Silk Street Pearl Market

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On Friday I met Ingo and Mengmeng at Hou Hai Lake a scenic spot with a lot of cosy little bars. I know Ingo from Vienna as we started to study Chinese at the same time. He has been here in Beijing for already a year. We even met last year when I came to visit Beijing during the Golden Week. It’s nice to have some locals you can refer to and of course – for going out and get to know the spots you wouldn’t find that easily by yourself. So after that it was San Li Tun Area where we went to party. For me it was a nice impression of Beijing nightlife 😉

On Saturday we met at Ingo’s place first to go out again afterwards – same area as on Friday. What I can tell is that so far nightlife in Beijing in comparison to Shanghai is just different. Here you seem to have less opportunity where to go to. But I may be wrong; it’s just the things I was told by people who as well have the city comparison.

On Saturday I went to see Tian’an Men approaching the square from South by walking through the newly built shopping street Qian Men (前门) that still is a big construction sight. Quite a walk… As soon as I arrived on the square it was already about to start raining so I just rushed home. Unfortunately it wasn’t suitable weather for shooting some nice pics anyways.

And today, Sunday, it was my first sunny day here so I walked for about 5 hours in the “fresh” air to explore the environment surrounding my apartment. Via Workers Stadium (工人体育场) I went to the San Li Tun village a really westernized shopping area. I also had a brief look at the Silk Street Pearl Market, but somehow it was too crowded today so I didn’t feel like staying there long… Well, I hope you all enjoy the impressions I herewith provide 😉

Have a good one, Michael

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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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Beijing (北京)

This trip to the capital city as well as traditional and cultural hot-spot China’s means a lot to me. That’s why I’m eagerly looking forward to writing down the experiences of the wonderful six days in the post-Olympic period during the Golden Week. Arriving on Sunday afternoon in the Beijing Youth Hostel opposite of the Beijing Railway Station we directly went to the Silk Street Pearl Market – which wasn’t very far from this place – in order to meet Kim and Rene. Felix got to know Rene coincidently on his flight to Shanghai. He is doing the rest of his civil service here in China, precisely Shanghai and we happened to be in the Beijing at the same time. Rene on the other hand knows Kim from University and visited her at her place of studies. Since she has been living there for about two years she already feels very familiar with the place and could give us some helpful information and sightseeing tips.

After a stroll through the chaotic idles of the Silk Street (which serves as an enormously famous fake market) and probably spending too much money for the fake stuff, Felix and me made our way to Tian’anmen (天安门) square. Normally this sight of course is the first thing to look at as a tourist and is referred to as the entrance of the forbidden city (The Gate of Heavenly Peace), so we were quite impressed of the wide-spread area of the apparently biggest square in the world. The white fences besides the streets and around the square sometimes give a feeling of being cattle as you hardly ever can walk direct ways there. As a result Beijing and its fantastic sights require a lot of walking and patience.

The next day we planned to visit Tian Tan (天坛), Temple of Heaven, which counts to one of my favorites and most impressing sights in Beijing. It served the Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties as a Taoist temple to pray to heaven for good harvest. So far I knew ‘The Hall of Prayers for good Harvests’ only from pictures with a cheesy blue sky in the background. What a coincidence that the Golden Week in Beijing (national holidays) was blessed with terrific weather which caused some déjà-vu’s as I’m looking to the pictures in retrospective. After a lot of walking through the extensive temple area we had an appointment with Kim, Rene and two more Chinese girls at a very specific place for Beijing. That’s when the difference to Shanghai manifested further as I got the impression that the capital city is friendlier, calmer, has much charm and great art resources. Actually we had a lot of discussions which lead to the result that it’s not possible to compare Beijing with Shanghai. In fact I’m very fond of both places. What really surprised me is that people in Beijing seem to be happier and therefore more cooperative. On Monday we went out of the hostel to have a short look at the map. We weren’t standing there for half a minute till a Chinese man with perfect English offered us his help. The English skills also very much surprised us, because we didn’t count on anybody to speak English. Apparently the Olympic games had really good influence on the population in terms of open-mindedness towards foreigners. We kind of had the feeling of being appreciated and welcomed more in Beijing.

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