Beijing

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We got on the train to Beijing at 7am and are going through the outskirts of Gobi Desert. It is half past three and as you can imagine steaming hot and dusty in the cabin. Fortunately this ride only takes 31 hours. I’m already looking forward to the stop at the Mongolian-Chinese border where you can experience the bogie-changes of the wagons.

During that process and the passport check we weren’t allowed to leave the train. In total the stop at the border and on both sides lasts about 4 hours and we were only allowed to get off the train for about half an hour to be buy some daily necessities (beer). As I can only repeat myself this ride was the worst one in terms of our body conditions and the unbearable heat in the wagons. Some French friends of us even fainted during the train ride and had to undergo medical observation afterwards. The happier we were as we eventually arrived in Beijing.

北京 (Beijing)

We got out of train withdrew Chinese money, bought SIM-cards for our mobiles and walked to the LEO courtyard hostel which is located close to Qian Men (southwards of Tian’An Men Square) right in the middle of Beijing. It’s a great place to experience the characteristics of the survived still lively Hutongs and dive into Chinese culture and habits. We enjoyed our stay in Beijing although it was my third time there and thus the sights and places we visited were mostly redundant to me. Nevertheless I always accompanied the guys apart from one day when I revisited my colleagues at the office I worked for last summer. In the meantime they went to the summer palace by themselves.

上海 (Shanghai)

Now, after a week in the capital city of China Martin and me ended up on the train to Shanghai. The three of us had to separate, as there were complications to get three tickets for the same train. Philip didn’t mind though to stay two more nights in Beijing as he has more time in Shanghai than Martin anyways. I’m currently facing the challenge of finding a room for one month in Shanghai. Yesterday and on the train so far I was mainly on the phone digging out old connections to colleagues and friends in SH and crying for help basically.

I eventually found a place to stay though in Jing’An, a fairly central district. It takes me about an hour by public transportation to get to Fudan nevertheless. This Monday my student life here took off again, so future entries might be limited 😉 The basically exiting part of my journey is over anyways (not that SH isn’t exiting). I’m focusing on taking my chinese to the next level during the next three weeks even though having a tax law exam waiting for me as soon as I arrive back to Vienna.

Photos: EXPO 2010

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New summer – new adventure. Travelling time is blogging time in order to help all the memories remain more vivid. This journey fortunately takes two good friends (Philip and Martin) and me far East. 😉 Taking off in Moscow we will get on the train leading through half Trans-Siberia, Mongolia and the north-east part of China to Beijing.

However, times of preparation were exhausting as we had to apply for visas of all three countries. Once Philip and I ended up waiting in line for almost two and half hours in the pouring rain in front of the Russian consulate. Eventually everything worked out well and we have our equipment set up to begin the trip on Thursday.

I hope being able to update this blog and post recent impressions on a regular basis. In this case, bye bye good old Austria once again! 😉

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1st week

My first week was mainly about getting acquainted to the new environment again and managing all those administrative things like registering as resident at the police station, opening a RMB bank account and to internalize important things I’ll need for work. Concerning the job I’m in an office under the China National Textile and Apparel Council (CNTAC) that entails in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

“In the context of the economic globalization, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is not only an ethical or moral issue, but it concerns the corporate concept and philosophy that impacts management and operational aspects of businesses. CSR places an emphasis on the respect and recognition of human values of employees and taking care of their consumers, environment and multi-stakeholders. This practice that goes beyond of the profit-driven approach previously taken as the only business objective is increasingly embraced by international and Chinese enterprises and companies.“ (Source)

It has been quite interesting so far and I’m already curious about the tasks coming up for me tomorrow. I work Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm at the office, which is in the very center of Beijing – one stop before Tian’an Men East Stop that leads right to the enormous square. It takes me about half an hour to get there from my apartment (3 subway stops).

Chao Yang District is – as already mentioned – the biggest district in Beijing with a lot of huge companies located there.

