Tag Archives: beijing

Station 51 – Beijing – Grade B-

“What? He got deported.” The glass of Black Silk from Legend aimed at my mouth gets lost along the way. “Well, you know they take security pretty seriously down there you know. They don’t want Johnny Foreigner poking around.” The stout half-soused Scotsman points a finger. “Make sure you stay away from (garbled speech)!” He shifts on his stool. “I gotta piss.” As he stumbles away I grab the Sharpie from my pocket and write on the back of my hand.

I wake up head pounding. Black Silk lives up to its name on the way down, but it’s like sandpaper on the brain the next day. I roll over and notice I’ve made a note on my hand. STATION 51. I crumble out of bed and open my laptop. After an hour of ragged research on Baidu, I find a 1980s map of the Beijing subway. Something doesn’t look right, Pingguoyuan, the current terminal stop for line one, has two extra stations beyond it, stations 51 and 52.

After lining up the old map with current maps, I find two stations up in the hills on either side of a small mountain. The only clue as to their location is the canal leading up the mountainside. My hangover makes a sudden departure. I dress quickly and run for the door.

Two hours later, I’m halfway up a mountain exploring the structure of a massive canal lock. It’s beautiful in its ugliness. From the top, I can see a patch of wasteground – a likely spot for an abandoned subway station. Climbing down I go onto a dusty track where a sign warns foreigners to turn away. I’m in too deep now. I step onto the wasteland, and there, like familiar friends in an unfamiliar place, are three subway entrances.

Granted, they’re not all shiny and new, but they’re radiating 1970s Communism. Two of them are bricked up, but the third has a rusting blue door. There’s something down there and I want to get in. I pull as hard as I can on the door handle, but it doesn’t budge. Where’s a crowbar when I need one? I look down to my left, a dead dog stares at me blankly from wilted grass. This isn’t going to work. I’ll have to come back another day. What about Station 52?

I go deeper into no man’s land and suddenly come across train tracks going through a tiny village, dried maize piled up on doorsteps. Stray dogs run up and down the street barking. I follow the tracks. There it is! You can’t not notice it. It’s a huge tunnel at the base of a mountain. The other thing you can’t help but notice is the massive military complex surrounding the opening of the tunnel – Red Army trains and carriages on the tracks. The word “deportation” forms in a thought bubble above my head. By the time it has popped, my legs have carried me back to the safety of Legend. “You still here?” The Scotsman sounds surprised. “I wasn’t expecting to see you again.”

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out the latest episode of Burbex on YouTube, where Brin explores an abandoned at school and discovers some newspapers from 1976 whose history has been erased over the last forty years.

Man of Steel – 2nd Island Steel Works – Grade A+

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Burbex.org 3rd Birthday – A Look Back at The First Ever Post

Globehunters

This blog post was originally posted on June 30th, 2014.  Be sure to check out these other great blog posts –  Return to Capital Steel and Capital Steel Laboratory,

Capital Steel Works – Beijing – Grade A-  

Beijing Steel Works is a rare beast in the Urbex world. The site is in an almost vacuum state where it feels like all the workers just put down their tools one day and left. The machines have been left as if one turn someone will turn on the plant again.

Beijing Steel Works - Grade A -

The site is huge with more rust and corrupted cranes, pulleys, and conveyor belts that you could see in a week. The crane-like structures that you can see in the pictures apparently shifted unrefined steel to conveyor belts which stretch across the complex.

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The site is massive in scale and is punctuated by enormous machines, with pipes and cooling units galore. The urbex explorer must be very careful here as the overhead structures creak in the wind and bits regularly fall off.

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These metal dragons seemed to be used to scoop out the unrefined steel and shift it up onto the conveyor belts. They have big blunt teeth, and ugly faces.

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Train tracks also criss-cross the plant, there are plenty of abandoned trains, carriages, and miniature train stations to be found. Jump over the outer wall, avoid the security guards, follow the train tracks and in whichever direction you travel, you’ll find some Urbex treasures.

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This is a huge site, so be sure to take your time. Once you visit this place once, you’ll be addicted. If you ever want to pay a visit, just contact me on burbex@outlook.com, and I’ll show you around. Also be sure to check out Burbex – Brin’s Urban Exploration on YouTube for great new videos every week.

 

 

 

NIGHTMARES – BRIGHT HORSE MALL – GRADE B+

I’m always looking around for new places to explore, but I never find them. How do you find these places anyway?

