I enjoy traveling, tremendously, though lately not so much, but that's another story. Anyway, I never ever had the desire to travel to China. It just does not appeal to me. Somehow.
Then last week I was in Beijing for a week, for work. I wasn't dreading the trip, but not exactly gung-ho over it either. Thinking of China, 2 things popped into my head: the army of bicycles sweeping the road and next the people being loud and spitting everywhere.
While I did see the latter, (I also saw a mother, or maybe a grandmother trying to get a toddler to pee by the corner next to the escalator IN a mall. Honest to God!), there weren't many. I guess the city cleans up pretty well but old habits die hard for some. You just need to wait for some to die I suppose. Then the bicycles. What bicycles? There was practically none. The street was just choked with cars, cars and more cars, and the network of roads and expressways was impressive to say the least.
The city was not what I expected. It was bigger, better, more amazing, more awe inspiring and full of surprises, pleasant ones. The subway is convenient and cheap and clean! It's clean! The cab drivers (those I hailed) were friendly and honest. They did not see me as walking dollars and trying to make a quick buck, even late at night in pouring rain. The night life was, well, hopping and bobbing all night long. The place was hot and the ladies were hotter. It's Beijing, baby!
This trip was definitely an eye opener. I saw a snippet of Beijing and it was such a tease, but I like it. I like it a lot.
Now, back in Khartoum, I'm busy scheming my way for another business trip to get back Beijing again.