Last days in Beijing

The last days in Beijing are passing slowly. I had expected Beijing to be this great city with lots of sights. And the guidebooks say it will take a week to take in all the sights, but really it’s a lie. This isn’t Paris or New York, and you can see pretty much all there is to see in a few days. The Lonely Planet says you should allow yourself a day in the Forbidden City ‘for exploration’ and then another day just to see all the exhitbitions. Truth is, you can see all there is to see in the Forbidden City in one day, including all the exhibitions, and read all the captions at that. The average visitor will probably have had enough after at most three hours. Of course, travel guides don’t sell by saying there’s not that much to see.

Still, it gives you the chance to talk to other people. Some are rather boring, some are quite fun and every now and then you stumble across someone who has something interesting to say. Last night, I stumbled across Mat. Mat was gonna start Law School next year but had done some consultancy work for the government the last two years, and told me about the procedure to get security clearance. I thought I had to answer some ridiculous questions on my visa application, such as ‘were you ever a part of nazi-regime of Germany?’  or ‘are you planning to engage in any terrorist or subversive activities during your stay in the United States?’, but this was on a whole different level. Hooked up to a poligraph, he had had to answer questions such as ‘how many girls have you had sex with’, and ‘how do you like to do it with them’, the aim of these being to find out any information with which you could be blackmailed. Damn.

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