China Pt. 1: 北京.

I am someone who clearly has an addiction to traveling and despite my rather meager income, I've somehow managed to leave the country several times this year. This current adventure consists of twenty three days in China. I just concluded week one.

Adjusting has been interesting, to say the least. The jet lag was brutal and I think I'm just now getting over it. I've also never been in a situation where I was completely and totally inept when it comes to language. When I was in Istanbul, I began to catch on to Turkish pretty quickly. In Mexico, I understood/spoke enough Spanish to get by. Drunk Scottish was a little harder to understand but, hey, all we had to do was compensate with a little more whiskey and that brought us onto their level. But Chinese is an entirely different experience. There's no alphabet, no real connection between the written and the spoken language, and no reference points beyond memorization (which is one of my weakest qualities). I have a hard time accepting that I more or less constantly need help, even for something as simple as ordering coffee. At least Alex is patient.

Yesterday, we wandered around through Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and a temple called Beihai. These pictures are in no particular order. Also, I generally would change the color tone a little and try and up the contrast but the air pollution is such a staple of China, I felt I had to preserve it in all its hazy glory (particularly in that first photo). At least it creates an interesting natural filter effect?