This is a Railway station in Beijing, But I am not sure it's a East, West, South or North station. Because they always used this for the direction,even on the street name. For the visitor from Hong Kong as me,it's really not easy to find the location you want to go. May be the problem is me. I am not sure.
Public Dancing At Parks
Senior Citizens enjoy a good life in China since they retire early at 55 years old and since there is socialized health insurance and benefits, they are taken care of with free hospitalizations and medicines and also free entrance to public parks hence you can see many senior citizens of beijing just dancing or exercising at the various public parks around the city and the best is that the government gives them monthly living stipend so what you see are happy senior citizens dancing in parks here!
Black Temple - Zhihua Si
This old temple (originated from 1443) has not been on the tourist maps. But now it will berenovated by the end of 2005. Then it will be open to the publik. I think, that this beautiful small temple will not be as crowded as the other tourist spots in Beijing.
The temple is called Black Temple as the roof is build with dark blue tiles. There are several halls, which can be visited soon. I just could glimpse through a gate, as everything was under construction. In a guidebook I read, that there are Buddha-Statues in the halls, which are very impressive.
The Chinese name of the temple is Zhihua Si. The temple's address is Lumicang Hutong. It is located a few hundred metres north of the big crossing, where Changan Dajie becomes Jianguomen Dajie, crossing the inner ringroad. I think, it is more easily be found, when you are on Donganjie or Wangfujing, go north, find the Ganyu-Hutong and follow this Hutong to the East.
Back with a Vengeance
The new silk market has opened with a big bang in its new bright and spacious home. The old open market was demolished back in 2005 and had stirred widespread discontentment among traders and bargain hunters who feared higher overhead costs in an indoor market. But it is business as usual as throngs of tourists continue their pilgrimage to this temple of cheap knock-off merchandises. Naturally, after welcoming raids upon raids of tourist-filled buses, the salespersons here can speak passable English and the occasional foreign languages like Spanish, Russian or Italian. They are generally young women who are too eager to grab any passing foreigners who look clueless enough to spend Y120 for a 'Nike' cap. It is amusing to see them practice their usual warm greeting to customers, then lure them into believing that their goods are of good quality with the lowest prices, turn into a rage when being counteroffered with a lower price, and then strike the deal when they are about to lose an exasperated customer. B2: Foodcourt. B1: A supermarket, bags & suitcases, shoes, caps and leather goods. F1: Men's clothing and cashmere, F2: Ladies' fashion and cashmere. F3: Tailor shop, knitted dresses, silk, kid's clothing, bedding and carpet. F4: Jewelry, ornament, traditional crafts, cosmetics, toys, glasses, electrical appliances, watches, and sporting goods. F5: Jewelry, coral, pearl, crystal, amber and emerald. F6 & F7: restaurants and Tongrentang pharmacy. The general rule is to have a clear figure of what you are willing to pay for the good before asking them the prices. There is no right or wrong prices as they need to make a profit and you want to buy something cheaper that what you are used to. Look around before actually buying as many shops stock the same thing.
Bit Limited, But Cheap & Helpful to Get Around
Must begin this with a very BIG THANK YOU! to my VT friend sugarpuff (real name Vicky though my mum would say why shorten a beautiful name like Victoria) who helped me master at least one aspect of the Beijing Subway.
It's a bit limited at the moment given there are only 2 lines; Line 1 the east-west line; & Line 2 the circular line. The nearest station to the Beijing International Hotel, where I was staying was Jiangoumen which was handily located on both lines so I could use it to save time walking to Wangfujing shopping area (Line 1 east-west line)& I also used it to go to Dongzhimen where I met Vicky & Charles to go to dinner in Restaurant Street.
Now for the cheap bit. It's only 3 RMB - Yuan - Quai (local slang pronounced Kwai easy for us Aussies to remeber because of the Bridge over the River Kwai) no matter how many stations you pass through to get to your chosen destination.
If your Chinese is limited or, like mine, virtually non-existent have your money ready & hold up your fingers for the number of tickets you want. Don't worry if you don't have exact money holding up your fingers will indicate how many tickets you want. You don't buy return tickets soif you want a return journey just hold up 2 fingers to get your return ticket in advance. Or buy it at the station you are coming back from.
The other hint here is that you need to know which exit you need to come out of as I think Exit A will take you in one direction while Exit B will take you in a different one from the station. Again if you read this & I am wrong please drop me a line so I can not only correct this for others, but know for my own benefit on my next Beijing trip.
All announcements whilst on the train come first in Chinese & then in English so you won't have to be peering out the window trying to catch sight of your station name as you come into the platform. You will be ready to get off.