Hong Kong, what an amazing place! The city is full of energy. Its markets are sprawling; its people are always on the go. Parties last until the wee hours of the morning, fueled by bottle shop beers and 24-hour coffee shops. Little dim sum restaurants dot the streets, offering locals and tourists alike a wide variety of Cantonese morsels. Walking around, you get the feeling that this is a city of the future.
Almost everyone who comes to Beijing visits the Forbidden City, one of China's highlights. Afterward, most people go back to their hotel, or at least to a different part of the city. But if you cross the road to the north, you can visit lovely Jingshan Park (景山公园), in the exact center of Beijing. Not only is the park beautiful, with great views of the city and mountains, but is has some interesting history, as well. This is where Congzhen, the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty, fled after Beijing fell in 1644. Out of options, the emperor hung himself from a tree near the park's entrance.
Last summer, Katie and I traveled to Berlin, where she lived for two years. Katie was a great tour guide, taking me to her old haunts and to the city's many parks and tourism attractions. I had a great time getting to know this world-class city for two full weeks. Many thanks to Maor, Christina and Liese for hosting us. I hope to see you again in the next few years.
Here are a few of my pictures from our trip:
Beijing's long-distance train station was huge. A massive pavilion was outside, and thousands of people with suitcases and backpacks were milling about. There was barely room to walk. Three men in camouflage uniforms stood guard at the edge of the crowd, assault rifles pointed downward, index fingers resting next to the triggers. Behind them was a van with blackened windows. Troublemakers wouldn't last long here.