Welcome to the second BlogFlash event! The first (#BlogFlash2012) was so well received that we decided to run it twice yearly. It’s a great opportunity to get creative, meet other bloggers and get a new audience. Whether you join us for the full month or just a few days, the main aim is to have fun and be inspired. Anything else is a bonus. Worried about word count? Don’t be! It’s a guideline so the month doesn’t feel overwhelming but if you feel inspired to write more, feel free. Good luck!

#BlogFlash2013: Day Nineteen – A Tale of Two Cities

Big, sprawling, boisterous Shanghai stretches as far as the eye can see. The city, at the vanguard of China’s reform, is noisy and exciting, a glamorous cosmopolitan stew, teeming with glitzy restaurants and hotels. The world’s tallest skyscrapers coexist with nineteenth century cathedrals and ancient gardens. Visiting, I was enthralled by the wonder and possibility, captivated by the city’s glorious history.

At the center of 3000-year-old Beijing is the Forbidden City, an enormous complex, home to the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Exiting via the Tiananmen Gate, or Gate of Heavenly Peace, you enter Tiananmen Square, an enormous public square designed to hold over 600,000 people, site of the bloody 1989 massacre. Just outside the gate, an elderly man got in a minor skirmish; within seconds, a van arrived and six police officers whisked him away. While China’s enormous surveillance system operates in cities across the countries, you feel its presence in Beijing. Narrow lanes twist through the hutong, or alleys, walled off in 2007 to hide the poorer courtyard houses and alleys from visitors; eyes.

Throughout China, the old blends with the new. In Shanghai, you hear a distinct call to the future, while in China’s capital city, Beijing, or walking along the nearby Great Wall, you are borne away to the past.

Next prompt: Education (28th March)

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