Location: East Berlin, Germany
Well, long time no write hey? I was supposed to be keeping up this page the entire trip starting mid-December......I'm so lame I haven't even made anything out of it yet. Better late than never though right? So here goes......
So far, I have been in seven different countries since I left home and been on the move for 42 days. Feels like I've been away from home forever, but like time has flown by at the same time. Since I can't obviously summarize the whole trip so far in one paragraph, I'll do a few highlights per country for you. Flew from Vancouver to Beijing on December 18th, so I'll start by writing about......
China - the most polluted city I have ever been in.....wow! Once you get used to breathing the air there (or just semi-suffocate) and get out to see the sights, it's pretty cool. All the obvious tourist attractions like The Temple of Heaven, the Forbidden City, the Silk Market and the "hutongs" had to be done. It's actually really sad what is happening to the "hutongs" and the old city......it's all being bull-dozed and ripped down to modernize the city for the upcoming 2008 olympics. They have erected temporary billboards and walls in front of the disaster to hide it from the tourists, but you can still get into them and see that there are people still living behind them and yet are slowly being forced out. Small businesses have all gone out of business or been forced out, and peoples homes are being destroyed as well. The food here? Would you like dumplings, dumplings or dumplings? Sorry they also have noodles....sometimes! Of course we did hunt out some Peking Duck to try....not bad. Everyone must see the Great Wall as well....it's a must while in Beijing. Wanted to go to a less touristy portion of the wall but the weather wasn't that great and besides, there was a lack of tourists anyways as it was winter. Off to the Badaling section to check in out....talk about a serious workout getting to the top! Those steps are huge! Still though, the vendors still manage to cart all of their junk to the very top and harrass you to buy one of everything....even your picture on a camel or a Mongolian horse at the top!
So, after a few days there......the first train portion into Mongolia! SO EXCITED!
(Internet time is running out here, so tune in again for the next segment of the Trans-Mongolian Railway in a few days!)