First day in Beijing!

I walked into the Beijing Hutong Culture Inn and immediately made a new friend – Sharon from Holland. Sharon’s a 31 year old lady who’s been traveling through Asia for the last 8 weeks, can’t eat Asian food for breakfast, but loves Chow Mien for lunch. She had seen me at the Airport struggling with the sales lady over my newly purchased in-country sim card.

Mutually happy to have a girlfriend to start exploring the town with, we dumped our bags in our rooms and just started walking. To the right.

I should have known nothing good would come out of walking right. It was like the Bronx of Beijing – dusty walkways, unfinished Hutongs (villages), sewerage smells, and tired looking little people. And no food stalls!

Note this was at 8.30am in the morning so a lot of shops were not open as yet.

We headed back to the Culture Inn to enlist the help of Harry, a local, and an English major working at the hotel, who was more than happy for us to help him practice his English. ‘Harry, where is the forbidden city?’ ‘Harry, where are the silk markets?’ Harry, is there a tall building where we can have cocktails and look at the entire city?”Harry, how do you say please in cantonese?’ Harry, how do you say ‘No Pig’?’ I couldn’t retain a thing he said about a second after he said it. So I wrote it down, and looked at it later when the instructions were needed, but couldn’t pronounce it. Useless.

Later, we decided to venture to the left. Such a difference the left made. Shops and cafes along the streets, people dressed in more than shorts and a wife beater singlet, and no gutter smell.

At the Yashow Markets, it was the usual haggling, high stress, pushy market environment. Floors and floors of immitation clothes, shoes and bags which in Thailand you learn to start haggling at half the asking price, here in Beijing you go a quarter. And sometimes even a fith.

The 4th floor was like the Mecca of electronics – Immitation brand iPads, iPods, iShuffles, as well as the top brands in cameras, camcorders, gaming consoles, etc.. I’m very pleased to say that I didn’t blow my budget on all these gadgets. Not today anyway.

Next level, my first Beijing food court. Finally, somewhere we could eat that not only had pictures of the food, but actually displayed every dish on the menu and had tasting samples for each!!

At this point I knew Beijing and I were going to get along just fine..

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Twitted by Tiara_inTransit
  2. Dale
    Aug 02, 2010 @ 22:24:08

    See? I told you you’d make friends wherever you go. I would suggest that you take it easy on the food to begin with… but I know you won’t haha

    OMM NOM NOM NOM X)

    Reply

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