Seven Dragons Across Asia

A dream that became an adventure!  

By Bill Pratt

We arrived in Beijing only to find that our not so trusty shipping agent did not ship on time.  Our motorcycles were slightly delayed and allowed us some quality time in Beijing.  We toured the city by bicycle, visited the Forbidden City, walked the new pavers of Tiananmen Square and met lots of really neat people.  Language was not much of a problem.  We found that English was readily spoken and the local merchants were very patient with Americans.

Beijing is under transformation in anticipation of the Olympics.  Because Beijing is one of the top contenders, they have undertaken an almost impossible task of “cleaning” the city.  Many of the really old buildings are being reduced to rubble.  Every brick is recycled and the land cleared for new construction.  The air is far from clean, but it is tolerable.  They have electric power plants that keep the city covered with a constant haze.  But, a good rain shower cleans the air for a few days until the next inversion hits.

We were treated to new foods, news friends and new experiences as every day unfolded.  Understand this was an adventure.  We never knew really what each day would deliver.  It was like reading a book.  You knew what the book was about, but you did not really know what each chapter would deliver.  China, for most of us, was a new “book” as we searched every corner, every shop and every restaurant.  Thanks to the entire group of special people that made Beijing a real treat.  It was the prelude to the rest of our adventure.

A young boy sits in the shade at the Forbidden City in Beijing…five minutes later his grandparents wanted a small fee for the picture.


Two beautiful young girls pushing a bike in Beijing


Kite flying in Beijing early in the morning…made from black plastic bags


Early exercises in Beijing…hide the Band-Aids



End of the tour at the Forbidden City…a tired little girl




I met this young boy and his sister in the Forbidden City…he wanted to practice his English and make new friends



China has some of the best doorknobs and knockers



Riding Mountain bikes in Beijing…an extra bonus while we kill time waiting for the motorcycles.  The green box contains some really cool watercolor art.  I highly recommend a day of bike riding as it prepares you for the real traffic that was to follow.

Ó Copyright, Bill Pratt, Mill Creek, WA – March, 2001