Friday, February 19, 2010
My flight out of Beijing was later in the afternoon, so I had plenty of time in the morning for some final sightseeing.
Behind the Forbidden City is a park and hill with wonderful views out over the city. I made a point to be there as early as possible for some nice morning light. The day was probably the clearest day I had seen in Beijing, though it still wasn't very clear!
Looking out over the city you can really see just how massive it is, and you can see how massive the Forbidden City is as well!
As I packed up and caught the train to the airport, I found myself conflicted. Exploring Beijing had been amazing, but also largely a solitary affair. I was eager to get back to my friends and the more welcoming and familiar territory of Japan, but I was also sad to be leaving the colorful history and amazing food of China.
Every time you travel somewhere, you make that place a part of yourself and while Japan is and (probably) always will be my favorite East Asian country, I have a new found respect for and interest in one of the worlds oldest civilizations. And I'll never be able to eat takeout Chinese food again!
Like much of the rest of the local infrastructure, the Beijing Capital Airport saw a lot of new construction for the Olympics. The results were quite impressive, it really is a beautiful airport, and I've seen enough airports to know!
The one real upside of heading back to Osaka was that my lingering sore throat from all the smoking and pollution finally disappeared.