Chinese person starts to chat in perfect English is friendly and helpful and reveals himself to be an Art professor (is dressed in a suit with a brief case) who has an art exhibition and asks you to go with him ..... but know this ..... do not fall into the trap. This is a scam and should be avoided.
Beijing Subway Yellow Line - Olfactive Bomb
Although most lines of Beijing Subway are excellent and well air conditioned, the Yellow line experience was a disgusting one. The smell is unbearable and I really can't tell exactly where does that smell come from.
Yellow line is generally used to reach the Summer Palace.
Avoid the yellow line, you have been warned! Better catch a taxi to the Summer PalaceRelated to:
- Museum Visits
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
Ladies of the night
One night, I wanted to buy some stuff from a supermarket across the street from my hotel. On the way to/from the store, 3 different women approached me and talked to me in Chinese. I'm not sure if they thought I was Chinese too or simply because I was alone but either way I could only assume they were offering some 'personal' service. Since I couldn't understand them anyway, I just said "Bu shi!" (No!), kept walking till they left. Don't think they're alone like you, for sure they have a male back-up nearby who's maybe their pimp or manager.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Different electrical outlets
The electrical outlet is different everywhere. And so is the case in Beijing.
Note that Voltage is 220V (50 Hertz). So if your equipment is 110V, be careful.
Fortunately, there are easily available outlet adapters. Many of them made in China.
Traffic Jam & Collision Under the Bridge
If you are renting boat rides at Qian Hai Lake and Hou Hai Lake , there is a only a narrow river way between the two lakes.
So it can be a traffic jam of boats at this bottleneck and be patient so that no is is bumped off the boat by collision.
Perhaps, a "traffic light" should be installed soon for the boats going under the bridge.
Getting off a crowded bus
In the Beijing public buses, ofteh there are three doors. Passengers alight on the middle door where you can swipe with a prepaid card or pay in cash, usually 1 yuan to the collector who usually sits near the middle door.
Announcements are made in Chinese to ask passengers who are disembarking to be ready as the doors at front and rear will only open.
So when you enter a crowded bus through the middle door, quickly move through the crowd toward the front or rear door before the bus reaches the stop of your destination. When you let the person in front of you know, they will give way to let you go towards the exit door.
Pay Close Attention to Warning Signs
When I was visiting a major Muslim mosque in Beijing, there was a warning sign in both Chinese and English stating that room inside is out of bounce of non-Muslim.
Unfortunately two young Chinese toursts did not see the sign and walked into the room with prayer mats with their street shoes. It created a ruckus.
So beware of warning signs whether shoes off or no admission and respect holy places of worship.
Toilets - Lack of privacy
Many public toilets have been transformed to meet international standard for cleanliness and comfort. There is constant cleaning.
For some of the older toilets like this picture of this small public toilet outside and near the street of the National Theatre of Performing Art, the small layout reflect the lack of privacy of the original toilet.
Not enough room for doors and space. So better to use the toilets at your hotels or major shopping malls unless it is an emergency.
Air pollution - CNN reports
Prior to coming to the Beijing, I was constantly bombarded by daily CNN news of how bad the air is and whether one can see far or breathe safely not to say run a marathon.
Fortunately, it was not as bad as it reported. Not sure how much to do with the steps taken to reduce cars on the road and stopping of construction.
There were days of blue skies after the rains as well days of "hazy" skies and many days in return. For some locals, the "haze" is just combination of moisture, particles and stagnant wind conditions.
Anyway, I did not experience any bad days but I am sure they do occur like all major cities.
Subway - lots of steps
Especially in the "older" subway stations, there are no escalators and one has to climb up and down the steps. So not advisable to take the subway if you cannot do the stairs.
I once tried a lift but it was not operating. Some lifts are only for wheel chair or handicap and "under lock".
Some of the subway interchange line is also a distance to walk. There are no walkathons. But like all subways in the world, do expect to walk up and down the stairs in a crowd for the convenience use of the subway. I
Generally safe but watch out for pickpockets
Throughout my stay in Beijing, whether day or night, I have found that Beijing is very safe compared with major cities around the world. Perhaps there was also extra security as Olympic Games was in town.
However only once, I heard a commotion after the end of the Basketball event as people were leaving and going home at night. Someone was chased down, pushed to the ground because he had pickpocketed someone.
So it is prudent to always watch out your pocket if you are in a crowded environment. Overall, thumbs up for Beijing city security and safety for tourist.
Ladies, pack plenty of toilet paper!!!!
Consider yourself warned!
Although there are plenty of public toilets in Beijing, they are often very smelly, unclean and have no toilet paper.
Almost all public toilets are squat style, as are quite a few McDonalds and older style shopping mall toilet facilities.
Some toilets are only for Peeing in! The signs warn of punishment for not compliance LOL.
1. Take plenty of toilet paper with you.
2. Use the toilets in the western style shopping malls
3. Even McDonalds and KFC mostly do not supply toilet paper
4. If you wish to have a “sit down toilet” and not a squat toilet, find a disabled toilet as they are western style!Related to:
- Budget Travel
Many people don't even think about how buildings are made. Maybe they are made well enough here, but the glitsy, shiny glass belies are crumbling interior, and that is the same throughout the country. The following images are of an old building, a modern building, and a building being built. Note the holes in the building under construction, and keep that in mind when viewing the first two. The facade looks pretty, while the reality is much different. That is China, in some regards. I hope buildings in the west aren't built like this.
Every so often, a crack in the ceiling of our bathroom sheds another bit of aggregate. They use too much aggregate (small stones) in relation to other ingredients here. The concrete cracks, it leaks. Paint peels here like you wouldn't believe, and in part it's due to the rotting of the structures underneath- the water rusting away at the rebar...
Bricks are falling off the pretty facade of the main classroom building at our school This is not good. I could understand if the bricks were hit by something, but they're five floors up. You can see other places where they're peeling off the wall. They need lessons in use of concrete.
Three images.Related to:
Touts and Men
There are some touts at the Temple Of Heaven that don't leave you alone. They are the type that offer to shine your bare feet, the kind that walk up to me with my professional camera stuff, and tell me I need postcards. I'm the one who makes postcards... I don't need to buy them. Anyway, they kind of give an, "aww, come on, I know you really want this. You're just playing with me" type feel. But it does get annoying when you say "no" and they keep at it.
Oh, how I'd love to sit and talk with them, had I the language... I want to see what their life is like, instead of being treated as a dollar sign and treating them like trash. I'm nice at first, of course, but after the tenth time saying "no" it really gets old. It's sad that that's the only real relationship most tourists get to see of many people...
Also, there was a group of men when we were there, tourists, no doubt, but still the type to be discomfiting. Not that the Chinese are threatening people, but you have to be careful about groups of people sometimes. Anyway, they were just staring a lot, and I'm rather defensive about my camera gear... Just keep your stuff close and enjoy!
Do not travel to Beijing during New Years without earplugs, or you will find it difficult to sleep.
The fireworks are everywhere around the clock for three days, but reach a climax at midnight of New Years Eve. I imagine Beirut sounds the same...
Definately an awe inspiring experience, to be surrounded by constant sound and light.
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