‘Time flies when you are having fun’. We are all familiar with this quote, and most probably had a time in life that we agreed with this. Being on exchange and at that time only having one month left in South Korea made me realise how time is kind of our enemy. Four months sounds quite long, but it ends before you know it. It started to make me think, imagine having a wall that is capable of stopping the time whenever you want, just like how the 20000 km long Great Wall of China could stop enemies from entering the city, wouldn’t that be great?
Since it is impossible to find a time-stopping wall in reality, my friends and I decided to fly over to Beijing to see their ancient wall instead. To get a glimpse of this infamous architecture without having to share the best photo spots with other tourists, my friends and I left the hostel around 6 am already. Once there we only saw a few bricks within a distance of about 5 metres and clouds rather than the promised mesmerizing view, because the fog of the early morning enveloped most parts of the massive structure. A slightly bit disappointed – yet glad we had indeed avoided bumping into any tourists – we decided to still walk parts of the ruins since we had put in so much effort to come here. Luckily we had time to visit another well-preserved section of the Great Wall a few days later and see the wall and hills of Northern China without the mysterious fog.
Besides visiting the Great Wall and other cultural heritage of Beijing, we also tried some skewers of fried insects at a peculiar, busy night market. China has various unique dishes, amongst which live scorpions, lizards, seahorses, spiders, grasshoppers, and starfish – basically they sell literally any insect you can think of. My friends and I were staring at these insects at one of the stands, when a street vendor approached us: ‘Come try. Delicious scorpions. Really good.’ Out of curiosity we decided to try the grasshopper, seahorse and scorpion sticks. The grasshopper and seahorse had a scaly texture and the sauce they dumped on top did not suppress the rotten flavour, but unlike some of my friends I actually managed to finish eating them. On the other hand, the scorpion actually tasted surprisingly good. It was salty and crunchy, and it turned out that we feared eating this for nothing. Nevertheless, I know that I will never eat that again, experiencing this once is more than enough. Eating all this actually made me miss Korean dishes, like kimchi, bibimbap, gimbap…
After being in China for a few days, we traveled back to Seoul, exhausted, but an experience richer. Once again we learnt that we should not be afraid to take risks and that when traveling we should expect the unexpected. Thinking back about this trip to Beijing makes my friends and I smile, because as Dr. Seuss tells us: ‘Don’t cry because it is over. Smile because it happened!’
Experience my trip to Beijing in 2 minutes: