Sunday, August 30, 2015

Being in Beijing

I highly doubt that there are 9 million bicycles in Beijing. Although, given that the population is 26 million then I would probably say 30% do have bicycles. Nobody really cycles them. Scooters (electric and push), and cars are the main modes of transport. I haven't seen an underground or subway equivalent. However, a 30 min taxi costs between ¥37 (€5.30ish) and ¥56 (€8) depending on traffic. So why would you bother taking public transport. I'm in a taxi writing this as well. With no seatbelt. Well, they do have seat belts but nothing to connect the seat belts. It's like playing Russian Roulette, or in this case, Beijing Roulette.

Yas and I visited the Bleedin Deadly Wall of China. If you don't like steps then don't go. If you like skipping leg day, then don't go. It's like lunging for an hour straight! Then having to walk, or jump down the steps, which resemble more like a small cliff. Other then that, it has lovely views, and it's a goal (recent goal) to visit the 7 Wonder Of The World. 1 down, 6 to go! 
Dotted along the wall are shops selling nic nac shite that I love (Yas hates). Teacups, fridge magnets, beads, coins, and a Che Givara  tshirt! No idea he had such an influence on the Great Wall! 

I think the pollution and weather was a great surprise. There is very little pollution, given that it's a huge city. I was told that the factories have stopped production to let the pollution calm down. The weather has been mid 20s. It's nice. 
As a whole, Beijing has impressed me. The people are so nice, and most can speak English. They go out of their way to help you. Yes the spit a lot, but this is good for people with CF. Sometimes you have a big mucus filled gollier (spit in Ireland) in your mouth and you need to get it out. It's ok in Beijing. Just spit!
There is a huge culture for food. Instead of visiting art galleries or history museums, the Chinese love to eat and talk about where the best food is for dinner etc. This is something that Yas and I love. Yes we love art and history, music and sightseeing, but our day is made up of food. We search places to eat before we go to a country. Not just typical restaurants. Places that are off the beaten track. Little gems that don't cost an arm and a leg to eat at (we still eat at those as well). For instance, we had 12 cooked oysters in garlic, chilli and coriander, with soy sauce. About 4 handfuls of prawns, these amazing noodles and it all cost about €30. Less actually. We were stuffed after. The oysters are one of the best mouthfuls of food I've ever had. Raw oysters is something I cannot eat. I tried and just couldn't. I love raw food but these I just couldn't. Blue mouldy cheese is another and pickles are the last thing. Those 3 I even feel sick thinking about them. But cooked oysters is a whole different ball game. 
I think that Ireland and the UK are the only countries that don't use their horn in their car. Every country, especially in Beijing and Algeria, they love blowing their horn. They might as well tape it down so it's constantly on. It would be so much easier.

So back to business. Taoufik is thru to the semi final of the World Champs (1.05pm Irish time - 28th of Aug). The final is on Sunday around the same time. Should find it on the BBC. He looked ok in the heats but he hates mornings so this is probably the reason. The main thing is not to analyse it and take each races as it comes. Focus on the task at hand. I tell people this - it's not how fast your legs can go, it's about how mentally strong you are. 

All is good here from Beijing. I will update with a video as soon as I can find my lead for my GoPro! 


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