Rambling Robert's Travels

This blog chronicals the travels of myself, Rambling Robert, on my next adventure to South America.

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I am a world traveller. I do not work as such. I have been homeless and unemployed since 1October 2003. I worked as a chef for 30 years in America.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tavel update from Beijing

August 18, 2011 Nei hao
I am in China. I was in Beijing for 7 nights and it was a very nice experience. At first Beijing is very difficult for the independent traveler who does not speak chinese. I arrived by train to Er Lian from Mongolia. My last memory of Mongolia is getting taken by the ticket office at the international train sales window. I bought a combination train/bus ticket. The train part went smoothly enough. I was told when I bought my ticket that a person would be waiting at the train station with a sign with the name of the bus company on it and I would be taken to the bus and taken to Beijing to arrive at 7or 7:30 am. Well what a line of bullshit!
There was no one there to meet me! I showed my bus ticket to some taxi drivers and they said they knew where the bus was and they would take me. Now remember I speak no chinese and the taxistas speak no english. This is all done in charades, grunts and gestures.
I felt i was being cheated again but was at a loss as to what else to do so I went with the most persistent driver and he took me to the bus station and a little shop where a woman immediately got out her calculator and started screaming " Change money! Change money! " This turned out to be her only english!! I showed her my ticket and she took out a stack of identical tickets so i knew I was in the right place and paid my taxdriver.
She in turn walked over to the bus station and bought me a ticket on the next (the only!) bus to Beijing which was at 4:30 pm so I had to wait 5 hours and paid about 3 times what i would have paid if I had done all this on my own. Just shows that even an old road dog like me can get ripped off!! Ah hahh well what is traveling for if not to learn? huh?
So the real shit was that I would now have to arrive in Beijing at 4am not 7:30 and as any experienced traveller knows that really sucks! It is never good to arrive in a strange city where you do not speak the language and do not know where you are going in the middle of the night.
I had a reservation at a hostel and had instructions from the bus station to the hostel by public bus but the public bus and metro do not begin service until 5:30 and check-in time at my hostel was 12 noon. So I finally took a taxi 5 kilometers to the hotel and paid more than the price of the bed for the ride.
I have had a fine and interesting first week in China. Beijing is a fantastic city. An excellent example of all man can create by using his mind. Lots of noise, traffic, pollution, art, beautiful old architecture, FABULOUS indescribable foods, beautiful new architecture, all the latest fashions and McDonalds! It just may be possible that the air quality here is even worse than Los Angeles. I aint sure. The sky is always grey. It is amazingly dirty air i am breathing!
I did the tourist stuff, went to the great wall and the forbidden city. What a bunch of hoooey. Crowds and touts and tour operators with their silly little flags and... well if any of you want to know more about it you can look it up on google!! As for the great wall...Well here I go kids...
The wall is just another example of the minds unwillingness to accept impermanence. In mankinds history, we create false ideas like countries and religions and artificial groupings of humans like tribes and clans and races, and try to maintain these artificial notions through propaganda if possible and through force if not.
The wall did not work. It never works. Millions of chinese peasants were conscripted to do the work. More than a million ( I am told ) died of starvation exposure and exhaustion and OF COURSE it did not work. Just like all the walled cities that fell under seige in all the wars in history did not work. Just like the Maginot line did not work. Just like Stalin's iron curtain did not work, or the Berlin wall or the DMZ between north and south Viet Nam. None of them worked none will ever work. Stalin could not keep out McDonalds, Coca Cola and Christian D'Orr.The Chinese could not keep out the barbarians.
I come from a country (USA) where millions of retards think we should construct a 2000 kilometer wall on our border with Mexico at a cost of trillions of dollars and then to patrol it at a cost of trillions more. This is a bankrupt country mind you, that can not possibly pay for this any way other than to borrow the money and increase the national deficit!! When it will not, can not possibly work!!
After all the pain and money the emperors spent on the wall, Ghengis Khan came to it and looked up and saw it and called out to the guards and gave them bribe of a basket of gold coins and they opened the doors to the gate and... he...just...waltzed...in!
The mind wants to make permanent that which was never real (an empire, a country) to begin with. The mind wants security when there is no sescurity. All things must pass. All times are local. At the end of the game, the king and the pawn go into the same box.
So now I am here and here it is now and I am in Yao Ping. It is an ancient walled city in central China. Things here are as they were 300 years ago. It is like being in a different century. Some times it is hard to say just what time it really is, what century we are all living in. All times truly are local!! If things go as planned (hahhh!!) I will be here for 4 more nights and then go to Xi'An. I am in the process now of getting a train ticket. Travel in China is almost as difficult as Russia. It is very frustrating because I have been to so many countries where things are so much easier.
Xi'An is famous for Noodles. it is said to be the place whrerr noodles were invented. I am stoked to go and try some of the best noodles in the world. Chinese food here in China is fantastic, delicious, awesome, radical, and ten times better than the chinese food one gets in Chinese restaurants in other places in the world.
I am reading and discussing Chinese spiritual teachings with the locals when I get the chance. I am learning a lot about the Tao (the way) as taught by Lao-tse and Chuang-tse. I am having fun in a chinese kind of way. i am happy to be alive, I am happy to be here and I am happy it is still now.
Peace and love to all of you,
Rambling Robert

"A well frog cannot imagine the ocean, nor can a summer insect conceive of ice. How then cn a scholar understand the Tao? He is restricted by his own learning."Chuang-tse

"Fine weapons are instruments of evil. All Creatures hate them. Therefore followers of the way do not use them..To rejoice over victory by violence is to rejoice over slaughter. He who rejoices over slaughter cannot unite within the empire ... the wise ruler sees military triumph as a funeral. " Lao Tse (from Tao Te Ching)

"If you compare the city to the forest, you begin to wonder why it is that man considers himself superior to the animals" Benjamin Hoff


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