I am back in my little apartment in Chiang Mai, Thailand after my Medical Tourism To China Trip. It was a great tour with the C-trip and Juicertrip team in China. I had a wonderful time there, learned a lot, made great friends and in general, it was just Great. I had my second treatment from Drs. Lee and Chin at the Dongzhimen Hospital. I have to say that I never felt as cared for by any physician or establishment I have visited. I would not hesitate to go to them again. Should you ever need a great Dr. for acupuncture then ask for Dr. Chin.
The second treatments were almost like the first ones with the exception of how the acupuncture was done. Dr. Chin took my readings and ask if I was feeling tired, which I was. The 6.5-mile walk to many of the main sites in Beijing had left me very tired. He determined that he was going to give me a treatment for that as well as my lower legs. I knew that he had me lay on my back and had inserted several of the small needles into my abdomen this time as well as my legs and arms. It always amazes me to see the photographs after one of these treatments and see just how many needles were used. For the most part, you will never know that they were inserted if you do it will be no more than the bite from a mosquito bite. He did add the box of smoke for the Moxibustion treatment over the needles placed in my abdomen. I am not sure that I felt any surge of energy from the treatment initially.
Summing Up The Medical Tourism To China Trip
To sum up the treatments and what effects I believe that I achieved through only the two treatments is fairly easy. I do feel better for having taken them. My energy did return faster than if I had not had the second treatment I believe. I am not seeing a great change in my knees but, I believe this is just from my age and a lot of miles on them. The biggest thing that I believe I received from the treatments was the improvement of the circulation in my lower legs. I have suffered from leg cramps in my calves, especially at night, sometimes waking me in the middle of the night. Another improvement was in my right foot. It has for several years had a mottled look on the top of it near my toes and that has almost returned to the original skin color and I have not had any cramps in my legs since the treatment. I do not believe that I got the full effect of what TCM could do for me and that it would take probably a set of 5 treatments once a year to do that. Our tour guides who are not yet 30, take from 1 to 3 trips to a TCM doctor yearly. David takes treatments for a shoulder injury several times a year so, only 2 treatments is not enough. Laurel will be going for her own Medical Tourism To China in September. I would love to go back to Beijing with Laurel and do a full set of 5 treatments like she will be receiving.
Now for the rest of the trip, the stuff we did as tourists in Beijing.
The first day after our treatment we all met at a traditional Dumpling House for lunch. This was the first time I had gotten to meet with the other bloggers that were doing the Medical Tourism To China trip with me. JR an Instagram professional from Mexico: now living full time in Moscow. Lexie from Australia: a blogger and photographer now living and teaching in China. Miguel a photographer: now living in Beijing with his wife and working in Social Media from Portugal. Last but not least Barb from Hungary: now living in London, a blogger full time and like me, a vagabond of the world having visited over 70 countries and still adding several new ones this trip.
After lunch, we took our first walk into the Hutongs of Beijing. Somewhat of a strange living arrangement for the residents. They are in a megacity full of beautiful glass skyscrapers and hotels but the living right around these in the traditional Chinese neighborhoods of the old city. Beijing is certainly a mix of the old and new, while these homes have hot and cold running water they have no sewage and there are community toilets every block or two for their use.
Beijing has a number of connected lakes. This first walk was along one of these just acclimating ourselves to the city and enjoying people watching. We were just getting our feet wet on this walk and there would be many more walks to come.
Tianemen Square and Forbidden City
We woke the next day for our first full day of exploring and a steady rainfall. Not the best situation for exploring and a terrible way to get good photographs. We were, however, trying to see as much as possible so we were going to persevere and head to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. The first stop was the Square where what I believe is one of the most famous photographs ever taken occurred. The small Chinese man facing down the tank. There has always been a great deal of information but this article should give you some great insight on What Happened to Tank Man?
After a short walk in the square, we went under the street to explore the Forbidden City and wait for the rain to stop. Unfortunately, it did not stop and the photographs that day were full of the dreaded UMBRELLAS. I did get a few photographs and a couple came out really well.
The city itself is simply amazing containing hundreds and hundreds of buildings and streets. I was there a year ago and somehow was in a totally different area of the Forbidden City than for this visit. Today we explored the huge squares and waterways that make up the central section of the city. I did not see any of this section on my last visit and there is a third section that I will have to catch on my next trip to Beijing.
I am not going to fill this article with stats – just my impressions. That there are more than 9999 rooms, 24 Emperors lived there from 1368 to 1911 is enough information to give you the scope of its size.
We had expressed that we would like to see the Birdsnest. The famous stadium that was built for the 2008 Olympic Games. The stadium took 5 years to complete and only cost 33 million dollars. I can only guess what a comparable stadium would have cost in the U.S. I know that the new Cowboys Stadium in Dallas with roof cost 1 Billion dollars.
