Beijing–First Impressions

After a powernap from a late arrival in my hotel, I woke up to a bustling Beijing. What I initially mistook for fog, I quickly realised it was the pollution that everyone referred to.

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China: Grey sky of pollution

 

Not to be discouraged, I was eager to see what the city had to offer, and caught a cab to Silk Road Market, highly recommended by the good folks at reception where I stayed. Silk Road Market did not disappoint. It was a maze of local shops, selling overpriced items to unsuspecting tourists. The name of the game was haggling. The famous “I Love Beijing” t-shirt abbreviated with “I Red heart BJ” is famous in the west, and I had to get my hands on of them.From an initial asking price of 800 yuan, I walked away paying 50 yuan for it, convinced that even then, I still probably overpaid!

A trip to the local foodcourt was not dissimilar to the local asian foodcourts around China Town in Sydney, offering all sorts of Chinese food, but also to my surprise, there was even Indian food on offer, shop held by a legit Indian bloke who migrated to China from Indian, in search of good fortune. None of the shops looked particularly clean, but not to be outdone by the locals, I was determined to give the local food a shot. The vegetarian fried noodles certainly did not disappoint, and by far one of the best I have had for years.

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Sampling the local cuisine

The hunger taken care of, I was keen to see what else was on offer, so a quick taxi trip over to Ya Show Market, I was left standing in front of a massive international shopping centre, with all sorts of international brands on offer, such as Uniqlo, Zara, Puma, H&M and the like. We found a local french cafe to freshen up, and the headed over to Hongqiao Pearl Market. It was nearly 7 pm when we arrived at Hongqiao, and as they closed at 7pm, I decided to call it a day, and come back another day for what it had to offer.

 

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Ya Show Market and the local French cafe

 

As I slide back in the lounge at my hotel, sipping a warm cup of tea and watching the local news in Chinese on CCTV, I contemplated at how impressive the Chinese were at imitating goods and items, and to such quality that often it was indiscernible to the real one.

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