I’ve always had an image of what Beijing is like in my mind. It’s a historical significant city, with a rich history of battle fields, great walls, name changes, and it is the epicentre of dynasties that have risen and fallen over many centuries. Imagine my shock when I visited that it did not look at all like the city of pagodas and cobblestone roads like I had always seen on TVB shows. Of course, in the 21st century, the capital of China is a modern city with cars, public transportation, glass buildings, and smog. The culture shock I received wasn’t the fact that I was in a foreign city, it was the fact that Beijing was so reminiscent of North American cities.
I took the opportunity to visit some museums and historical monuments, but everything felt so constructed. True to stereotype, everything felt like counterfeit. I think I like the Beijing I had created in my head rather than the modern 21st century city itself. But time passes, and things change. Even though reconstruction of the past isn’t as good as the real thing, the only thing we can do is accept what we have.