…19 countries, regions or territories visited.
It started when I left Beijing for Switzerland in December 1988, and it continued ever since: I’ve been in Germany since 1989 (although always on very short trips, more often than not cross-border trips from Koblenz to Waldshut), and as of late, I’ve just done something pretty big: I’ve just finished all of Greater China. The visit to Macao has meant that I’ve been to mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.
Macao has also been my first place of contact with the Portuguese language, and I think I’ve started off on the right foot. I started by translating the Portuguese part of a public service sign into Chinese (while letting my wife Tracy hide the Chinese part from my view). She says I got about 80% of it right. I’m happy… ▶
I did it once at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport: we had an early flight at 06:00 in the morning. I did it again for a Beijing-Hong Kong flight, when I had to be up before 06:00 and had to be onboard for an 08:00 plane. I did it yet again for Train D53 from Beijing South to Qingdao on my first trip to that city by train.
There is something to be said about travelling early. Especially if you do this during the winter months, you feel like you’re getting some mileage already just as the sun goes up. Nightfall seems so far away, so you can easily get away with a long trip and still end up at Point B (away from Point A) halfway through the day.
There’s a compromise you have to make in order to pull this off: You have to get into bed early the day before (especially if you’re driving halfway cross the country and are leaving early). To some, that means no late night karaoke all-nighters or extended bar visits. But if you’re no night animal, that’s also no big issue for you. ▶
Right now I’m in Tianjin, and the train that leaves at 15:10 will whisk me back to the Jing. That’ll bring my train mileage up to 13,168.33 km, but most importantly, that would have been the 100th time I would have travelled by train this year alone.
Must be amazing. I have to say: it’s not like this hasn’t happened before… that was ten years ago in Switzerland. But for this year alone, these are some amazing figures.
More to come once I’m back in Beijing. ▶
I’m onboard… without wireless Internet, of course, so I’m posting this later. Air China, as usual, took off late. This is just as predictable with them as the massive jams on the Jingzhang Freeway, the Western 2nd Ring Road, road blockades due to the president passing by an express passage, the colossal jams by National Highway 109 at Qinyukou, the huge jams on Tonghuihe North Road by Jianguomen Bridge, the tunnel under the Beijing West Railway Station being chronically jammed, and that mess that is Xizhimen Bridge.
I felt totally cramped onboard — and yet, amazingly, was able to get a half hour of sleep. ▶
For Apple, the first 30 years were just the beginning just some back. For me, I’m not exactly 30, but at 25, it’s still something.
Having just graduated, I thought it was time to take my car for one good cruise on the highway. And National Highway 109 it was out in western Beijing. Merely a stone’s throw away. Hit Lianhuachi East Road or Guangning Road, and there you go, way out into the west.
I can’t imagine it’ll be Games time this time next year. The kind of building and growth we’ve seen is just awesome. We’re supposed to get a new subway line coming later. But me rediscovering western Beijing’s mountains — a very Swiss thing here — is already showing me this is one very cool city. ▶
Looks like Hebei is swallowing Beijing full.
Either that, or you took Municipal Highway 209 form Nankou to Yanchi.
Sometime back, at the Yanchi Inspection Station, I saw signs leading to Changping, and that made me kind of think. I also started wondering when I saw a signpost to Yanchi in Changping. I drove too quickly, so I couldn’t back out. But I knew there was a link, of sorts, between the two.
This time, I finally nailed it. ▶
Beijing should redo the 5th Ring Road. I mean, seriously, it looks just out of place and has seen more than its fair share of crashes, for-nothing police spot checks, and just outright weirdo and out-of-this-world encounters of a bizarro kind.
You know why the 5th Ring Road is in trouble? One of the bridges, Yongyin Bridge sits right next to a grave. They had to seal one of the exits.
To you guys who designed the 5th Ring Road: Either redesign it (especially the bit near Yongyin Bridge) or live under permanent fear. ▶