I loved China. So much. Want to go back. Right now.
Buuuut, I can’t. I need to go start photographing some weddings to fund this little travel habit of mine!
So for now we’ll just revisit my trip there.
My first evening I headed out to check out Tiananmen Square. It was conveniently located quite near my hostel so I took Beijing’s metro system, which was surprisingly easy to use. The signs are written in Chinese characters, but also in English, and unlike NYC’s crazy metro system, theirs is self-explanatory.
Shamefully, I know nothing more than the basics of the history of the Tiananmen Square massacre. But it was still an interesting place to visit. There was a somber mood hanging over the place.
People were lined up, packed against the fence, looking towards the portrait of General Mao expectantly. I wondered whether there was going to be an event but no, nothing was going on, they were simply contemplating their history.
All the soldiers that I saw were so young. Maybe Chinese men tend to have baby faces but it struck me that they all looked too little to be marching around in uniform!
There are several museums and monuments right in the same area but unfortunately, they close everything down and herd all the tourists out as soon as it starts getting dark, so I wasn’t able to stay in the area much longer.
Baby soldiers everywhere.
Even though this was my first day and I was beyond jet lagged, seeing this historical site of China reinvigorated me. I was so excited to be there and be experiencing a culture so different from my own. In this area in particular, lots of Chinese tourists either snapped photos of me or gestured to me that they wanted photos with me. It was strange and I felt like a monkey in a zoo. But it was also my biggest source of interaction with actual Chinese people. Even though none of them could speak English they’d always show me the photo afterwards and then I’d ask them where they were from and they wouldn’t understand me and we’d just stare at each other and giggle. I have to say, this form of communication is a highly entertaining way to pass the day.
At this point the police were shouting at people to move along and get out of the square — or at least that’s what I assumed they were saying when they angrily shook their fists at me and pointed at the exit. Some Chinese people were actually running and the police were fast-walk chasing them out.
Other Chinese were nonchalantly defiant. No policemen were going to rush this girl!