Constantly on the road scouting for new places to explore, Burbex is looking for a few key indicators that a building is empty. Once an urbexer knows a few of these indicators, the whole city lights up like a fairground. Bright Horse Furniture Mall is no exception. In this post, we’ll look at a few indicators.

The strongest indicator of abandonment is when construction seems to have come to a standstill. Guosen Mall hasn’t progressed since 2008, but Burbex has been keeping an eye on Bright Horse Mall for the last two years. Even though there was a recent delivery of new escalators, there hasn’t been any progress.

Burbex crept into the complex via the ramp at the rear of the building, which descends three levels into a flooded underground parking lots. Dark water has seeped in from beneath the cement floor, yet another strong sign of abandonment. Burbex kept expecting a drowned witch to rise up with her arms outstretched.

Disappointed at the lack of undead witches, Burbex climbed the internal fire escapes and cam out in the central atrium of the shopping mall. Escalators and elevators are everywhere, and even Burbex’s whispering footsteps echoed loudly in the huge space.

Another clue that a building is abandoned is the blue sheets that cover all machinery, keeping the piercing Beijing dust away from their internal mechanisms. The recently delivered escalators lurk like blue ghosts in the sprawling darkness.

Burbex eventually made his way up onto the rooftops, where the ambient light seeped through the vents and walkways, casting a purplish glow over the massive area. Purple stains like spilled iodine covered the rooftop, disinfecting the crumbling building’s wounded pride.

The half cylindrical dome that protects the mall from the elements glows a gentle blue, reflecting the light pollution. Outside the traffic sounds of the fourth ringroad echo all about, a keen reminder of both how close and far away civilisation still abounds.

The logo for the building reads 爱家商业大厦 or Love Home Trade Building. Burbex actually felt pretty estranged from his own family standing on a building in the near darkness trying to capture glimpses of emptiness. That specific feeling is always the strongest indicator a building is empty.

With the strong sense of abandonment and melancholia permeating Bright Horse Mall, Burbex awards the building with a solid B+. If ever you want to come along and discover your own hidden melancholia in the heart of a forgotten building, get in touch at burbex@outlook.com.

Also be sure to check out the new Burbex Beijing Urban Exploration channel on YouTube – all the same great locations as the blog but in full moving glory.

 

FEELING MORE STABLE – ZHIYUN SMOOTH C – GRADE A+

When you’re having a mid-life crisis,

What you need is a bit of stability.

Burbex is not a big fan of fancy equipment. Anyone who has been out with him on trips before knows that he much prefers his battered and scratched iPhone 6 rather than his Sony RX100 m3, but the joy of the iPhone is it takes great pictures and videos and it just slides into your pocket.

Sony DSCRX100M3 Advanced Digital Compact Premium Camera (Wi-Fi, NFC, 180 Degrees Tiltable LCD Screen) – Black

The only drawback of the iPhone is that it doesn’t have inbuilt stabilisation like a more expensive DSLR might have. When Burbex first started his YouTube channel Burbex – Beijing Urban Exploration, he was very aware that many of the videos were much too shaky. You can see that in his first ever video below:

After a recommendation from Antoine, one of the stars of Burbex Gang on YouTube, Burbex invested in the Zhiyun Smooth C gimbal, and the effects were immediately noticeable. Whether running or jumping, the Smooth C stabilised the iPhone so that the images looked a million times more professional. You can see how it performs in the Pokemon Go! video below:

The gimbal works with all smart phones, and can even handle the iPhone 6+. It works on three axes, and has a tracking mode which locks on to your subject however much you move about, or joystick mode, where you can move your phone smoothly yourself. For Burbex, the battery life is most important.

the best smart phone gimbal on the market

Andoer® Zhiyun Z1-Smooth-C 3-Axis Handheld Brushless Gimbal Smartphone Stabilizer for 5.7cm~8.5cm Width for iPhone5 / 5s/ 6 /6 Plus for Galaxy Note

While the instruction manual states the batteries only last 3-4 hours, Burbex found they last anywhere up to 10 hours on one full charge. The gimbal itself is light-weight, but made of durable metal. Burbex is rough with his kit, and the gimbal has taken some hard knocks with no trouble.

