we headed over to the Temple of Heaven. We were awestruck by the enormous size and scale of this sight. The temple was filled with local Chinese tourist in groups with matching hats following cute little Chinese girls yelling extremely loud into megaphones. The local tourists ran and pushed their way to different spots in the temple to touch doors, rub tree knots, stand on center points, or walk down the center of paths for good luck. It was apparent that superstition is also a mainstay in Chinese culture. You would think Beau and I would be frustrated after being shoved out of the way to make it to these lucky locations, but it was really comical to experience.
It seems like everything in Beijing is big, including peoples’ appetites. No complaints from us; we love food. So to take in a little more of the local culture, we indulged in Chinese food. We made our way into the back alleys to explore the neighborhoods and find good food.
It become brazenly obvious in Beijing that we liked dumplings. We never passed up the chance to eat dumplings even if we had just finished a filing dinner (dumpling photo: evidence A). Beau also decided to be adventurous and tried a starfish with our friend, Mica. I don’t think either one of them will be adding starfish to their favorite food list.
- In 2008 we (Meggan and Beau) set out to see the world and start a business. Since then we have visited 48 countries and we’re just getting started. Travel and design go hand in hand. Whether we’re on the other side of the planet, or down the street we always find things to inspire us.