Insiders Guid to Beijing
This is a must if you are even thinking of going to Beijing. www.insidersguid.com.cn is the sight for information, but this is a must resource, and the best recomendation I have. App. 60rmb and worth every dime. Gives you listings of everything from Hotels, Food, Kids, Art & Culture, Sight seeing, Nightlife (EXCEPTIONAL)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, Shoping, etc............... My best memory of Beijing is the time I got on the Sardine packed City bus. It was so packed; I had to stand in the middle of the landing for the door to shut. After it did, I got to thinking about when the bus stopped again, I would be pushed out. So, I squeezed my way op the two steps away from the door. I managed to get myself turned around facing the door. When it came to the next stop, the Driver hit the breaks hard, and everybody leaned to the front, and then came back to standing up straight. I was thinking about the toys Weables. You know, "Weables Wobble but they don't fall down", and started laughing uncontrollably. I couldn't stop. People were looking at me so strangely, but I will never forget.
Summer Palace . The Summer...
Summer Palace . The Summer Palace, located ten kilometers to the northwest of Beijing, used to be a summer residence of Qing Dynasty emperors and is now a public park. It is an imperial garden known far and wide for its architectural grandeur and stunning natural beauty. Construction of the Summer Palace started in 1750.
The northern part of the Summer Palace is the 60-meter-tall Longevity Hill. Its southern part is a wide expanse of water called Kunming Lake. The whole garden covers 290 hectares, with the lake taking up four-fifths of its total area.
A cluster of grand buildings adorn the middle section of the Longevity Hill. On the slope from the lakeside to the hilltop stand: a decorated archway called Jade-Like Firmament in Bright Colors, Cloud-Dispelling Hall, Hall of Virtuous Brilliance, Pavilion of Buddhist Incense and Temple of the Sea of Wisdom. Standing on the top of the hill, a visitor commands a spectacular view of buildings of different shapes and sizes down below, their golden roofs glittering under the sun; the placid, huge Kunming Lake dotted with rowing boats; a 17-arch bridge that connects an island with the lake's southern bank; the long, winding west bank of the lake joined by six bridges; and the distant West Hills.
Along the northern bank of Kunming Lake runs the Long Corridor with a total length of 728 meters and 273 sections. It is like a necklace for Longevity Hill. Strolling in the corridor, a visitor sees an endless lineup of corridor stands stretching into the distance or curving away elegantly at soft angles as well as Kunming Lake sparkling under the sun. The crossbeams of the Long Corridor are decorated with more than 8,000 color paintings with Chinese landscape and historical stories as their themes.
The 17-arch bridge on the southern bank of Kunming Lake is more than 150 meters long. Carved stone lions, of different sizes and postures, sit on top of the bridge's stone columns. An octagonal pavilion stands at one end of the bridge and near the pavilion lies a bronze ox with its head raised toward the lake. On the back of the ox is engraved a line from Emperor Qianlong stating that the ox is used to control flooding of the lake.
A Ming-style street winds along a stretch of water on the back side of Longevity Hill. The Suzhou Street, 300 meters long, is lined with more than 60 shops and decorated with archways and gateways. The shops, of different shapes and sizes, are built with bluish gray tiles and bricks. The marketplace lends a folksy flavor to the imperial garden.
Lost in translation
It is easy to enhance your holiday experience by boosting your capacity to communicate in the local language. To assist us in various situations we would encounter in China, I used a word processor program to make small little flashcards in both English and Mandarin. I then laminated them to prevent deterioration.
These little cards were small enough to fit in my wallet or a pocket and we carried them around everywhere we went while in Beijing.
Whenever I wished to communicate something, for example in a hotel foyer or restaurant, I would produce one of my little cards. The Chinese found these fascinating and I think they really appreciated the effort to communicate with them in their own language.
I mostly obtained Mandarin translations for tourist sights, dishes in restaurants, public transport, emergency services etc.
We also translated directions to and address of our hotel, which we could give to a taxi driver.
It was very worthwhile little accessories.
The latest trends in Beijing
Teenagers and youngsters in their 20s go to WuDaoKou 五道口 in the northwestern part of the city. It's in the university district. There's a new mall there but I forget what it's called.
Besides the mall, there're many little shops and eateries along the street and in the general vicinity.
There's also a wholesale apparel market nearby called the 五道口服装市场, but it may be a little hard for a tourist to find.
The area is served by a subway station and many buses, but the traffic's often backed up for hours on weekends and during rush hours. You'll find all the latest fashion trends among youngsters here, in particular Korean trends because of the large number of Korean students in the area. Anything upwards of Y50. Prices can go as low as Y20 at the wholesale market.
Aroung 6 pm some streets in Beijing turn into lively nightmarkets. Specially around Wangfujing Road you can spend your evening eating and drinking at many nice foodstalls. Just try all this local specialities!!! The only food I do not eat are small birds and fried insects.