Nature is relatively scarce in Beijing because the place is about as metropolitan as the definition of the word allows for. It’s not unheard of to catch a glimpse of natural beauty here, though. The parks are quite nice, my personal favorite being XiangShan, or “fragrant mountain.” Its rolling hills, green foliage, and beautiful police station are a thing to behold. It also has a nice pond with no less than three swans, nature’s beautiful jerks. Any public park can surprise you, though. It’s not uncommon to catch sight of a hedgehog scurrying near dark. Don’t actually catch one, though, because that’s a cultural no-no. Also, they have spines. Even on the streets in some areas, you observe the habits of the semi-domesticated Beijing street dog. These guys are street-smart as animals come; they’ll switch to the other side of the sidewalk to avoid bumping into people, or even wait for pedestrian signals to cross major intersections. In other words, it’s very much a city, but if you look, you can find nature growing between the cracks.
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