Stories Travel Information

Beijing Past and Nearly Present

Today was an eclectic mix of both the modern, the past and finally the present/future.

I started by visiting the 2008 Olympic Park which was quite exciting and a hive of activity getting ready for the 2015 IAAF Athletics World Championship at the end of the month.

I read the other day that Beijing has been awarded the 2022 Winter Olympics. I think this is a great piece of luck for the National Stadium and National Aquatic Centre, because it is beginning to look at little tired and in need of a refreshment, none of which takes away from its magnificent design and presence.

I got most excited in the Stadium as I looked down the 100 meters track where Usain Bolt broke the World Record in 2008 and then realising that he will be racing here again in less than a month at the Worlds felt pretty darn cool.

Because of the humidity and the suns heat I knew I needed to get some sunscreen. I found a shopping centre in the middle of the Olympic Park and purchased some spray on factor 30. I also knew I needed a hat. Yesterday, when it was overcast, people were everywhere selling hats, today it must have too hot for them to be out in this weather. I was thinking – “Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun”. I could not find a decent hat to protect my balding head and the back of my neck.

From the hot and humid Olympic park I was glad to go underground to the subway to head back to the Tiananmen area to see the old Forbidden City which use to be the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty through to the end of the Qing dynasty. It was so warm. I knew I needed a hat, the only ones on sell here were those umbrella hats, it was getting close to the point where I may actually need to purchase one of those, but I really did not want too.

After meandering through the Forbidden City I arrived in a whole new area I had not seen before, so I decided I would explore. I was glad I did. There looked like there may be some places I could eat. There wasn’t as it turns out, but hidden in a alley was a man selling hats! I bought the smallest one he had, it was still too big but it did the job and was not an umbrella!

All of a sudden the small independent branded shops had changed in to high end labels – Cartier etc and then I looked to my right and I could have been in any major city in the West. It was the Apple Store in Beijing which has only been open for about 18 months.

The apple store backed on to huge mall so I had a look around and getting some inspiration for an illustration style I would like to use for a future project. I then found quite a few decent places to eat, so I had pizza and onion rings before heading, what turned out to be long way, back to the hostel to chill.

Today I learned:

  1. Buy stuff when you see it if you know you will need it because you never know if you can find it again when you need it. Else you may have to end up wearing a silly umbrella hat as punishment

By Mark

The areas of life I am most interested in are great design, the golden ratio, minimalism, Pareidolia (faces in everyday objects), micro living and finally I will be searching for remarkable human beings who use the power of their mind to achieve amazing effects.

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