Beijing or Peking, as it is also called, is located on the northern side of China, about 60 miles
from the gulf of Bo Hai.
The capital city of the nation for almost 700 years, with a history going back 3000 years, it is
China's major political
and industrial center.
Skyscrapers keep appearing across the skyline in today's Beijing, slowly replacing ancient
buildings, yet most
citizens will never lay their heads on the posh pillows behind their concrete walls. The
upper-class resident rests in
modern apartment buildings outside the city center next to the commoner's tenement and the
transients shacks. Few
people can afford vehicles, either, still, traffic is congested, smoggy and noisy, as more and more
flourish and millionaires are born.
Bicycles are still the main transportation for the majority: young girls dressed in skirts and nylon
stockings pedal to
work past withered seniors stretching their limbs in the ancient practice of tai chi in the green
throughout the city ... venders hauling Peking ducks to the market, maneuvering their 3-wheelers
between buses, smelly transport trucks and Cadillacs, past McDonald's and construction workers
shacks. Totally discombobulating, witnessing such a wide gap in social standing.
The surrounding area (the district of Beijing is about 6490 square miles in size), has been
developing slowly since
1949. However, farmland still exists in parts of the rural areas, and provides the city dwellers
with grain, vegetable, fruit and water.
The four season temperature, with very warm summers and extreme cold in the winter, ranges
from 100 degrees Fahrenheit in July to minus 15 in January.
The main visitor attraction to Beijing is the Forbidden City, built five hundred years ago and
once surrounded by a 14-mile wall to keep the public out. When the Communist party took over
in 1949, the wall came down and the ordinary
citizen was allowed to enter. A few gates were rebuilt, including the Gate of Heavenly Peace,
which stands in
Tiananmen Square. The Forbidden City is also the location of the Palace Museum, build in
The next attraction in Beijing is the Great Wall. Stretching as far as the eye can see, it is a
testimony to the fact that
anything can be accomplished once the idea takes shape.