So Finally I went to Beijing, Capital of China!
Despite of power outage problem had occurred couple of days before, we still decided to take bullet train to Beijing. Cost was 555RMB for single journey for 5.5hours. Surprisingly 5.5hours was not that long as I expected and facility of the train was pretty good except for lunch box.
When I first arrived in Beijing, I felt it had totally different feeling from Shanghai. Starting from language, Beijing people were using more ‘err’ sound that, many of taxi drivers had hard time understand me and vice versa. While Shanghai taxi driver would be focus on take you to destination area, Beijing people loved to talk with passenger, even very private matters from your marriage to politics. Another interesting thing was Beijing people seemed to have more sense of direction. Instead of ‘turn left’ and ‘turn right’ they ask you weather they need to go to ‘west or East’ or sign saying ‘ticket office is at north side’.
I have heard about Beijing traffic, but never expect to be this serious. First of all, It was hard to get a taxi and every taxi ride took minimum 1 hour. Local people said, Bus is as much as slow and metro is packed with people all the time that, during rush hour you need 2 shirts to go to work, because you will be wet from your sweat + others by the time you got out of subway station. Not only car traffic, but also human traffic was unbelievable. Every ticket office had endless confusing cues taking about average 1.5 hours to get a ticket. I was bit annoyed the fact that we had to waste a lot of time on waiting on line, while purchase ticket in internet might have saved us time and energy. Wonder when China will introduce online ticket system. “Patient” was the key to survive in Beijing and perhaps that’s why most of people are very calm and lay back style.
Feeling of city was very different. If Shanghai buildings are described as tall and thin, representing fanciness & richness, Beijing buildings were short but grand, representing strength and history. Tiananmen Square specially gave me bit of strange tension feelings.
We stayed near by houhai lake. on first night, we explored restaurant area besides lake. I felt like this place was like Hongmei road in Shanghai except that they have lake here. This lake had totally different face during the day and night.
On Saturday, we visited one of popular part of great wall, ‘Badaliang 八大亮’. Seeing endless walls, I just could not close my mouth. It just took my breath away by its grandeur.
One of most important meal I had to have in Beijing was of course ‘Beijing duck’. We went to ‘DaDong’ restaurant and enjoyed delicate duck with lovely friends. At this restaurant, chef will bring the whole duck (including head) and perform cutting in front of you. Meat will be served on the table, and for the bones, you can either take home or ask them to make soup on the spot.
One interesting episode in the restaurant was that, I unintentionally called waitress as ‘prostitute’. In Shanghai, as calling waitress either ‘Fuwuyuan 服务员, meaning service person’ or ‘xiaojie 小姐 means young lady’ Since I felt that xiaojie feels more affection, I used to call them as xiaojie. When Chinese friend arrived in restaurant, she stopped me using xiaojie, explaining that it can represent prostitute especially in Beijing. No wonder, they were not happy whenever I try to order…
Last day, we went to the Forbidden City, Zijin Cheng 紫禁城. It was magnificent, and half a day was not enough to see all of the palaces for sure.
What surprised me was, there were lots of foreigner tourists, but about 80% were Chinese tourist. I wonder, now that more and more foreigners are interested in China, and wants to come for visit, it’s going to be even more packed then now. At the same time I could felt the power of China that they can certainly be self-sufficient.
Happy to back in Shanghai, little less chaos, but Beijing surely gave me big impression. Amazed how every city can give you such different feelings, and makes me curious, how other cities have different characteristic.