Beijing – a fascinating rush
What I saw in Beijing testifies the city’s power as the nerve center of the country. The Tienanmen Square is buzzing with security, No cars are allowed to park close to the historic buildings. The capital city has more security, barriers and policemen than normal Chinese people, I think. The mama mia factor when you see the Tienanmen Square, despite the effort and the long walk are unreplicatable! It's bigger than life.
Tienanmen Square is the world’s largest public square (the size of 90 football fields); it still reverberates with the ghosts of recent history. The vast inner city of 24 emperors for almost 500 years, is China’s most impressive treasure house. Only occasionally an emperor would venture out, And no one was allowed in without permission.
The Forbidden City is located in the center of Beijing and is surrounded by a chessboard of roads, including five 'ring roads', which circle the city center in concentric circles. I liken this to Delhi for some obvious reasons. Roads lined with trees that create beautiful facades and avenues. All buildings of national heritage or government offices bearing the national flag. Zany cars with sirens that go off suddenly in the middle of the road signaling vip movement.
Cameras track everybody. They follow you in the foyer of an office building, they trace you to the landing you get off, tracks you inside the floor visiting people. The cameras are not subtle. They are un-missable, making no bones of the fact that they are watching one and all.
Beijing also has some unique shopping areas. My friends took me to this mammoth horizontal (one storied) building that boasted of fake branded goods. From I-pods to steam irons to clippers to beaded ornaments to hi-phone to chinese arts and crafts to fake Nikes and Adidas’s to all imaginable designs in jeans - the list is endless. And there were takers. The parking lot was full. People were making a beeline into this market because soon it was going to be closing time and the trader/shopkeeper doesn’t want your business if it is past his shutting down time! I walked away from this market with tiny ceramic Chinese figurines which I distributed amongst my office colleagues. Crafted beautifully. Looked authentic. Were lil china men smiling and fishing.
The Kunming lake at the Summer Palace is another bewitching huge site a complete must for a tourist like me. Such scenic beauty, such calm waters, history in every nook and cranny. Ornately decorative architecture from both inside and outside. There are dragon boats and marble boats used for cruising on this lake. Even these boats have a history which the Chinese are not too fond of speaking. I discovered that the Marble boat which is moored at one side of the lake was built from money that was allocated from some other purpose. Very India like, I said to myself most amusedly. Corruption is not spoken about openly here. But exists in equal gigantic proportions.
China is a land of overt discipline and subjugation, a land where people may question the authorities in their mind but never openly or ever in rebellion. It is regimented and authoritarian. Maybe that’s why the billion plus nation can produce world goods at a pace no one can match? Works for this country I guess
Posted by Mee at 03:51