My last day in Beijing has been slightly different from the last ones. The first 3 days have been full, sightseeing, shopping and meetings. Big rush, cabs, addresses, shirts and costumes. Leaving all these aside, visiting was the most interesting thing for me. Making a comparison between Shanghai and Beijing, it’s just obvious that the latter has the big ticket items: The Chinese Wall has been impressive, a lot of history and so many data. I shall not lose myself in details that anyone can find on Google. Summer Palace has slightly touched my soul, considering that the whole royal family used to move there for 6 months every year in the past. Totally different from the Forbidden City, their permanent residence. The long corridor, where the empress used to take a walk after having dinner, includes 11.000 different paintings, each having its unique story. In the very left side there is the huge lake, where we took a walk by a little boat and we felt the breeze in the suffocating heat from Beijing. I wish to give thanks to my guide who took great care of only the two of us and provided us with a bunch of cultural issues.
Today I woke up a little bit later, I opened my eyes and pressed a button so that the curtains should pull aside. I just love hotels that have large beds, white bedclothes and a large number of pillows. They give me a sense of comfort. Even if you try to create the same atmosphere at home, it’s just not the same thing. My mom was not in the room, the sun was forcing me to wake up. I went down to the restaurant, she was waiting for me with the coffee, just as I like it, as well as with a yoghurt and some fruit. I felt myself spoiled but most of all, I felt like a child again. It seemed as if we were in a hidden corner of the city, just the two of us at this small table, eating healthy food. We knew this was our last day and we felt this, since from time to time we used to look at our watches. Today we had nothing to do, no deadline, nothing scheduled. So, we took a walk around our hotel. We did not feel in the mood for shopping, our telephones did not ring because back home in the country it was still early. The heat was so heavy, that we couldn’t make it for more than 2 minutes in the street, we had to enter a shop to look at some stuff in there and most of all, to feel the air – conditioning. It was the type of: out of the oven and into the refrigerator and the other way round. Outside it was too hot, inside we got cold.
In the European side, the role played by an umbrella is that of protecting oneself of the water when it’s rainy. At least, most people would say so. However here, in Asia and particularly in China, an umbrella plays a double role. Chinese people do not wish to get sun – tanned; in their culture, only poor people have to stay in the sun and get a darker colour of their complexion. Even when they ride their bikes they use a kind of plastic gloves and a protective mask so as to avoid contact with the sun. Thus, an umbrella is of the essence as far as they are concerned, whether you are in a shadow or in the sun, both ladies and men open them happily as soon as they get in the streets. In order to fit the profile, we have also got into a shop that had only umbrellas to sell. Thousands of models, sizes and colours. With lace, flounces, silk, plastic, pearls, stones. They have any model you may wish for, as per anyone’s taste and budget. We’ve also bought our own umbrellas and opened them immediately on our way out of the shop. We smiled and took some pictures.
We walked and eventually found a mall full of toys. It was just perfect for the time and our state of mind. Not clothes, perfumes, creams or shoes. Only toys. There were so many, that we had no idea what stand we should stop at. Each window had something special, it was as if all characters were dancing and talking with one another. It probably sounds silly, however I felt so good because I felt like a child again, I acted foolishly, I laughed and took photos. To my surprise, there were a large number of characters I could not recognize. So I just figured that it has been a long time since I last watched any cartoons. But it just seems that old cartoons were still much better than the new ones, or maybe it’s just the knowledge feeling and the denial feeling as far as the new is concerned.
Time has passed unexpectedly fast. We ordered a coffee, a double expresso with milk for me and a cappucino with cream for my mom. The cookies in the shop window were pretty inviting, so we ordered a few, well, when do we come again in Beijing to eat something sweet..? We are allowed to do so, just once at least…
We put our tea spoons down, looked at our watches and got sad. We had to leave. Our free day had ended. Again with the luggage, cabs, trains and airports. Back in Shanghai!