Well here it is! The update this week after some time in Beijing - I would have liked to have done it sooner but the Chinese government have blocked blogging sites as well as facebook and twitter and a whole host of other sites. I felt somewhat lost without checking my notifications and mails, but i struggled through and had an amazing trip!
Beijing is not a particularly pretty city but it is fascinating. The sights were amazing - the Great Wall and the Forbidden City were personal favourites. But the authoritarian run, communist regime still allows for copious amounts of touts offering me "Friend Price" and "Very Special Offer!" I'm glad I left when I did as had a been asked to take one more ride in a rickshaw I may have taken his rickshaw and moved it somewhere that would have been quite uncomfortable for him.
Paranoia also plays a massive role in Beijing, you have to be security checked on the metro system, when going into almost all public places - even Tiannamen Square! However, I reckon this is more to make sure you aren't carrying any placards that could be used to protest in anyway, most of us living outside of China, know what happened the last time someone protested!
The people in Beijing also seem very patriotic, highlighted by numerous people gathering to watch the ceremony of the national flag being taken down on the square. Yet, they have no hesitation in defecating the ground with their saliva. I have never been in a place where it is so natural for people to just spit everywhere - very unpleasant!
However, the trip was a fantastic one, and one I encourage everyone to make, just to get a taste of what it is like to be in the capital city of an authoritarian regime!