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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Tiananmen at Dawn

CHINA | Tuesday, 17 November 2015 | Views [381]

In only a few hours I'm off to the DPRK! Getting here from Korea involves flying to Beijing and I had a few, albeit exhausting, hours to stroll around. My only option for China after all the heartache with Chinese visas is the 72-hour visa waiver. When I arrived at the airport at 1 AM all the trains had stopped running and the taxi drivers of course heckled me and tried to get me in their taxi. Ultimately I tried to hitchhike into town but I ended up getting an unofficial taxi to Tiananmen Square. More than 1.3 billion people call China home and Tiananmen is the epicentre. Mao Zedong founded the People's Republic of China here at the Gate of Heavenly Peace in 1949 and his final resting place is at a mausoleum in the middle of the world's largest square. Soldiers stand still guarding the square even though it's very cold and pitch dark with nearly not a soul around. There was nowhere nearby where I could grab a coffee and my back was sore from carrying all my gear. In a tunnel these homeless drunks tried to get me to drink beer with them but I wasn't interested. Tiananmen at dawn is an interesting experience. Mao's portrait watches over the square as if he sees all corners, and there aren't hoardes of tourists like there are during the day. When I return from the DPRK on Saturday I'll have a few days in Beijing and I'll be excited to go to the Forbidden City and to pay respects to the Great Helmsman. Since I still had a number of hours to burn I called in at the lobby of a hotel with free wifi. With some hot water I was able to make a cup of tea. Calling Mom and then Dad I let them know I love them, because they know for the next five days I'll be off the grid entirely. Whilst I initially planned on taking a taxi to the Koryo Tours office I thought I'd save a few renminbi by taking the Beijing Metro. It sure is packed and you must be an expert contortist. I only had a few hours at Tiananmen this morning but at dawn it's magical. When I return from the DPRK I'll be back for more! 

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