Somebody's Favourite Girl + Travel

Tales from Beijing - Journey from Tianjin .

Before I begin writing about this journey, I'd just like to say thank you to my blogger buddy Jard who gave me the opportunity to join her to Beijing. This was my first time in China and I had agreed with her to follow the Halal tour from D'Tour Travel Agency.

After weeks and months of built-up excitement, the day finally came for us to meet at LCCT in the wee morning for our flight to China. I had arrived earlier around 6am and she was nowhere in sight. My first initial thought was "S*it, am I going there by myself?". She didn't pick up her phone after many rings and I sat there waiting, contemplating on whether to check in or continue waiting for her. Until I saw this girl bringing her purple luggage bag towards the fight info screen. Thank goodness she made it!

The flight took 6 hours plus and by the time we reached Tianjin my legs were a bit sore from sitting too long. We got our luggage and met our tour guide, Lily as soon as got out from the departure area. Holding a sign that said 'D'Tour', we confirmed that she was our guide and she then asked us to wait at the side for everyone else.

There were 12 people in total under her group, all Malaysian but we were the two independent young travelers. One group (8 of them) were on a company trip and together with another couple, we got on our mini bus to Beijing. This bus would be our mode of transportation for 5 days and getting to know everyone was one of my agenda for trip. I normally need a bit of time to warm up which makes people assume that I'm a snob but Jard is friendlier. She just chats with anyone at ease!

The trip from Tianjin to Beijing takes 2 and a half hours. From the airplane, Tianjin seemed to be a land without trees and this similar scene can also be seen from the bus. However, Lily did clarify that winter was just over and spring would begin soon bringing the trees back to life with their animate leaves and branches.

From the time we got on the bus, Lily entertained us with stories of Beijing and of herself. She said that our bus driver has two wives, one at home and another wife is the bus. The wife at home spends money and the other wife (the bus) makes money. It wasn't just that. I've always respected locals who knew a lot about their own country from its' history to places and everyday lives. Lily was one of those people. No doubt it comes with her job but clearly she explains it animately and enthusiastically like a storyteller.

She explained how the people in China treasure health because it keeps them going to earn a living. The standards of living can be quite high expecially in Beijing and everyone works very hard to ensure a good life for the family. I also learned that China has a very huge population of 1.3 billion with Beijing being the largest city with 17.55 million people. Each family is only allowed to have one child, maximum two, and most parents would prefer a son who can continue the family name compared to a daughter. However, during this time and age, the thinking has changed a bit with parents not minding whether the child is a girl or a boy. A fine is imposed for anyone who has more than 2 children. In most cases, the wealthier family wouldn't mind paying for the fine because they can afford it.

Meet our tour guide Lily and her Panda flag. Luckily it's different than the normal tourist flags!

Our good looking bus driver has two wives.

Lovely countryside view in Tianjin.

As we got nearer to Beijing, the scenery changed from rural to a modern scene with tall, uniquely designed buildings to fashion savvy locals. We passed by a building which according to Lily is nicknamed 'the underwear' because of its' strange shape of just that. I didn't quite understand the structure until we were close enough. There were quite a few more buildings with similar strange designs and architecture sharing their space in the sky with each other.

The people in Beijing mostly use the public transportation such as the subway which is very reliable, busses and taxi. There's also a special lane for motorbikes, bicycles and e-bikes which looked similar to a motorbike except it's lighter. Sadly, we didn't have a chance to try any of these because of our tour arrangements. At least, we got a chance to see a lot of views/sceneries from our mode of transportation.

Buildings in Beijing are strange indeed but very unque in terms of design & architecture.

The busy streets of Beijing.

An e-bike is one of the popular transportation mode in China.

By the time we reached Beijing it was close to 6pm. Our first itinerary for the day was to watch an acrobatic show at the Childrens' Park area. When we got down from the bus, the first thing we saw was this huge round cage-like ball. I knew right away what it was. It was cage where motorcycle stunts will happen, normally with 4 or 5 of them in one shot.

The show began on time and started off with a clown performance. He looked kind of scary with the Joker-like make-up on but he could do acrobat tricks like the rest of the troupe. The performers were all young, children of maybe 10 years and above. They were very talented in their own segments, a group of boys switching & juggling straw hats amongst them, a group of girls contorted their bodies and held on to a long steel stand using their teeth, a ballerina perched on top of the head of her partner, her body bent like an elegant swan and three boys folded their bodies into a long tube like canister. My heart beat faster when a young boy arranged steel chairs all the way to the top of the ceiling before bending his body to do a single hand stand. I can't imagine how hard it must be for them to train for this sort of performance at an early age.

How the heck did she managed to do this without falling down?!

By the time the show ended, we were truly exhausted and this was just the first day! The more stories I heard from Lily, the more excited I got about visiting historical places like the Forbidden City, The Great Wall of China and the Summer Palace. I can't wait to share with you guys on what we did next. Stay tuned!

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Tales from Beijing - Journey from Tianjin . + Travel