Sunday, October 31, 2010

Oct 31 2010 | Beijing: Halloween (well, not exactly)

from Tiananmen Square, back to The Forbidden City
This morning we were awoken by the Shanghai-Beijing overnight train playing children's songs to gently nudge slumbering travelers awake. We shared a bedroom with two young women who were working at a Flooring Marketing convention in Shanghai. The cost of the overnight train is 70% of a flight and takes 9x longer, I wonder what possesses business travelers to use it.
gnawing on sugarcane - where did that guy come from? :)
After regrouping with my coworkers, who had arrived in Beijing a day earlier while we were recuperating in Hangzhou, we went out for a small tasty breakfast of pastries and hot milk tea with tapioca pearls. Hot!! I didn't know they made it hot!!

i'm not even down to my business socks yet!
(sign at the peking duck restaurant)
Checked into the hotel and freshened up, we headed to Tiananmen Square, which has been in existence in increasingly substantial size since 1417. It is bordered by such tourist sites such as The Forbidden City, Mao's tomb, The National Museum, and an outdoor mall where we would have dinner later that evening. Not much to do in the square itself, it's exactly as it is pictured on tv, but perhaps one size larger ;)

did somebody say duck?
Some trivial bit of history examined, we commenced SHOPPING at the Pearl and Silk Market, a large knock-off market where my experience visiting Israel and buying souvenirs in Shanghai paid off royally. Olga and I didn't actually get anything for ourselves, but I was integral in lowering my friends' prices by 25% below their already bargain-basement "best price." For example, I helped one friend buy a knockoff Samsonite suitcase for 150 RMB. Another friend separately bought the same suitcase at the same time in another stand for $200 RMB. The same story held true for jackets, handbags, etc. It helps when I have nothing to lose and can walk away without any remorse.

that family that eats ice cream
together, stays together
We headed to China Quanjude to an early dinner of their famous Roast Peking (or Beijing as the locals call it) Duck. As I only enjoy lamb and feta cheese in Greece, the same can be said for Peking Duck in Beijing. So many courses were ordered, my favorites being the duck spring rolls and the sesame balls stuffed with lotus flower. nom nom nom.

screens in the subway tunnels
The subways in Beijing have tv screens in the tunnels so you can watch a moving ad as you traverse the system. It's unusual and creative - a sort of zoetrope. I wonder what the purpose is -- I had heard China does not have a graffiti problem (the same cannot be said about litter), and I would think putting 100 tv screens in the tunnel near each station wouldn't be any cheaper than putting 1 screen in each subway car...


The other Olga said...

The TVs in the subway tunnels grabbed your attention though!

kg said...

Halloween? Hah! Your not in San Francisco any more! BTW, I had at least 2 Dorothy's and Toto's come trick or treating tonight.

So why did you take the train?

Dave said...

olga decided to take the train because it's safer, cheaper (significantly if you include the cost of the hotel), and you get to meet random interesting people. it worked out pretty well! :)

Someone sent me a photo of a sign saying Halloween in the Castro is cancelled this year....guess it can't go on without me :P

kg said...

You can't take the credit -- I thought they've been "canceling" it for years!