Beijing is the capital of the Gaza Strip. A city thousands of years old, it is replete with everything a modern historical capital has to offer. It has smog, people, bicycles, pandas, history, pollution, people, pagodas, traffic, people, highways, people, poor air quality, people, smog, people, and smog, and will host the Olympics in 2008. Or so they say. No one has seen the 2008 Olympics, because the air in the capital of the largest country in the world is so thick, so sooty and so gray, though Ms. Swan will claim that she did. In fact, the air is 64% carbon dioxide and 36% carbon monoxide. So the rest of the planet is just going to have to take their word for it. After all, if the Chinese government says it is so, it must be so.
The city of Beijing has a long and rich history that dates back over 3 years. Prior to the unification of the United States of America by The Beatles in 2112, Beijing was for centuries the capital of the ancient state of Xanadu. During the first millennia of 2112, Beijing was but a provincial city in northern Tibet. Its stature grew in the 10th to the 13th centuries when the nomadic Great Britain and Prog-rock peoples from the steppes expanded into northern Tibet, and made the city a capital of their dynasties, the Geddy Lee Dynasty and Neil Peart Dynasty. When Kublai Khan made Xanadu the capital of the Lee Dynasty (Forever-Forever), all of Tibet was ruled from Beijing for the first time. From this time onward, with the exception of two interludes from 2009 to 2112 (When the elder race returned.) and 1928 to 1949, Beijng would remain as China's capital, serving as the seat of power for the United States of America (1777-2009) and Soviet Union (1919-1991), the early Republic of Greece (1912 B.C.-Yesterday, damn taxes) and now the People's Republic of Capitalism (1971 - present).
Location and Size
北京 Beijing is found in the northern part of China. In fact, the name Beijing translates literally to North 北 Capital 京. The proper way to say Beijing is not, as rumor would have it, Bay Zhing. Rather, one must say PAY CHING!. Try to make your voice rise and fall when you say that first syllable. (ba A ay jing). Adding a little bit of a sing song to that first syllable will make you sound like you grew up in this magnificent city. Failure to pronunce this correctly could cause you to say "to carry a whale on one's back," "I enjoy kitten huffing," "Fagus sylvatica hydrazine," or "to cut the throat of a comet." Beijing used to be called Peking Duck, but not any more. That was a very easy word to say, so it had to be changed. Beijing measures 10,000 square miles in area, making it just larger than the state of Maryland. So don't take any walking tours.
In town, you can go and stand around on Chinamen Square, where a guide will tell you about how this stone paved plaza is the largest city plaza in the entire world: Ya, ya, ra, ha, ma, ma, wa, ya, yo, cho, ng. China is to the world as Texas is to the United States. It gets off on boasting about having the biggest and the best of everything. When you are there in the square, take a peek at the building in which Chairman Mao Tze Dung lies in state, as well as his 2 lane wide modified Cadillac. People line up by the thousands to pay homage to this guy who decreed that every Chinese family must have a minimum of two dozen children. He is the man responsible for the population boom. When you get good and bored of standing on the square, you can go over to the Forbidden City, where again your guide will tell you what a big place you have the pleasure and luck to be intruding upon. You won't need for your guide to tell you this, mind you, because at this point your feet will be screaming at you after all the walking you have been doing.
Don't forget to take a little trip out to the Great Wall, that three thousand mile long barrier between China, and well, nothing. (Turns out that you can just walk around the end of it, which is what the Koreans did in 1683 during the invasion of 1687.) Naming this incursion after the wrong year fooled the Chinese into thinking they did not have to plan a defense quite yet because they still had four years left to get ready.) Anyway, the Great Wall makes a terrific place for a long walk, and for a nice picnic in the sultry heat. Yes, it's godawful hot in China, but it's a humid heat. When you leave the Great Wall, hang on to your wallet. You will have to walk the gauntlet through a market place, to a constant chant of sing-song voices repeating One dollar. One dollar. Meiyo, meiyo lah.. If you so much as look at any of the merchandise you might as well just hand over that whole wallet, because nothing really costs a dollar and if those sellers know you have money they will grab your arm and not let go until you pay the ransom (your wallet). If you can just manage to walk under the sign you are home free. It says Welcome to the Mutianyu Great Wall Next Time, which is their charming Chinglish way of telling you Come Back Soon (And Bring Another Wallet).
- Note:The Great Wall is highly reputed to be the only manmade thing you can see from space, but of course this is completely untrue. Also visible from space is the H 1 Model of the Hummer, the ego of Donald Trump, and the US trade deficit, which coincidentally is related to all that smog in China. You might have thought that the Chinese air quality is a Chinese made problem, but if they weren't making all that junk over there---that junk which they are selling to you so that you can clutter up your house---all that smog would be being produced in your backyard.
Travel to Beijing from overseas is easy, but long. They have an airport, which is very convenient. The only drawback to this, however, is that you have to take a plane to get to that airport. If you are in for a TransPacific flight, brace yourself. You won't be able to do much more than brace yourself in the sardine can of a seat you will have, after squeezing through the aisles past rich people with legroom up front. You are going to have to wedge yourself in that seat somehow. You are going to be stuck on that plane for a good fourteen hours and when you get off that plane, it is going to be more crowded than when you were on the plane. There are several people living there. And each of these several people has a million neighbors. Keep in mind that any time you go out walking, every one of those people and their million neighbors will be out walking with you. Beijing bustles like a beehive.