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A week after I got back from China’s capital city, I’m still very much overwhelmed with the joy and positive changes the trip has brought to me. I can’t further delay writing this entry and I can’t spend too much time on it, either – my closets need serious rearrangement. Let’s see how my list of bullet points work out for us.

Apartments and buildings in Beijing are like big bold cubics placed next to each other … Unlike Hongkong, Beijing faces little land constraint, which explains why there are very few skyscrapers in the city.

Beijing

Wide and long Beijing roads with trees lining up on both sides … Sigh, when will I have such greenery in HCMC?

The green Beijing

Beijing’s subways remind me of buses and their conductors in HCMC. I was surprised to see a lady in uniform collecting tickets from passengers at each subway station as I was honestly expecting to deal with a machine of some sort.

To a very large extent, Beijing reminded me of Hanoi. While walking from Tianamen Square to Beihai park, I felt as if I were in the heart of Vietnam’s capital city. Weird!

The green grass in Beihai park.
Green grass in Beihai Park

Beijing residents lead a super healthy lifestyle. Almost anywhere I turned to, I’d see people exercising in one way or another.

Outside Temple of Heaven DSC04440
Dancing in group ————————– Calligraphy on the walk way

Temple of Heaven
@ Temple of Heaven


Hawkers in Beijing don’t speak one English word. I couldn’t help recalling how hawkers in HCMC manage to teach themselves a comfortable amount of English.

The first price offered to you in any Beijing markets is always sky high. Excuse the sellers and try to bargain your way down to hell, otherwise, you’ll be ripped off terribly. I was literally too scared to bargain and decided to switch off my shopping mode completely. All I got for myself was two pretty skirts (one red, one white) and a Chinese lucky cat. And as far as bargaining went, the funniest offer I got was a 2RMB reduction off the price of a long-sleeve raincoat. Oh dear!

The number 1 spot in Beijing isn’t the Great Wall, or the Summer Palace, or Tianamen Square. It’s Houhai – a cluster of live music bars by a big lake right opposite Tianamen Square.

The first thing that greeted me in Houhai is the sight of 70 plus people dancing in line right in front of its entrance. As the music kept switching from Chinese oldies to Macarena and Coco Jambo and more, the big group changed their dance styles accordingly. Couldn’t resist the temptation, my colleagues and I decided to join in the dancing troop. Of course, we were the odd ones out among the smooth local dancers who were already very familiar with all those steps. But a little while was all it took for us to catch up with everyone. And trust me it felt sooo darn good to dance with such a big group of people in the open air of Beijing at 10 pm when the temperature was around 20 degree Celsius.

DSC04399

There are around 20 different bars and restaurants in Houhai. Most bars are decorated in black and red – a super cozy setup, indeed. Each bar offers a different kind of music, there’s even a “Sex and the City” bar with poles and pole dancers behind a silky curtain that separate them from what’s going on outside. The presence of such bar doesn’t spoil the cleanness of this whole entertainment place at all. With a group of people dancing at the entrance, Houhai is no way a Chinese version of Bangkok’s Patpong and Sydney’s Kings Cross eh.

Houhai - The best night spot in Beijing

And the best thing I found in Houhai is this colorful snack stall

Yummie street food @ Houhai

Time for some more pictures … I still got tons of stories about Beijing to share … but the closets are calling … Enjoy my pix …

Chinese acrobatic performance

Straw hat act
Loop act

With Beijing Olympic 2008 maskot

I heart this Beijing 2008 stuffed maskot

Red lanterns hanging high …

At the longest shopping street

Love locks at the Great Wall … at 9 o’clock on 9/9/1999, 99 couples got married here at the Great Wall … On that day, they locked their love with these locks and threw all the keys down the wall as a vow to keep their love burning for eternity.

Love locks @ the Great Wall

My best picture @ the Great Wall

The Great Wall

The main stadium of Beijing Olympic 2008

Beijing 2008 bird nest stadium

Two cool old trees in the Imperial Garden

Super old trees in the Imperial Garden -  The Forbidden Wall

I heart this bronze urn a lot

Chinese Bronze Urn

Don’t imprison me for life … (Inspired by Rubie Bui’s pic)

Don't imprison me for life

The best shot in the Forbidden City

The Forbidden City

In the Forbidden City

The Forbidden Wall

Empress Cixi’ s Summer Palace (Cố Cung của Từ Hy Thái Hậu)

Dragon & Phoenix @ the Summer Palace

Kiss of the Dragon …………. mwwaaahhhhhhh …………

Dragon Statue @ the Summer Palace

Temple of Heaven

Temple of Heaven

The inside of Temple of Heaven

Inside the temple

Green green grass

The green green grass @ Temple of Heaven

All of us in Chinese jih pow

All in Chinese tops

Me playing solo in you-guess-where

Chinese outfit

The most yummie meal in Beijing: Separate cute tiny little hot pots ….

