The Turunn Tribune continues its travel special with another opportunity to send an overfed reporter to eat even more and guzzle cocktails in an exotic destination that most of us will never get near to. This week Stig Gunterschørn explores Beijing.
The majority of tourists make a beeline for the Great Wall of China. This is a beginner’s mistake; the Wall is vastly overrated and is best avoided. Recent research conducted by the UK Academy of Asian Studies indicates that the Wall was in fact built by migrant British workers who had strayed into China trying to find a style of cuisine that would make life in their homeland bearable. The discovery that British labor was involved explains why the Wall is not straight or high enough to keep out invaders, except the short peoples of the Mongolian plateau. It also explains why its construction took much longer than expected as the workforce took two tea breaks and a generous lunch hour every day, with frequent downing of tools when anything upset them.
The Wall can be seen from many places in China so no need to take a special trip, just open the blinds in your hotel room and look into the distance. If you can be bothered.
Instead of trekking out to the Great Wall we recommend spending your time in Beijing’s Chinatown; the finest, most vibrant, Chinatown of any city in the world. Just ask any of the friendly native population how to get to Chinatown and, although they may seem irritated and indifferent, they will wave you on your way with a customary Wing Chun throat strike. One word of caution in Beijing: the city’s panda population is burgeoning, and nighttime encounters with the bears as they forage for leftover stir-fried bean sprouts and bamboo are to be expected. Do not be fooled! Hugs and selfies with pandas can turn nasty as the animals are very particular about their appearance and do not like photos that highlight the dark circles under their eyes.
A last travel tip from our experts: instead of losing time with the inevitable jet lag, prepare in advance by pre-synchronizing your body. Simply go to bed at 11am and sleep through to 5pm every day for two weeks prior to your departure. Have a light breakfast at 7pm and spend your working day from 9 o’clock at night through to 5am, then enjoy a few hours of well-earned rest before bed. When you arrive in China you will already be completely acclimatized, amazing fellow tourists with your ability to easily integrate into inverted Asian time. Similarly, once in Beijing get ready for the return trip by proactively adjusting back to your home time zone. For visitors from the USA, this would mean sightseeing from 9pm until 5am and making sure you’re back in bed by 11am. Guess what? No jet lag either way!
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