Beijing, March 2001

We left for Beijing on a Sunday in order to try to start early on Monday. Finding the right person in the right building took us all of Monday morning. During one meeting, we were told it would take one or two months to obtain all necessary papers to travel through China by car. We were in disarray. Our trip to Beijing has not been a success. We started to think about alternative itineraries, the cost of shipping the car and a delay of 5 weeks on our initial departure date. We were not happy. We made a visit to our embassy to explain our disappointment. Having returned to our hotel bedroom, we found a message under the door asking us to call our travel agent in Xi'an. From that moment onwards, things have been looking up. The delay became 3 weeks without 100% guarantee of obtaining all permits. Next morning, it came down to 2 weeks and a near certainty of success. Our embassy accepted to support our project, has made phone calls and has written letters to help us. That day, our travel agent flew over from Xi'an to Beijing and told us he had planned to stay until he obtained all permits. At last...


Beijing is a splendid city. In just four days, we spent hours walking along its streets, rediscovering the city as it changes over the years. The city is preparing for its bid to host the 2008 Olympic Games. When Beijing wins the right to organise the Games (it seems this will be the case this time around) all Chinese around the world will be enormously proud.  
Beijing old and new.


Besides some large "Haussman" style avenues, Beijing is a peaceful city where people move around with bicycles, where old people chat in the street. People live in all neighbourhoods and there is no "City" with only offices. 

Many people use coal to heat themselves. They use readily prepared pieces (pictures : before & after).


The Forbidden City
We were able to spend one day as tourists which we decided to spend in the forbidden city. This is a place where one can always return and be engulfed by the beauty of the place and a sense of history.






Two extra pages  : Beijing vehicles and a Beijing delicacy


March 2001 Back to Trip page Our departure