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Thursday was dedicated to the legendary Forbidden City, which is located in the heart of Beijing and houses the Palace Museum. This sight mainly served the Emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasty starting from 15th century. It took us (Felix, Raphael, me) quite a while to get in there. Even we raised a new denotation, serving as the superlative of ‘crowded’ – ‘Forbidden City-crowded’! This was the first time when I actually thought how anybody could enjoy these world heritages under this condition. After getting pushed through the Forbidden City exiting in the north, we walked to the Beihai Park (北海公园, Beihai gongyuan) lying northwest respectively. In former days this place even was connected to the Forbidden City and counts among the biggest largest parks in Beijing. One literally outstanding thing of this sight is the Bai Ta, which is a 40m high sculpture wholly made of white stone (Source).

In the evening Felix and I were invited for a traditional Beijing Duck dinner by Madame Cai and her lovely daughter. I got to know the generous Madame Cai during the Hometextile fair in Shanghai while I was supporting the LFS in my internship. She told me, whenever I make it to Beijing, I can get back to her offer. Finally we ended up in a restaurant which is very famous for its Beijing Duck dishes.

On Friday we first met the Belgium guys Diego and his brother Jean-Baptiste and we showed them the Silk Street Pearl Market. Originally Felix and I planned to spend the whole day in this fake market. It turned out that we really could make it for 9 hours there and in the end even had to buy a suitcase to get all this stuff home again. We only stopped by at Lisa’s Taylor, where Felix received his 17 tailored shirts. Following that we had some nice dinner at an Australian Steak House at the Workers Stadium and went to the amazing club VICS directly afterwards. On Saturday, after having a really too short week in Beijing, we first tried to get all of our purchased stuff in the suitcases, and went to the Capital Airport to get to Shanghai again.

All in all for me the Beijing trip was a long awaited dream coming true and therefore I enjoyed the few days very much!

As the flood of pictures we took in Beijing isn’t manageable on this blog I hosted them on picasa, which is a fantastic service of google (for those who don’t know yet). Moreover I’ve introduced a new link-category called ‘picasa web albums’ where you can easily access ALL the 北京 (Beijing) pictures and even further albums of my China experience.

ENJOY!

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On the same morning we somehow realized that it’s the national holiday in Beijing. We thought – let’s go out to the masses! So we went to a place where we expected the most people crowded in one place. Suddenly it came up to our mind – Tian’anmen Square might be quite cosy for this intention. Seriously, it’s hard to describe it by words, but I haven’t seen so many people in one place so far. Check out the video of getting into the tube:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TW1v5lYYjIM]

On the Square we experienced some celebrity status as everybody wanted to take pictures with us, especially with Felix who is with his almost 2 metres a unicum in China. 啊,很高老外!(A, hen gao laowai – Oh, what a tall foreigner)

As we could forget entering the Forbidden City that day, we decided to make our way to the Summer Palace, Yi he yuan (颐和园) where even more people spent their spare time. We met with a colleague of mine – of Vienna sinology studies – who is currently studying in Beijing. I appreciated this because he knows the city a little bit and therefore accompanied us. Some facts: UNESCO declared the Summer Palace a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design in 1998. The natural landscape of hills and open water is combined with artificial features such as pavilions, halls, palaces, temples and bridges to form a harmonious ensemble of outstanding aesthetic value (Source).

After that and a little snack, we targeted the famous Olympic Sights: the Water Cube (水立方) and the Bird’s Nest (鸟巢). I think any further comment on these sights is redundant – except: our famous “Olympic Sights Dance” as you can see on this picture. This place reminded of an open-door disco with some very loud music dashing through enormous speakers. Following that we went home and managed to get some extra bed for Rene in our room, because he didn’t have accommodation for one day before he left to Qingdao.

The next day the Forbidden City was on the plan. Entry follows!

At least 8.02 million people visited Beijing from September 29 to October 5, including 2.35 million overseas visitors, bringing in 5.25 billion yuan in tourist revenue, up 27 percent from the previous National Day holiday (Shanghai Daily).

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