Goodbye Beijing 北京再见

Hong Kong International Airport
Hong Kong International Airport

My time in Beijing has come to an end.  It has been an unforgettable summer and I hope this blog has helped you experience life as a law student at Peking University and a Summer Associate.  I would like to thank Natalie Gilkison and Katherine Wozniak at UMKC’s International Academic Programs for the opportunity to write on this website.  It’s been an absolute pleasure.  For my final blog post, I thought it would be a good idea to write about a few of my favorite places and last events in Beijing.  If you have any questions about the Summer Program at the law school or Beijing, please send me an email.  Or, as you would do in China, add me on WeChat (username: thekeithkelly).

Qianmen & Forbidden City
Qianmen & Forbidden City

The photo on the left is the view from Capital M, one of my favorite places in Beijing.  The final Sunday of each month Time Out Beijing hosts free film screenings that highlight China’s best films.  I attended two screenings and watched Still Life (2007) and Suzhou River (2000).  Both were great, as was the view.  The photo to the right is the moat around The Forbidden City.  This area is connected to Tiananmen Square and very popular with tourists.  The Chinese love walls and sometimes they look nice.

Great Wall of China
Great Wall of China

My co-workers and I set out one Saturday morning towards Longqing Gorge, just north of Beijing.  Unfortunately, due to heavy rain it was closed for the weekend.  We did not become aware of this until already on a public bus headed that direction.  Fortunately, it was also in the same direction as the Badaling portion of the Great Wall.  I hadn’t been to this area, which is the most popular with tourists.  It made an excellent second choice.  We hiked so many steps and got the photo on the right.  After, a couple of us got Traditional Chinese Medicine massages and cupping treatment.  The masseur even knew I was fond of spicy food – just from examining my legs and feet!

Sampling Baijiu at Capital Spirits
Sampling Baijiu at Capital Spirits

We convinced two co-workers to come to a Baijiu bar so we could finally try it.  Baijiu is a Chinese liquor that is very strong (often 56% alcohol by volume) but is the most popular liquor in the world.  I have heard bars in New York and Los Angeles have started to sell it.  It is wildly popular with Chinese businessmen and blue collar workers alike.  Capital Spirits specializes in baijiu and we tried many kinds.  My American co-worker (Jessica) even tried snake wine.  I am terrified and did not.

Great Leap Brewing
Great Leap Brewing

Beijing has started to embrace the craft brew trend.  We tried as many as possible this summer but I think my two favorites are Great Leap Brewing (pictured here) and 京-A.  Great Leap has three locations around Beijing and is very popular with expats and a growing number of locals.  This location (near Sanlitun) serves a beer called Honey Ma Gold, which is infused with Sichuan peppercorn.  I love it!  They also have great burgers.

Broadway Cinematheque MOMA
Broadway Cinematheque MOMA

Broadway Cinematheque MOMA is an ultramodern movie theater in Beijing.  It is located inside a modern apartment complex and surrounded by water.  There is also an underground amphitheater in the complex.  The theatre primarily shows Chinese arthouse films.  I came to see a film called Kaili Blues, which was great.

CCTV Building and Sheppard Mullin
CCTV Building and Sheppard Mullin

Two of my favorite views in Beijing: the CCTV Headquarters and my desk at Sheppard Mullin.  The view on the left is from the 80th floor of China World Offices (Building 1).  The CCTV Building is one of my favorite modern designs.  The locals don’t care for it much and have given it the nickname “underpants” (it looks like two legs…).  The photo on the right is me at my desk at Sheppard Mullin.  I spent many hours there this summer and will miss it dearly.

Farewell dinner
Farewell dinner

A few of my co-workers and I walked to this very old restaurant in the Guomao area of Beijing for dinner.  The food is very traditional Beijing style and was fantastic.  The restaurant had live birds inside (in cages) and they were not shy.  A standout was a cabbage dish that tasted like it was cooked on an open flame with wood.  Also, Mapo Tofu — always a favorite of mine!

Beijing Subway
Beijing Subway

This photo hopefully gives you an idea of how packed the subway can get.  This is a pretty normal struggle during peak travel times.  Above ground, Beijing was very hot this summer.  Below ground, even hotter.  The subway system is extremely clean, cheap, and efficient.  It can also feel like an amusement park ride with this number of passengers.