22 March 2018

On The Metro: Beijing's Line 15!

Going underground in Beijing opened my eyes for sure, beginning on the capital's vast network at Line 15 it's been an education compared to my previous experiences in Wuhan! From the suburbs of Shunyi District, discovering Wangjing then going for gold at the Olympic Green, I won big! Tsinghua University's station stop finally took me further west along Line 15! 

Wuhan Metro's Line 2 used to be my go to line but in this Beijing life that I'm currently living I find myself on Beijing Subway's Line 15. Stretching from Shunyi District in the east to Tsinghua University to the west in Haidian District, it spans a serious distance across China's capital city. Starting in Shunyi, I tend to take the train from either China International Exhibition Center or Hua Li Kan, both stations are both quite close to my apartment. Made up of a colossal exhibition center and a favourable expat community, there's not so much to see around those stations aside from villa complex's but its home for now. I might live a good distance from the buzz of Beijing's city centre but Line 15 keeps me conveniently connected with the action from my Shunyi suburban location. Shunyi might not be most expats cup of tea but with Line 15 on my doorstep I have the best of both worlds, no need for noise! Not like 光谷广场地铁站!

December 2017 saw me get myself to Wangjing to experience its Korean side, taking Line 15 on Beijing's vast subway system it wasn't a problem to get myself from Shunyi's 国展地铁站 took me around twenty minutes! With no interchanges needed it was a blessed day for sure, adding to those blessings I ate some great Korean food and discovered Soju, oh how that Korean rice wine has given me many vile hangovers! Wangjing usually helps me out getting into the city, its a transfer station between Lines 14 & 15 that opened my eyes during my second day in Beijing back in November 2017. Wangjing used to be a shadow of its former self, it was no sleepy place when I visited during that Sunday discovery. The relief when that train stops at Wanjing from Shunyi is alwatys a blessing, most people get off to change to Line 14 thankfully, it's commuter crazy! Telling the truth, I need to get myself back to Korean Town for some more Korean cosmetics, seafood soup and Soju now! Olympic Green, who?

Not long after arriving in Beijing, China I had to see what Beijing's Olympic Green looked like. Boarding a Line 15 train from Guo Zhan I found the Bird's Nest Stadium with ease, making an almighty impact it was a scene of national pride! With a paved promenade like walkway it was easy to bike it for most of the day, unfortunately I had to leave my rented bike ride for the next stage. Seeing Beijing's famous 'water cube' Aquatics Centre from the outside showed me enough, it wasn't necessary to pay the entrance fee. The Birds Nest Stadium dominated the whole area, causing hysteria even though the games were over nine years previous during that 2017 time. Finding my own slice of Beijing's Olympic glory didn't take me long, from Guo Zhan it was only forty minutes to Line 15's Olympic Green Subway Station. Preparations had already started for the recently announced 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing! Go for gold!

To conclude my Line 15 Olympic Green day I biked up to the Beijing Olympic Forest Park that was linked with Line 8 of the Beijing Subway, not using that connection it could have potentially been fine for me to change at Olympic Green to reach the Forest Park upon leaving Line 15 for Line 8. Regardless, the vast Olympic Forest Park gave me some chill for sure, working in life in Beijing had kicked started at an almighty pace and I was lacking a scenic view! Making the most of the fresh air it was lovely to be walking at my own pace, people got on with their family time without stress. Having only seen the handover from Athens to Beijing it was great to see something in real life. Line 15 had so far shown me quite a lot, the Olympic offerings impressed me much, it begged the question if I would still be in the city for the upcoming Winter Games in 2022? Leaving that Olympic overness behind me, Line 15 had one more place to show me! Beijing's Subway dwarfs Wuhan's own ten times over!

Taking my time it was awhile longer before I found the time to travel to the western terminus station on Beijing's Line 15. Tsinghua University had something to show me for sure, upon exiting to street level I peddled for victory to reach one of China's most famous universities. Like Wuhan University I was expecting to see an array of pleasing sights, I was living during that rare Beijing city day out. From Hua Li Kan to 清华东路西口地铁站 took me about fifty minutes, anyhow I reached the gates of that famous Chinese university, gaining access without any stress. The Beijing blue skies gave the university buildings a certain shine, it was a lovely day to be exploring, blessed! No longer a student I saw that uni through experienced eyes, Birmingham had been the one for me, no disrespect to Tsinghua or Beijing, though! With that location found I wondered where the gardens would be? Of course, Beijing's Subway had big plans for me!

Trusting my Baidu Maps APP led me to the right turning, dodging the oncoming bikes like torpedos in battle I caught the right turning, I was so graciously afforded a chilled view of a period building or two. Allowing the predictable photos to be taken, I got my snaps of the scene that's featured above this section, it wasn't like anything I had seen in China, from the perspective it looked almost colonial with a European touch? Wuhan Univsersity may have had similiarities but Beijing's Tsinghua University served it own form of realness! My whistlestop trip to Line 15's western terminus gave me life, I have been extremely busy since I started my Montessori weekend course, getting out of my Shunyi locality gave me life to be within the grounds of Beijing's Tsinghua University. Wangjing, the Olympic Green and Beijing's Tsinghua University all impressed me much! Regardless of the shear number of commuters, Line 15 on Beijing's Subway continues to provide the sights! Which BJ Subway line is next?

Not Just Shunyi!

Joseph Harrison 

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