It used to be that we would hear about the poor starving kids in China or how we were lucky we didn’t live in Peking, but these days a lot has changed. The people that live in Beijing are happy to be there and here are just five of the many reasons why:
1) Freedom is growing. While citizens in the USA are becoming more and more tightly controlled, the citizens in China and particularly in Beijing have been liberated in recent years. It is easier today for the average Chinese to start a business, buy a car, take a vacation, or use the internet than it has ever been in the past 100 years. China is a rising power and holds enough debt from the USA to buy every piece of real estate in all fifty states. Even the Forbidden City isn’t forbidden in Beijing.
2) Parks open at 6 a.m. in Beijing and they are filled with seniors, middle age, and youngsters doing group excercise. This is not mandatory, it is voluntary and you can be sure that there are positive effects on the overall outlook, health, and happiness of the millions of Chinese who are out there socializing and exercising each day.
3) You can get a great meal for less than 10 RMB – that’s about $1.75. I’m not talking about junk food – I’m talking about a full meal. Think Chinese food is good in the US or UK? You should try it in China and especially in Beijing where you can sample every style of food known to China
4) A pickup basketball game is never further than a block away and you can always find people who will let you in. Generally you will find people who are happy and curious about you and glad to have the chance to play a game with you. There are bad sports but you won’t find any gang shootings or games of ‘knock out’ just because you don’t fit in. Chinese people love basketball – but don’t be surprised if they are much better than you expect.
5) Hutongs – if you love shopping and street food, then hutongs are made for you. If you want something you can find it in a Hutong – I’m not talking on a Walmart level, I’m talking more on a universal level. Want some French green beans and a Star Trek transporter – ask a guide and someone will lead you to it.
It’s really no surprise that Beijing is so full of smiling people…is it?