1. bachfiend says

    Damn. I’m going to be in Beijing at the beginning of October for the Beijing Music Week (the local orchestra is performing, so I’m going on a tour to support them – as an excuse). So I’ll miss you too.

  2. svendersar says

    Just a heads up PZ – tried to access this site from China last month – I got pushed through to the catchpa, which happens to require a domain connection that is blocked (aka the great firewall of China). I don’t think it was freethoughtblogs itself which was on the naughty list, but it made it fairly impossible to access via regular methods anyway.

  3. foolish wolf says

    @2. I think the catchpa system is run by google system is run by google so it gets blocked. I’ve had to use a VPN since they modified freethoughtblogs due to a chinese search engine was being a bit too zealous.

  4. says

    Sverdersar and Foolish wolf are right. Without a VPN you get the captcha system, but the captcha itself is blocked. You’d better sign up for a free VPN trial before you go.

    Anyway, I’m in Shenzhen, but I’ll be in Beijing in October for an e-cig expo. Sadly, that’s 17-19, so It sounds like I’ll miss you.

    You should consider coming to Hong Kong or southern China sometime. Rebecca Watson did a talk in Dongguan a couple of years ago, and it was pretty well attended.

  5. davidporter says

    I was living in Beijing for the past year, but moved away last week; sorry that I’ll miss your visit! As for sightseeing, do go to the Great Wall; it’s one of those rare tourist attractions that’s actually even cooler than you expect (but avoid the most touristy bit at Badaling; if you want something that’s still relatively accessible and has been restored (for safer/easier walking), go to Mutianyu or maybe Jinshanling, though the latter is a bit farther from town). The Forbidden City is also genuinely very cool (though since I’m a historian of the Qing Dynasty, take what I say with a grain of salt), but you have to know what you’re doing; most tours (including the private guides hawking their services outside the front gate) and suggested itineraries will just have you walk down the main axis, competing with a million other people to peer into the grand audience halls, with perhaps a brief jaunt into the living quarters to the west. You’ll want to enter the central axis to get a sense of the scale of the thing, but then immediately make your way to the left to see the painting gallery or to the right to see the ceramics gallery (or both, depending on interest), which in addition to amazing collections, actually allow you to be inside a palace building (instead of peering in from the outside) and which are always nearly empty of tourist. The clock gallery and treasure gallery (both to the east of the main axis) are also really cool and let you inside buildings; they cost an extra 10 RMB each, which is very little money ($1.50 or so) but is enough to keep almost all other tourists out. If it’s a clear day, climb Jingshan (the hill across the street behind/to the north of the Forbidden City; don’t worry, it’s not very high) for a great bird’s eye perspective (and if it’s really clear, views of the mountains to the west). If you’re making your own food choices, Peking Duck is in fact a must, Beijing-style hotpot (“shuan rou”) is also excellent, and if you like spicy food, take advantage of one of the very good Sichuan restaurants in town (Zhang Mama on Fensiting hutong is my favorite, though you’ll have to wait in line, and you’ll probably want one of your Chinese hosts along to help with ordering, unlike a lot of places, the menu lacks pictures). Evenings are best spent enjoying a beer in a hutong (one of the old Beijing streets) in central Beijing. The courtyard at Great Leap brewing (the original branch on Doujiao hutong) is amazing, and it’s a chance to try some local Beijing microbrew; another good choice is Arrow Factory on Jianchang hutong. Or just head down Fangjia hutong and grab a beer from the fridge and a seat by the side of the street at Cellar Door.
    Beijing is really a terrific city; hope you have a terrific time!