Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Dazed and Confused

Dateline: Beijing

A quick update from this small village of 14 million people:

  • The weather has finally moved from Siberian windchills to nice spring, right after we broke down and bought stocking caps, gloves, and the like.
  • Seeing the famous sights (The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Great Wall etc.) is definitely a pinch-me moment. Brian will write more about our sightseeing adventures later
  • We are now 3 for 3 in finding fantastic restaurants/cafes that we are looking for, but the walking around looking for them ranged from 45 minutes to 2 hours. Brutal.

Mostly right now we are tired, burnt out, stressed out, and dragging. No real cause for concern, however. Long-term travel like this has natural rhythms and phases and you go through highs and lows. We hit our first wall 4 months into the trip. I was so lethargic and exhausted all I wanted to do was sleep. So we chilled out in Seville, Spain and recharged our batteries. We also gave ourselves a mini-recharge living with our wonderful Danish family in Copenhagen in December.

However we are now 9 months into the trip, and 3 months into traveling in Asia (which has to be like 5 months of European travel!) so it's about time for another wall. We were even expecting it (though hoping it would pass us by). It's just unfortunate that it hits us just as we are entering the most difficult of our Asian stops and the one that takes the most energy and patience to negotiate.

Because of this we've had a somewhat subdued visit to Beijing. Though we have been in town a week we really haven't seen or done that many tourist things. Instead we have tried to make sure that we allowed time for curling up and reading a book or sleeping in. That's hard to do, as we feel like we should be out there seeing and doing and experiencing, but we know that it's important to do so that we can enjoy the rest of our time in this huge country.

One more day in Beijing tomorrow and then we head east to try and climb Taishan, a sacred mountain. 6660 steps. Should be interesting... After that, who knows? We have a plan but so far our success in getting train tickets to support that plan has been limited. I guess we'll just make it up as we go.

More in a few days...


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