Zhiyun Crane-M with Dshot Tripod Professional 3-Axis Handheld Stabilizer for Smartphones Card Cameras Compact Cameras Action Cameras Some Mirrorless Cameras

Burbex doesn’t often make recommendations about technology, but the Zhiyun Smooth C has made a world of difference his videos, and it comes at a very affordable price too. Plus, if you are looking to make videos with your camera, you could consider the Zhiyun Smooth Q, which can even support a DLSR.

Now that Burbex is feeling more stable, you can expect some great Burbex videos in the near future. Don’t forget to subscribe to Burbex – Beijing Urban Exploration on YouTube, and be sure to leave all your great comments and questions.

 

ATLAS OBSCURA/BURBEX DOUBLE SCAVENGER HUNT 2017

Test your wits and your grit on May 6th at an abandoned hospital and Catholic school in Beijing in this year’s epic double scavenger hunt.

Burbex – Beijing Urban Exploration is proud to present the Atlas Obscura Scavenger Hunt 2017. After the success of 2016’s Olympic Village Scavenger Hunt, this year, Burbex is inviting all urban explorers to do a double scavenger hunt.

Scavengers will be exploring two exclusive sites: the first, an abandoned Peoples’ Liberation Army Hospital, and the second, a very spooky old Catholic School. Both are purportedly haunted, with strange things lurking around every corner.

Lucky scavengers will take in some of Beijing’s most unique spots, as you pit their wits against two of Burbex’s most challenging locations. Scavengers need to bring a fully charged smart phone, and suit up in durable clothes that cover the legs.

DETAILS

  • Scavengers will meet at Anheqiao Station at the end of subway line 4 at 10:30am, where they will be met by Burbex and given their instructions.
  • The Scavenger Hunt will begin on Saturday, May 6 at 11am and will last 2 to 3 hours.
  • Only 8 spots are available, at $35 per ticket. More spaces may open up if there is a lot of demand.

NOTE FOR ATTENDEES

  • Attendees need to be reasonably fit; able to climb a small fence and run around.
  • Attendees should wear dark clothes—hoodies are ideal. Clothes should not have too many straps or loose cords.
  • Attendees need to bring a smart phone with 3G/4G. A camera is also recommended, but nothing too heavy.
  • Don’t bring anything that jangles like keys.
  • Bring some water and a light lunch!

QUESTIONS?

Email taotao.holmes@atlasobscura.com or burbex@outlook.com

Advance Tickets Only. All Sales Final. No Refunds or Exchanges

Buy tickets at Atlas Obscura, at the link below:

http://www.atlasobscura.com/events/burbex-atlas-obscura-scavenger-hunt-2017

Check out the full lineup of amazing adventures taking place all around the world on Obscura Day, our annual celebration of discovery!

Use the #obscuraday hashtag on your favorite social media platforms to show us how you’re celebrating. We’ll be featuring your posts on our own platforms all day, and you could even win some Atlas Obscura prizes.

HIDDEN IN THE HILLS – PLA HOSPITAL – GRADE A

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SAVING FOR A RAINY DAY – ETHNIC MINORITIES MALL – GRADE B+

What does it take to make an urbex site special?

pall-mall

First of all, it should be challenging enough to keep you interested. Usually the bigger the site the better. Weird architecture, or water features are always a bonus, and if it is somehow culture related, then that’s even better. Is it possible to find sites like that these days? You bet your ass!

algae-canal

Burbex is a big fan of abandoned shopping malls, and The Ethnic Minorities Mall is no exception. Burbex has passed by this place a million times, but unlike The Great Mall of China and Guosen Mall, the Ethnic Minorities Mall does not really have an outstanding exterior, but you should never judge an urbex by its cover.

aerial-view

This Mall is actually right next to one of the stranger theme parks in Beijing called The Ethnic Minorities Theme Park featuring all 56 of China’s ethnic minortities doing their ethnic activities like hearding goats (that’s not a joke) and dancing in their own respective areas. The Mall was probably intended for greater things, but was never completed.

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After a stealthy entrance, Burbex was confronted with an enormous glass covered atrium, which was fast filling up with the drizzling rain. The place was huge and some zigzag staircases led to the roof area, while incomplete staircase invited the causal urbexer to their doom.

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From the rooftop area, Burbex had a good view of the Ethnic Minority Park, the large structure below is from the Uighur Minority who are found in Xinjiang Automonous Region, or intimidating passersby into buying enormous date cakes on street corners.

