I spent four weeks in Beijing, and I know I didn't see all there was to see. The city is being torn down and rebuilt. The grand hotels with their rich red carpets and golden pillars seem to be colonising their own country. The old hutongs - mazes of ground-level houses - are being torn down and replaced by malls and highrises. Beijing is losing its past, but then it must be frightfully cold in the hutongs in the winter.
The Forbidden City is stunning and huge; 10,000 people pass through in a day. Through cracks in the doors you can see trees sprouting from between cobblestones unused in fifty years. You can be alone there in a city of millions.
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