Tag Archives: park

Beijing's Jingshan and Beihai Parks

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.

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The Pandas are Ling-Ling-Liscious!

The more I travel, the less I like zoos. The magic of seeing animals in cages is gone, especially when said cages are far too small for the megafauna they're housing. So it was with much reservation that I decided to visit the Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, China. I just couldn't resist the draw of so many pandas in one place.

Luckily, from the moment I stepped inside, I could tell this was more than just a zoo. There were lakes and gardens and wide walkways, lined with bamboo. There was even a museum that informed visitors of the history of giant pandas and of conservation efforts. But of course, I had come to see the pandas. What were they like?

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Another Day, Another Continent

The sound of suitcases rolling past my head woke me. My flight had landed in Melbourne, Australia in the middle of the night. After clearing customs, I walked outside to get my bearings, then I quickly scampered back into the airport. I had flashbacks of my night in the airport in Miami, which I wrote about in 1000 Days Between. Unlike in Miami, I found a few other backpackers, sleeping in a quiet hallway. I blew up my air mattress, crawled into my sleep sheet and joined the others in their quiet slumber.

By 5 a.m., I couldn't take it anymore. The “quiet hallway” turned out to be one of the main corridors that led through security. It just happened to be closed when I first had seen it. But now it was open, and there was a constant chatter of over-caffinated travelers, dragging their luggage across the floor.

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