For the first time in a while, it’s actually been warmer in my destination than my departure city. So I suppose that made coming home a little easier.
I haven’t finished with China yet, not even close. But I am happy to leave that to another time. Preferably in the springtime. I’m thinking the Trans-Mongolian railway to Moscow is a goer.
We checked out the iconic Temple of Heaven on our last morning in Beijing, which was extremely beautiful yet quite small, possibly due to the fact that we simply admired it from its gardens. It was a bit like the Colosseum – you don’t see any pictures of its inside for a reason.
We went from one extreme to the other – after feasting on yet more dumplings, we hit Silk Street for one last time. I had certainly changed since my first day in the country, where I felt guilty every time I started bargaining. Not this time. I got a ‘you’re tough, lady’ with my first two purchases. It only made me smile. I guess that was a mark of respect, in a way.
China really did surprise me. And I will probably be even more surprised next time I visit. I doubt that I will be able to walk down the famous hutongs in Beijing, score a massive box of noodles for forty cents and get a ‘ni hao’ from every curious resident. But you win some, you lose some. Perhaps spitting will be outlawed and driver’s licences will be more challenging to obtain. We’ll just have to sit back and observe the direction this enigmatic country follows.
Until our next wanderings…