I (heart) Beijing Part 2

beijing-hutong.jpgAs I promised before here I’m telling you again about my experiences in this wonderful country since I arrived for the first time on 2004.Chinese foodI’m sure most of you just love the Chinese food in your country, me too. But Chinese food in China is completely different from Chinese food in our countries, so when I first arrived to Beijing I got a not so pleasant surprise. My first shock was when passing in front of any restaurant, the smell was so strong that I couldn’t go inside any Chinese food restaurant during my first month. I guess I got used to the smell because after some time I found myself trying new dishes every day. My conclusions: Chinese food is way too spicy and oily for my liking; I don’t like Chinese food; 90% of foreigners in China can’t eat Chinese food here because it makes us sick and my last and most alarming conclusion: Chinese food causes “stomach heat” on some foreigners, included me. Bottom line: I learned how to cook here in China! I know of many foreigners who actually enjoy Chinese food, so what I’d advice you if you come to Beijing is not to try more than one dish a day and make sure to go with someone who is fluent in the language or you might end up having a delicious dog soup, and please don’t forget to eat the very famous Beijing Roasted Duck and the street CHUANRS (kebabs).Chinese shoppingChinese markets are very famous, almost every person who comes to Beijing is with the intention of going shopping. I confess I became a shopaholic here in China. I love that I can find everything here and prices are relatively cheap compared to other countries. BUT (there’s always a but) Chinese markets are also very famous for their fake articles, here you can find a fake item of any brand. Actually I think is very hard to find an original item here in China. The good news is that there are two categories of fake: good fakes and bad fakes. I would say that good fakes are almost originals but with a small almost imperceptible difference with an original. Bad fakes are easy to identify and sometimes they can make you laugh, you can find a pair of tennis shoes with the Nike logo but that says ADIDAS. Or a very nice NOKLA mobile phone (instead of a Nokia mobile phone). The fact that almost every item is fake is a very good way to get discounts. Another very amazing thing about shopping in Beijing is that there are no fixed prices, all prices are for bargain. Sellers will always try to sell as expensive as possible so is your responsibility to pay what a product is really worth. They can give you prices for a pair of “fake” Diesel jeans from 800 RMB (Chinese currency) but you can actually buy it for as low as 50 RMB. I admit that is not easy to bargain, once you learn the language and body language is actually a piece of cake, but for tourist it can be a real head ache. Some knowledge of Chinese numbers and language is a most if you want to have a pleasant shopping trip. Chinese Great WallAs you know I’ve been here in Beijing for almost four years but I’ve only been to the Chinese Great Wall once. Schools usually organize trips to Great Wall and there are many buses and private tour agencies that can arrange a trip there in minutes. When I went with my school, teachers organized a competition to stimulate all students to climb till the top. Guess what, I won one of the prices: a nice t-shirt that said “I climbed the Great Wall”. I confess that I didn’t win because I like climbing or because I was fast, but because the Great Wall is so big that half of my school got lost and went to the wrong place, I was one of the last one climbing to steps to arrive to the actual Great Wall, by the time I got there, I couldn’t see nobody from my class so as a good left handed, I decided to climb the left side of the Great Wall that was actually the right side. I was very surprised to make it to the top (there is no actual top but my school set a goal, distance we were supposed to achieve). Most foreigners love going there at least once a year, I know some who go twice a year.I can say that Great Wall is an amazing place with one of the nicest views ever and a very interesting history, BUT (remember there’s always a but) I will never go there again, I personally don’t see the point of climbing stairs for hours without reaching any point; even though its history is interesting, the Chinese Great Wall to me is just a WALL, so what’s the big deal? Please don’t think I’m being cruel, I love Chinese history and culture (I have lived here for four years and I’m planning on staying two more so that means something) but I personally don’t like the Great Wall. I know of many foreigners who think like me, so it makes me feel a little bit better to know that I’m not alone.If you come to Beijing, you should visit Great Wall, to love it or hate it, but that’s an experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything.Have you had any similar experience in China or any other country?AddThis Social Bookmark Button

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