The most delicious meal in Beijing

… and lots of fresh green veggie and raw beef/lamb in supply …

Before .....

Hot pots – the aftermath

After ....

Still wanting to see some more? Check out my Flickr page (link)

15 Comments

  1. what a wonderful trip..wish I can pop there later😀

  2. nice pics babe.. if you come to shanghai, you’ll know the real meaning of “rip off”

  3. I always feel things are inexpensive in China, even in many big cities. You felt rip off becuase you are a tourist and you are a foreigner. Sorry about it. But, glad you had a nice trip. If you impressed on Houhai, I am sure you would enjoy Sanlitun. Houhai is more local spot. Sanlitun is a bar street also, and there are a lot of foreigners and artists hanging around there. Sometimes, you probably will meet some movie stars there. Check it out next time. But, you need to prepare be ripped off again. HAHA.

  4. Phục bà Thanh quá, viết nhật ký mà cũng viết bằng tiếng Anh được *_* Đi BK vui hen, thích nhất là có nhiều cây xanh :X

  5. hihi, ba lam tui thèm di Beijing wa!! Nhat la cai cây kẹo khổng lồ do, miam miam!! Tui lai la dua hao ngot nua, dung la…

  6. @ Cloud: Trong Chinese food, chỉ có Cantonese food (mà đại diện tiêu biểu là Hongkong food) mới ngon thôi nha cưng. Đồ ăn ở Bắc Kinh (kể cả món vịt quay bản xứ) không ngon như mình nghĩ, tao dễ ăn nên cũng không đến nỗi chết đói nơi xứ người. Còn lại mọi người toàn ăn cá cơm kho, dưa món, và đậu phộng kho mang từ VN theo á. Bữa ăn ngon duy nhất ở Bắc Kinh là hot pot á – mày vào flickr của tao mà xem hình Before and After.

  7. Ke.o ho^` lo^ nhi`n ngon wa’, mam mam😀

    Sao ko tha^’y ta^’m na`o ma.c a’o ba` ba Su*o*`n xa’m he^’t zay? Hi`nh nhu* co’ Ta^m di nua thi` phai?😛

  8. @ Maggie: Things gotta be inexpensive in China cos they’re still in the land of the world manufacturer. Knowing that very well, I was scared not to shop a lot as I somehow still felt that my bargaining would never be enough. Is Sanlitun the oldest bar street in Beijing? And does its Mandarin name mean “dead ghost”? I heard of a more popular and touristed entertainment place than Houhai, but Houhai is the only place with a big lake, isn’t it?

  9. @ Quyen: Cây kẹo đó là hồ lô – nhìn kỹ bà sẽ thấy trên mỗi que hồ lô có các loại trái cây khác nhau – cây hồ lô nào cũng bóng loáng vì nó đã được nhúng vào nước đường – nước đường khô lại tạo thành 1 lớp kiếng trong suốt bao bọc xung quanh. Cái cây hồ lô tui đang cầm thuộc loại ngon nhất nhì trong tất cả các loại. Nghe nói hồ lô trái dâu ngon lắm nhưng hết mùa rồi nên không có chỗ nào bán hết.

  10. hihi, Thanh’s right! Do an TQ ko ngon dau, chi co tui HK la nau kha thoi. Chac, phai di dc an cai dam keo ho lo day nhi!?! Them wa troi!!

  11. Sanlitun probably is not the oldest, but most popular. It is true Houhai is the only place had a big lake.

  12. yummy cay keo! Canh dep qua, di chac phe luon ha? Ma sao do an TQ noi tieng ngon, trinh bay dep mat, ma ko thay ba post len nhi? :->

  13. Chac di bo^. nhieu qua va do an khong ngon, nen nhin thon tha? ra nhi😀 Best diet tip: Go travelling😀

  14. @ Freesia: It’s a combo of too little sleep, too much Salsa, carefully selected food intake & too much walking😀

    @ Popcorn: Chi va em da gap nhau o dau a?

  15. Hi em, nhin` hinh` quen lam’, khong biet Thanh con` nho’ chi khong ta?


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