Tuesday, November 25

China, Day Two: A Brief Beijing

Since the flight was a bit heavy-going, our first (half) day in Beijing was going to be a quiet affair. After checking in to our hotel (with free wired Internet - yay) we headed off for lunch at a local Halal Chinese; one of the benefits of being on a privately guided tour like we are.

We were then taken to Niujie Mosque, which I think is the oldest in Beijing having been established in 996. Although I've seen them in pictures, actually performing prayer in a Chinese styled mosque is a pretty interesting experience and a striking reminder of just how far and wide Islam spread, as well as the many manifestations it exists in today. It was encouraging to meet local Chinese Muslims, even if I didn't have a clue what they were saying.

After Niujie we had the chance to meet with a local Muslim calligrapher in his home, where we were shown examples of his work as well as presented with the opportunity to buy them. This was one of the downsides of being on a tour of this nature, and I'm sure we'll get marketed at again during this trip. There was a hotty Chinese Muslim girl there visiting at the time, but that's probably neither here nor there

We were back in the hotel for around six, hoping to spend a good night resting. Tomorrow promises to be a full and eventful day, and I still have this damn queasiness to shake off.

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