This guy (an American) must be nuts — Various Notes on Russia, China, Vietnam and more:
I loved Bejing. Totally unexpected, since I default to not liking big cities. It was clean. People were very, very friendly. Got into a really fun and cool hostel right near the Forbidden City that was in an old, traditional courtyard neighborhood, down a couple alleys, seemingly in the middle of no where in the heart of the city. The sights were really good – Forbidden City was great, Summer Palace was fine (except for the crowds), even the Great Wall at the mega-tourist spot I went to was incredible. And the food… mmmmm… dumplings for breakfast (and lunch and dinner). Gotta love dumplings for breakfast.
One reason I was unexpectedly happy with Bejing is that I actually saw the sky for a couple days. Had heard about the pollution (and got it in the south later), but had some actual, real blue sky days there. One thing I loved in that respect were the self-propelled, motorized bicycles. Bascially they had a little motor in them and when you petaled them, they charged up the internal battery, so that you could use them as a motorized bike until the charge ran out. Then you petaled again for a bit and charged them up again. Incredibly good idea. Haven’t seen them before and I think they ought to be government subsidized everywhere.
I can’t believe my eyes.