My Impressions of China

On 20th June 2001 I left Beijing after five years of living there, when I was 8 years old. Twelve years I was dreaming to step on Chinese soil again. On 16th June 2013 I saw Beijing again.  While driving in taxi from airport to hotel, watching tall buildings in foggy morning was like a dream and most impressive moment in recent years of my life.  I spent 10 days in Beijing with my family. It was like living my dream it was unbelievable for me that I am there I had feeling that I never left Beijing.  I came there to refresh memories from childhood but also to learn something new about China.  Walking through Beijing and common places for me I was refreshing memories such as- flying a kite at Tiananmen Square, playing in Gardens of Xiangshan Park, Ritan Park or Beihai Park, eating ice cream or cooked corn in Wangfujing shopping street, taking photos with Chinese children in Temple of Heaven or Summer Palace, ice skating in Bamboo Park, riding bicycle at Sanlitun…

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My first visit to great wall, 1996

Revisiting of  Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City left great impression on me. Especially Tiananmen Square as it is main symbol of Chinese modern statehood, it is place where Chairman Mao declared birth  of Peoples Republic of China on 1.10.1949. It is place where every morning with sunrise rises Chinese Five Star Red Flag and proudly stands there.  On Tiananmen Square  I felt so small not because of its size but because of its significance for Chinese history, Chinese statehood and Chinese people.  Forbidden City was residence of Ming and Qing Emperors and it is one of main symbols of Chinese imperial period and tradition which survived for thousands of years. Its great halls are wonderful.

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somewhere in Beijing hutongs 2013
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One view old and new, Beijing 2013

While visiting many places in Beijing I realized how drastically China has changed since 2001. Beijing was in very big part one new world in comparison to 2001. Great changes are mostly visible at Sanlitun and  Beijing CBD. In CBD I saw  many tall, interestingly shaped skyscrapers which are touching sky and shinning in the night. Not only city  appearance changed  but also living standard of people. Proof of that are many shopping centers which appeared in CBD and Sanlitun.

Very interesting is drastic change of Sanlitun which was mostly composed of old buildingsmade from brick still in 2001. In 2013 I saw many shopping centers there,  squares, fountains, bars, nightclubs and modernly dressed up young people who are enjoying in bars or shopping.  While visiting hutongs, around Shichihai Lake and Qianmen Street I saw that old lifestyle didn’t die.  It was amazing to see street sellers of vegetables, fruits, skewers and bao zi again.  I was watching bicycles passing through narrow streets , and friendly people sitting together in front of gates eating noodles and laughing loudly. I was so happy when I saw China which I remember as a child.  Great impression on me have left ancient gardens and temples( such as Summer Palace, Xiangshan Park, Beihai Park, Yonghe Temple…) where ancient, calm  and traditional spirit is alive for many centuries.

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Beijing CBD 2013
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Qianmen street 2013

Trip with my parents and brother inspired me to visit China again. In summer 2015 I went there alone for 10 days. I went with aim to learn deeper about Chinese ancient spirit and nature. This time I was mostly impressed with ancient and calm places. places, beauty of nature and friendly Chinese people. I would specifically emphasize on 3 places which left most impression on me this summer of 2015- I would select Ritan Park, Beihai Park and Xiangshan Park.

Ritan Park is nice park near Beijing CBD. I spent there a lot of time this summer enjoying in its calmness, listening to Erhu player and watching Tai Chi exercisers.Beihai Park is another great place.   It is

Beihai Park is another great place.   It is large imperial park with big lake and  island in middle of lake.  Oldest construction is wooden temple which dates from 12th century. In one of its beautiful gardens I was sitting in pavilion with few other people and listening how one man was singing very nice traditional Chinese songs. In middle of island is temple and white pagoda. In temple one Buddhist pilgrim was striking big bell which produced mysterious sounds.  Very charming was sunset from top of pagoda.

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Beihai park  2013

Xiangshan Gongyuan-  is my favorite place in China.  It is very beautiful, mysterious and peaceful place. It is area of very beautiful hills, gardens, lakes, temples and pavilions. Almost all history of China is present on these hills. There are structures which come from different period of Chinese history-here are remains of temple built during Jin dynasty (12th and 13th century), Temple of Azure Clouds (firstly built in 14th century),  remains of Zhao Miao Temple (built by Qianglong emperor (18th century), pavilions and villas built during Ming and Qing dynasties, in Temple of Azure Clouds is Memorial Hall of Chinese revolutionary and first president of republic of China Sun Yat-sen. There is very important Shuangqing villa, from which communist leader Mao Zedong led final battles for liberating of Beijing from Kuomintang

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Xiangshan, Jingcui Lake, 2015

Xiangshan is situated out of Beijing, far from busy, noisy and overcrowded streets full of cars and people…I enjoy its silence and peace.  Absence of big number of tourists makes this place more charming and mysterious. It is exactly like I always imagined places related to ancient Chinese Taoist philosophy, place where you can focus on your own thoughts, where you can become more close to nature and enjoy its beauties, practice tai chi to harmonize your mind and body or simply to feel and understand Chinese ancient spirit. For example great experience for me was sitting next to green Jiangzui Lake on one stone under willow tree watching on water, lotus flowers, often changes between cloudy and azure sky on same day, and hills It was great pleasure to sit and enjoy such scenery and sounds and see how everything is in harmony there.  Next to lake I met one very old, friendly and  wise Chinese man. When I told him that I am from Serbia he was very happy and started speaking in Russian. We spoke almost one hour about my admiration of China, Chinese traditions, my country,  former Yugoslavia, Tito… It was great experience to meet this very friendly man and I hope that I will see him someday again. Very interesting for me was walking on paths through green hills, among trees, next to flowers, listening to sounds of birds which slightly interrupted the silence.  Practicing tai chi next to ruins of Zhao Miao temple and in gardens of Azure Clouds Temple was very relaxing. I felt like flowing with slow wind.

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Zhao Miao Temple, 2013

Simply I can say that all these experiences make me to be even more amazed  by China how fast it changes( economy, modernization) but core( ancient culture and tradition) stays the same.  I want more and more to visit China and go much further from Beijing to learn more about this stunning land its culture and its people. In following years I plan more journeys with my girlfriend( she became very interested in China) and except my favorite places we want to visit- Taishan, Shanghai, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Wudangshan, Emeishan, Lijiang…Exploring China and learning about its unique tradition is life quest and adventure for me.

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Azure Clouds Temple, 2013

As a  conclusion I can say that everyone who is interested in ancient Asian culture but also in great opportunities for job, study in  China ismore than perfect place. It is one yin yang of old and new. You can get great opportunities to work in many foreign or Chinese companies if you are interested in fields of business, trade or and you can earn a lot of money. Studying Chinese language and culture is great opportunity for you if you are interested in such studies what can also provide you good job opportunities. If you are interested in management, trade or foreign policy there are some universities that offer studies in English language. Studying or working in China you will have unique opportunity to discover this ancient civilization, culture and tradition. Living in China you will realize what is real and original Chinese food after which you will never eat Chinese food in your country. China offers you opportunity to travel, hike, cycle, go to seaside, enjoy pubs night clubs, shopping malls… every Except that you will have opportunity to make new friends not only with friendly locals but also with foreigners from all over the world. China is small world itself where you have people from Americas to New Zealand. You will enrich your knowledge and personality not only with discovering China and meeting Chinese people but you will become even more tolerant to other cultures and open to foreigners when you meet people from all over the planet.

IN NEXT EDITION- Beijing Little Guide1-What to Visit?

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Liuli pagoda 2013
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