21 Januar 2014

Beijing, China, Timezone GMT +8

When my last work flight landed, we dove into the smog you see on the photo, I imagined that the air must be really bad. A strong inversion layer pushes the dirt down on the people in Beijing. I didn´t think it would be 26 times worse than the maximum value they consider for polluted air in Europe...
I had packed some breathing masks, but even after wearing those the nose was black on the inside, and my face had a dirty patina too. Together with two pilots I went to see the Great Wall of China, where the air was slightly better. It is about a 1,5 hr drive from the city, and quite high up. In some parts, there are really huge steps, really good workout ot climb up as far as it runs in that place.
For the way down, there is a long luge - we were the last three people to ride it, just before the 4pm closing time. So we waited a nice long time before starting, and the guy already must have read my mind, as he kept saying "no fast, no fast!" The challenge was to race down without using the breaks. I almost made it, but there were some parts further low where I just wasn´t sure and couldn´t see if the slow lady in front of me had already made it through or not, so I was a little more careful than in the upper part. It was sooo much fun and is really recommendable if you ever go to see the Wall, go to Mutianyu!
The city of Beijing is buzzing, lots of really expensive cars these days on the roads, people are not scared to show their money anymore, it rather seems a competition. I preferred to take the subway, even though every single one is packed to the top, and I needed to get used to the fight for a space, and the pushing and pulling if you want to get out. Not what I would want to experience every day, but for the short two days I had it was a fun adventure.

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