One way ticket to Beijing

A group of 7 awesome people, bought an one way ticket to Beijing from Hong Kong, with no plans. I know this might sound a little crazy, but there is where all the fun lies.

Our flight left around 7am, so we were up really early. Being at the airport with no plans, especially around really fun people, felt really exciting. Although I was half asleep, we could not wait to began exploring China with a curious mind and our backpacks.

When we left the plane, we looked at each other and smiled. The 3 hour flight was not enough to digest what we were doing. The first plan was obviously to get on a cab and find a way. We forgot, however, people in Beijing do not really speak English. They speak Mandarin, and although the city is pretty developed, it looked nothing like Hong Kong. It was simpler and less sophisticated. We had a guidebook, where we simply pointed a neighborhood to the driver that drove us there. Luckily, the area we got dropped off was really amazing. The area consisted of mainly young people. It looked more of a meeting place where teenagers would just hang out and eat. The food…oh my, I can still smell all the street food all over the place. No wonder why I loved that street the minute I got dropped off.

Our adventure truly began when we tried finding a hostel. Everywhere was full, and of course if we knew the language things would have been much easier. All I learned was “shie shie” which is “thank you.” Good bye dreams of learning Mandarin, I lost all my hope.

We ended up splitting from each other to search for hotels. We finally found a sweet and cheap spot after playing “guess what I am trying to say.” It was not the best hotel ever, but it worked for us, poor travelers trying to get rid of our bags.

The first place we visited was the Tiananmen Square, which is the thirst largest city square in the world. More than just its size, the square holds a very important role in the Chinese history. On that same spot several cultural and important events where held, especially protests. The most famous one was a pro-democracy one, which lead to deaths of several hundred civilians.

Being at a communist country, where Facebook does not even work was shocking. When my friend tried using an internet cafe, it asked for his passport information and all his background. It freaks me out to know how much the government can have control over a population.

After the square, we crossed the street to the Forbidden City, which it was a Chinese imperial palace built by the Ming Dynasty. Its architecture was very descriptive and it really showed the Chinese culture. China’s history is so old, yet it feels so alive being around all of these monuments that once where part of lives of dynasties. It did not feel real, as I walked around admiring the Chinese writings and the sculptures.

We also visited the Bird’s nest, which is where the Beijing Olympics took place. We watched an acrobatic show, full of energy and breathtaking moves. We also ate duck, which is supposed to be their main dish.

China was already amazing. Although it was freezing, I was able to admire everything. After I bought everything a lady was selling on the street for cold weather, I was ready to go back to the hotel and get ready for a brand new day.

Uma passagem de ida para Beijing

Um grupo de 7 pessoas maravilhosas, compraram somente uma passagem de ida para Beijing de Hong Kong, sem planos. Eu sei que isso parece um pouco louco, mas e ai que a diversao sempre esta presente.

Nosso voo decolou a volta das 7am, entao acordamos bem cedo. Estar no aeroporto sem planos, ao redor de pessoas divertidas, foi muito empolgante. As vezes acho que me alimento de momentos assim. Apesar de ainda estar cansada e com sono, nao podia esperar mais para comecar a explorar China com minha mente curiosa e uma mochila nas costas.

Quando saimos do aviao, simplesmente olhamos para a cara do outro e rimos. As 3 horas de voo nao foi suficiente para fazer a digerir o que estavamos fazendo. O primeiro plano era obviamente pegar um taxi e ir para algum lugar. Mas, esquecemos que as pessoas de Beijing nao falam muito Ingles. Eles falam Mandarin, e mesmo a cidade sendo desenvolvida, nao tinha nada a ver com Hong Kong. Era mais simples e com menos sostificacoes. Tinhamos um guia, que nos simplesmente apontamos para um bairro no taxi, e o taxista nos levou ate la. Por sorte, ele nos deixam em um lugar maravilhoso. A area consistia de muita gente jovem. Parecia mais um lugar aonde adolescentes e jovens se encontravam para sair, conversar e comer. A comida…nossa, ainda posso sentir o cheiro da comida por todos os cantos que andava. Deve ser exatamente por isso que eu amei aquela rua, no momento em que cheguei.

A nossa aventura comceou quando saimos para achar um hostel. Todos os lugares estavam cheios, e claro, se nao tivesse a barreira linguistica talvez fosse mais facil. O unico que aprendi foi “shie shie” que significa “Obrigado”. Tchau tchau, sonhos de um dia aprender Mandarin, pos perdi toda a minha esperanca.

Acabamos nos dividindo em grupos para achar um hotel. Finalmente achamos um lugar simples e barato depois de ter jogado muito “adivinha o que eu estou falando” com os locais. Nao era o melhor hotel do mundo, mas funcionava perfeitamente para nos, pobres viajantes simplesmente querendo tirar aquela mochila das costas.

O primeiro lugar que visitamos foi a Praca da Paz Celestial, que e a terceira maior praca do mundo. Mais que seu tamanho, a praca tem um valor importante na historia Chinesa. Naquele mesmo local ja foi feito muitos eventos culturais, especialmente protestos. O mais famoso foi um a favor a democacia, que trouxe a morte para muitos.

Estando em um pais comunista, aonde Facebook nao pode ser usado, e chocante. Quando meu amigo tentou usar a internet, foi pedido o seu passaporte e informacoes. Me assusta saber o quanto o governo tem controle sobre uma populacao.

Depois da praca, atravessamos a rua para a Cidade Proibida, onde era o palacio do imperio Chines, construido pela Dinastia do ming. A arquitetura era bem descritiva e mostrava muito a cultura Chinesa. A historia da China e uma das mais velhas, mas estando parte sente-se viva, ainda mais perto de tantos monumentos que um dia fazia parte das dinastias. Nao parecia real enquanto eu andava admirando cada escultura.

Tambem visitamos o Bird’s nest, que eh o local onde teve as Olimpiadas de Beijing. Assistimos um show acrobatico, cheio de energia e movimentos de tirar o folego. Comemos pato, que e o prato principal deles.

China ja era marvilhosa. Mesmo com seu frio, eu consegui admirar tudo aquele dia. Depois que eu comprei tudo que uma moca na rua vendia para o frio, eu estava preparada para voltar ao hotel, e comecar um novo dia.

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