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Mongolia to Beijing by train

Friday 15th July

I woke up at about 7am, to find the train was just leaving the station in a largish town or city. It was soon obvious that we were in China rather than Mongolia: different crops, mules, three-wheeled vehicles, bicycles, and a higher density of people and scenery generally.

There was also a haze that hung over everything, and which was to be with us for our entire stay in Beijing. It was not fog, but some combination of dust and smog.

Breakfast was an omelette, with white bread, jam, and coffee. We had to ask for sugar, which came on a plate with a tablespoon — "sorry, no smaller spoon" — though at the next table they had to apply theirs with chopsticks! Lunch was an excellent meal, beef and chicken with rice, and very comforting after so many weeks of Mongolian food.

a gravel mine
maize and haze
an overgrown section of the Great Wall

The views as we progressed included mountains, eroded loess country, fields, mines, power stations, ruins of old forts, bits of the Great Wall, people working, roads, and more. We didn't get out at a brief stop for Great Wall viewing — we didn't realise that was what the stop was for — but we had views of it from the train.

apartment towers from the train
On the way into Beijing it was one high-rise apartment block after another. We were confused about which station we were arriving at, but ended up at the station southeast of the city centre. It took us a while to get a taxi, but eventually we got to our hotel on a backstreet just north-east of the Forbidden City.

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