Beyond Beijing

Beyond Beijing

Beijing, China


It was the first day of Spring, year 2010 and was raining as we got out of our van. I thought to myself, this is it, the Great Wall of China, one of the world’s greatest sites, and I am about to climb it.I was excited but at the same time, disappointed that it was raining and it didn’t stop. I forgot how many steps I climbed but it got harder as the whole thing was enveloped into thick fog.

Beijing March 2010


Beijing March 2010


Beijing March 2010

As of 2010, the whole of mainland was under Internet censorship, at least that’s what the guide told us. I couldn’t get my 3G to work on my phone, couldn’t update my Facebook status, or send an email to my parents back home. They blocked all mobile online access, even for tourists. She said only ages 18 and over are able to go online and that’s when you use pay-internet service booths. This was very hard for me to understand.

Our guide was in her mid 20s, was first of 2 children. She later on told us that her parents tried to hide her sister because of China’s one child policy. I couldn’t remember much of her story, I was too culturally overwhelmed, and couldn’t get over the thought of not having siblings to play with, not because it was a choice my parents made, but because it was the law.

Ever since I was younger, I have been exposed to how people fight for their freedom and for equality. I have learnt in school about this type of government but seeing it first hand made me more aware how lucky I am. I may have stayed only a few days but to me it felt like seeing these people in a different light. Scratching Beijing beyond its touristy surface.

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About Sarah

A perpetual dreamer, an eternal nomad and a Francophile at heart.

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