follow the students (& lack of money)
It is, actually, beige!
At least that is what it looks like in the winter/fall.
Best advice for a good lunch deal -- follow the students at lunch time and have what they are having. Had my best meals sitting in the street with students eating some kind of noodle concoction out of styrofoam boxes.
If you like spicy food, as I do, tell them to heap on the stuff they try to leave out of your order (must look on closely to figure out what the spicy element is). They will laugh and talk with you if you make silly faces when you do eat the nuclear chili pepers. There was a bartender at the Shangri La, she was a sweet girl, maybe 21 years old. A friend and I asked her why she didn't have a boyfriend. She said that she could only "have boyfriend for marry." So, of course, we asked her why she wasn't married yet, she said "must have horse to marry in China."
I looked at my friend and said "I'm dying to see where this one goes." After a bit more talk on the subject:
What kind of horse? -- small is OK for a new couple, but you need bigger when you have children...
What color is common? -- White, sometimes with some red or green...
Do parents give the horse for the couple? -- No, too expensive...
After about 20 minutes of this baffling conversation (you would have seen SOMETHING on the Discovery channel about this. Right?) we found out that she was referring to a HOUSE. We all laughed a bit. Not at her imperfect pronounciation, but at our assumptions.
Truely, I found her conversation skills, for a young lady speaking her 2nd (I'm guessing that she can't speak others as fluently as English) language, quite impressive. She reminded me of royalty when she spoke.
Most people I met in China were naturally filled with dignity. They never placed themselves too high, but proved to be more than they believed themselves to be through manners, personality and inner beauty.
SILK CARPETS ! A quick guide...
Here is a quick guide of *how to buy silk carpets*
- try to buy with the help a local person you know
- don´t pay the price asked. It is only the beginning of the buying/bargaining process.
- check the quality many, many times: 150 knots per inch carpet is quite thick but 300 knots per inch is only 3-4 millimeters thin; 600 carpet and upwards are of best quality and so thin that you might wonder why not hang them on the wall. The better the quality the sharper the pictures and thinner the carpet.
- take your time which means several hours / half a day: compare the differents products, don´t show your satisfaction to the chosen carpet clearly, use at least 2-3 hours for negotiations! It is even highly recommended to come back the next day for the final price decision.
- some of the best quality carpets are found at shops located at hotel buildings like Gloria Plaza or New Otani
- pay with USD and ask the exhange rate and compare it to the best rate you know
- be patient, respect the seller but be very determined
- be aware that carpets can be made by child workforce; You need to make Your own decision here.
Modest and Sensible
Thermal or silk underwear in Winter, layering to a padded jacket which can be taken off indoors. Casual light clothing for the summer months. Leave the mini skirts and low cut tops at home. Good pair of flat walking shoes.
. Packets of tissues. Moist towelettes. Bar of antibacterial soap. Sunscreen in Summer, moisturiser in winter. Lomotil (just in case). Umbrella.
Have fun bargaining here!
This place can be addiciting! It's a lot of fun to see what kind of price you can get for things. I have to warn you about quality though. I bought a "silver" ring for $6 which stayed "silver" for about 6 months. And of course the name brand stuff is all fake but my friend's fake rolex's still work just fine as far as I know. My dad loved his $5 fake Polo button-down that I got him. I bought a beautiful silk scarf for $6 that I get tons of compliments on so that is by far my best purchase from the Silk Market.
For ten years the Hidden Tree was a well known watering hole in the Sanlitun embassy district of Beijing. But then the authorities went on a frenzy of demolition – everything must go! – and the Hidden Tree went. It has now re-opened simply as the Tree, but it is still hidden. You'll need particularly clear instructions, or a very sober guide, to find it. Old Cliffie came upon it by chance and, since he is never one to pass a pub, he went in to check it out. While he was there, two separate people told him it had the best pizza in Beijing. Okay, he hasn't tried all the other pizza places, but yes it was very good. But will he manage to find the Tree, as hidden as it always was, if he ever goes back to Beijing?