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From inside the mall, Burbex spied on the pedestrians taking shelter from the rain. The old man below stood in the same position staring into space for at least ten minutes. Like the Mall itself, he wasn’t completely there.

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Posters on the walls boasted that the centre cost one billion yuan to build…

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… and that it was going to house KTV and Pawn Shops. Maybe the project would’ve been more succesful if it had concentrated on the other kind of “pawn”.

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The massive floor space made Burbex a little dizzy, and he had to watch his step for the canals full of algae green water that snake through the place, razor sharp rusting rebar lurking beneath the surface.

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By the way, if you are a mall rat or you want to check out some great abandoned malls like The Olympic Mascot Mall or The Great Mall of China just send Burbex an email at burbex@outlook.com and he’ll be happy to show you around.

 

Also be sure to follow Burbex at all your favourite social media sites.

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Don’t forget to hit those heart buttons, punch those like tabs, and leave your questions and comments.

 

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SOLAR FLARES – 4TH RING ROAD OLYMPIC TORCH – GRADE A-

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HAVING A BLAST – CAPITAL STEEL BLAST FURNACE – GRADE A+

Fans who have been following this site for a while, will know that Burbex has a soft spot in his heart for Capital Steel. It doesn’t matter that his heart is rusting, and leaking toxic chemicals everywhere just the site itself, Capital Steel is still number one.

From the Capital Steel Laboratory, to the conveyor belts and machines that look like something from the set of the Alien movie, Capital Steel always has something new and surprising for Burbex to find. There is one place in the site however that Burbex has dreamt of getting back into for a while.

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On a previous visit, Burbex was gutted when after climbing into one of the massive blast furnaces, the sun was already going down, and it was too dark to take photos within the rotten gut of the machine. On this visit, Burbex had high hopes he could get in around midday for the awesome early afternoon light.

making tracks

Capital Steel is definitely not as easy to get into as it used to be. This is mostly because it is being eaten up by property development companies converting the old industrial buildings into modern office blocks, as well as the new overpass which is being built through parts of the complex. Burbex was confident that by following the abandoned train tracks, he could find a way in again.

Pipe Corridor

Navigating the site is not actually so difficult. Once over the walls, corridors and highways of pipes all eventually lead to the central spots where the blast furnaces are located. Burbex did have to jump over a few walls and chainlink fences along the path, but he’s used to that now.

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The way that workers got into the belly of these beasts originally was by following the highways that lead up to the second and third levels. These have been partly demolished and furthermore there are some very nasty guard dogs at the end of the ramp. Burbex could hear them baying for his blood.

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Taking an alternative route, Burbex climbed up the side of the blast furnace. This was no mean feat especially since most of the stairways are either rotting or have been cut away by scavengers. Burbex somewhat surprised himself with his climbing ability that day.

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Entering in the level beneath the blast furnace Burbex found old equipment rooms, everything covered in a thick layer of Beijing dust and catkins which absorb the moisture and leaking oil. It felt just like walking over a layer of toxic moss in a industrial jungle.

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Weaving his way through the complex machine, Burbex finally found the belly of the beast, which drips oil and rust, as well as the toxic rainwater that has collected inside. Burbex was very careful not to let any drops touch his skin.

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Massive pipe support the heart of the furnace, and this is where the fuel would’ve been burned providing energy for the blasting process.

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The huge arena-like area was filled with the sound of three huge dogs baying for Burbex’s blood, however the noisiest dog of all was a tiny mutt with fur the same colour as the rust. Had he been conceived here, the rust entering his bitch mother’s womb?

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The central structure stretches up four or five storeys. These are mostly out of reach since the staircases have been cut away, and razor sharp edges and barbwire fences are waiting to snag at catch you with a tetanus-filled bite.

Rusting Pipes

Burbex walked around and around the furnace feeling almost unable to leave. He couldn’t hear the barking of the dogs anymore, he just felt awed by this massive structure, like a cathedral of rotting industry.

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Burbex neatly slipped out the way he came in wondering how long it would be before the demolition team finally came in and finished off the structure. If you would like to sneak in before it disappears, be sure to send an email to burbex@outlook.org, and set up a time to meet. Make sure all your tentanus boosters are up to date first.

Be sure to check out the video for this post which you can see above, and as usual. Be sure to hit subscribe at the following link so that you can keep up to date with all the newest videos:

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