It kind of feels like we did nothing in Beijing, even though each day was jammed, overstimulating, often overwhelming, and we fell into bed each night.

Thing is, Beijing is enormous. So when you spend your first full day taking in Tian’anmen Square and the Forbidden City (with one side trip down an interesting set of streets), you can be totally exhausted by dinner time. And then you look at a map of Beijing and realize that you haven’t seen ANYTHING. Not relative to the city, which is just too damn big.

We only had 3 full days, however, so we had to be ok with only seeing a tiny amount of the main sights – let alone trying to get a taste of Beijing as a working, breathing city.

The day we arrived we poked around in the lovely, tranquil Jingshan park (once part of the Forbidden City, now across the street). It was pretty hazy so our view wasn’t awesome but still worth the visit. Being totally exhausted from the travel, however, I didn’t feel like I was in Beijing. I was pretty sure that my voice was still coming from some disembodied source about 3 feet to the left and slightly ahead of me.

We then tried to find a Sichuan place that came recommended, but our timing was all wrong for lunch so we ended up on a hot, busy street corner trying to figure out where to go. OK FINE, Duncan was waiting for me to get over it and find somewhere I was willing to eat. I rejected a couple places until we finally found somewhere with a large picture menu including a vegetable section. And hot and sour soup, and this awesome mouth-numbing chicken. The veggies were fine, but all the hot and sour soup we tried had this weird taste/smell I couldn’t get past (except one place that put in coriander, yummmm).

I think we scuffed back to the hotel and lay low after that. I had some naps, we had a snack on the hotel’s rooftop bar (which looks over the roof tops of the Forbidden City)  and collapsed into an early sleep.

If these eyes don’t say “I’M EXHAUSTED AND DON’T KNOW WHERE  I AM”, I don’t know what does!

Oh hai, I’m the Forbidden City nbd

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