Travel Notes: Beijing
(Day 1, 2 Juni 2014)
It had been more than 10 years since my last visit to Beijing. So when Alfred, my husband, was planning to go on business trip to Beijing, I decided to come along. Although I knew that I would be on my own, since his schedule was very tight
During the entire stay in Beijing, Alfred was really busy. I only met him during breakfast and when he and his business partners invited me to join them for dinner. After dinner, they usually continued their meeting until the early hours.
Armed with a Beijing map, limited knowledge of Mandarin mainly of numbers, nǐ hǎo (hello) and duōshǎo (how much), and google translate in my cellphone, I bravely roamed downtown Beijing that had been rapidly growing over the last 10 years. The first day went on smoothly. I didn’t encounter any problems whatsoever. Partly because I walked the whole day and I did not interact with many people. Since our hotel, the Shangri-La, was within the China World Trade Center, once outside the hotel, we would be at the main road of Jianguomenwai Avenue. If we keep on walking on this road we will be at ke Tiananmen Square.
Beijing was a pedestrians friendly city. Its sidewalks were clean, wide open with shade trees and gardens. There were many underground passages, making it very easy to move from one sidewalk to the other. But be extra careful when crossing the street, though. Motorists in China didn’t respect pedestrians. Although the walk sign had already turned green, they were still speeding up and honking loudly.
I ended my first day of sightseeing in Beijing by visiting Silk Street, a souvenir market similar to ITC Mangga Dua, Jakarta. Most of the cloths and artworks sold there were silk. Blouses, tablecloths, tissue holders, bed runners etc. Finally, I had opportunity to test my bargaining skill.