This was a unique building that has a funny story to go along with its construction. The building itself is a large building with a series of office buildings in a row next to it. The design was created to mimic the shape of a Dragon. The story that goes along with it is that the builder did not get the correct permits and built anyway. He had to escape China to avoid prison or worse and sends out a message every day on Social Media that he is still OK. Since Social Media is blocked in China not sure who he is trying to get the message out to.
Of course, the number one tourist attraction in the world is the Great Wall of China. While China likes to rank it as the number 1 visited landmark in the world, the consensus online is that it is around the 26th most visited with 10,000,000 visitors a year but this is the number of tickets sold only in the Mutianyu and Badling sections. I found it unique that the most visited place is the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey with 91,000,000 visits a year and a place I was not impressed with. The wall is thousands of miles long spanning the entire country of China and these statistics are probably the number of tickets sold at the sections that have been rehabilitated near Beijing. There is really no way to account for all of the visitors across the entire country to the un-ticketed sections.
Needless to say, it was one of the top places on my bucket list and I have been there twice. Once this time to the Badling section and last year to the Mutianyu section. I would go to the Mutianyu if it were my choice. The views were much better for me there. There were fewer tourists and it is a much easier walk and it can end with a fun toboggan ride back down. More information on Great Wall of China at Wikipedia
Temple of Heaven
I have already discussed the Temple of Heaven in a previous article but did not really give any information on the Temple itself. Built in the 1400’s it was the place they would hold the annual Heaven Worship Ceremony. It was opened as a public park in 1988 and a huge gathering place for locals. The Temple grounds are actually larger than the entire Forbidden City. Chinese Emperors were prohibited from building a home on earth large than the one dedicated to Heaven. Get more information on the Temple of Heaven at Wikipedia.
The Winter Palace is a large area but there is no palace. During the 1860 occupation of the country by the British, it was burned over a three night period. The ruins are left there for the younger generations to see and remember. What took year and years to build was destroyed in 3 days.
The Summer Palace is probably my favorite place in Beijing. It is comprised of a huge lake with bridges across to reach the various buildings. When we visited we were able to sit on a small island in the lake for a couple of hours and enjoy the cool winds. The area was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1998.
The entire complex is about 1 square mile and one of the more interesting sites is a large stone paddle-wheel boat. The original boat belonging to the Qing Emperor was also destroyed in the 1860 Opium Wars. They later built one made of marble that cannot ever be destroyed by fire.
There is so much to see and discuss that I cannot do it justice here. Please visit Wikipedia for more on The Summer Palace to get a complete picture of all that is there before making a visit.
The last night before our second treatment we went to a large mall that is set on the largest Walking Street we found in Beijing. We went there for a Hot Pot meal and to visit the Bug Street which I will discuss later. The meal was really great and we strolled the entire length of the street. The Neon Lights and Marquis were great and one of the most interesting things I saw is in this photo. Above the Chandos advertising light is a square Barcode, take your cell phone and if you have the right app you can take a picture and know exactly where you are, very innovative and the first one I have ever seen.
Bug and Weird Stuff Street
Now for the promised Bug Street. Near the end of the aforementioned Walking Street was a very small almost alleyway running off of the street. In it, we found every type of exotic tidbits to try. The first was 4 small scorpions skewered with sticks. They were all still alive and their little legs were flailing as fast as they could go trying to escape off of the stick. Other things we saw were large scorpions, sea anemones, snakes, squid, starfish, baby birds, and centipedes to name a few. If you want something really weird to eat then this is your place.
The “Fake” Market
Not really a place I would have ever visited but it turned out to be very interesting. The market itself was 4 stories high and had everything you might want to shop for from cameras, iPods, phones, clothing, silk, purses, basically anything you might find in a regular mall. The catch is they were all very well done knockoffs of the original. We pretty much had to visit this so the girls could get that exotic handbag etc. that was just too expensive to get back home. While there are four of these markets in Beijing they are experiencing more and more problems with the government. They are allowed to sell a handbag that looks like a real one from Prada but they are not allowed to put the name on it any longer. These branded items still exist and you can get them, but they are more of a ‘you have to know someone’ to get into the “Special Area” where they are located.
The New Walking Street
The last section we visited during our Medical Tourism To China trip was called the New Walking Street. It is an area connected by a streetcar near the Forbidden City. It is a new and trendy section of all new stores, restaurants and even some car dealers. The section was renovated for the 2008 Olympics and new sections are opening every day. I found the sculptures to be the most appealing part of this section for me. I think I still like the old Hutongs Better.
That is pretty much my summation of my Medical Tourism To China trip and I hope you enjoyed it with me. Once again a huge shout out to Ctrip and Juicertrip for letting me participate in this learning experience.
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