A Travellerspoint blog

A Foreigner in Beijing...

sunny 28 °C

I took the subway today....!

After a 25 minute walk through 28 degree heat to the subway, I went to the ticket booth to pay my CNY2 (£0.20) for a one way ticket anywhere I wanted to go - Amazing.

I was then greeted by this:
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Now I thought the London tube got crowded....The Chinese have us beat, hands down - I didn't even need to hold on to anything as the amount of bodies in those subway cars held me perfectly in place.
Apparently my 'dance space' doesn't register with the people here.
And my, my, how they like to stare. I had so many photos taken of me I felt like I should have been getting paid for it!
On the plus side, the Beijing Subway system is much more efficient, even if it's more crowded, than any other train/tube system I've encountered. They have the lines and stops like the tube, but they have little lights signalling which door will be opening, which station you're at and which one is being approached next, and the announcements are in Chinese, then in clear as day English - better than Boris!

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So I change at 3 different stops to get to the one closest to Mishel, my soon to be flat mate at the school in Xinxiang and followed the instructions to her hostel.
I find her waiting for me in the lobby and we head out into town to check it out, and lo and behold, what do we find?
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That's right people, a McDonalds! And I found a KFC as well... so much for authentic Chinese cuisine!
You will be pleased to know however, that after walking down by the most beautiful river walkway and crossing a tiny little Chinese-esque bridge, we found a little restaurant and had the most enormous chicken salad with goats cheese and a mango, papaya and banana smoothie - IN YOUR FACE COLD! (which is finally starting to subside - yay!!)

Tomorrow we're going to go to the zoo and go on these amazing little motor powered boats on the river round the corner from Mish's hostel!

I saw other foreigners!! I've never been so happy to see white people! It was a beautiful sight and we all exchanged a welcoming smile and acknowledging nod of respect as groups of teenage Chinese girls kept taking photos of us!

On my travels in central Beijing today, I also found this little beauty:
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Doesn't taste the same, but the sentiment is all that counts!

I've breached the subject of checking out of this hotel early, which is difficult considering they don't understand what I'm saying, but I need to be closer to Mishel and central Beijing so we can get to our excursions and the train station to get to school on Saturday so hopefully it will all be ok.

Going to the main train station tomorrow to get my ticket so I don't have to spend 3 hours in a queue on Saturday and hopefully when I go to my new hotel on Wednesday, the taxi fare won't bankrupt me! We shall see!

Quite an eventful day in old and new parts of town and grabbing a cold can of pop in a travellers bar :)

Good day!

Posted by Lady Mantle 03:10 Archived in China Tagged trains travel mcdonalds language_barrier beijing_subway Comments (4)

Stepping out into the land of Chinese Cuisine...

sunny 18 °C

This evening I went to a Chinese restaurant around the corner from my hotel...

I've never eaten so much chicken in my life!

For the equivalent of £4.70 I was offered a smorgasbord of treats ranging from meat on sticks to vegetable dishes, noodles and rice, various multi-coloured sauces and of course, pizza!

I tried pretty much everything without wanting to seem like the ravenous westerner ;)

There were these little triangle things that had some kind of fish (I think!) and vegetables, almost like a samosa... with fish?!

I also tried what looked like a mozzarella dipper stick from MacDonalds, only it was shorter and fatter like a potato croquette.... it was not potato or cheese. it was sweet and there was an almost soft, translucent paste inside. it was nice, but I don't think it will become a staple food source....!

There was a selection of fruits etc but I've been warned off eating fruit here unless I buy it and cook it/clean it myself, so I had cake instead!

The sponge here is so soft and light, I had to double check I'd actually eaten it afterwards! There was also slices of what looked like roly poly cake but with green jelly in it instead of jam...

All in all, I feel my first attempt in a Chinese restaurant was a success, considering nothing was in English and the only way I know how much stuff is is because people keep showing me on a calculator - never thought I would say this, but thank goodness Maths is a universal language!

And to top off the evening, considering I'm still riddled with this bloody cold, I got this in a little biscuit packet they gave me:

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I am now the proud owner of what appears to be a magical, Chinese Unicorn :D

That, and I totally caught up on last night's Doctor Who on my laptop - thank the Baby Jeeves for the (if somewhat restricted) Internet!:

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Now for a film and then bed as I'm braving the subway tomorrow!

Night Blog Family xxx

Posted by Lady Mantle 05:56 Archived in China Tagged chinese_food sweets questionable_meat Comments (1)

Summer cold

sunny 27 °C

It is BOILING outside! 27 degrees at the minute.

Not a cloud in the sky so trees and buildings are the only thing offering any shade.

I keep seeing little huddles of Chinese people clustered beneath them to protect themselves from the sun. I even saw an older lady with a coat on her head like a cloak just sat on a bench eating a sandwich!

I went for a walk today to try and get rid of the cold I apparently have now! Luckily I brought plenty of paracetamol so hopefully it will go away soon - sunshine and a cold do not mix!

My hotel room doesn't have a window so when I woke up at half 10 this morning (3.30 am UK time!) I was confused to say the least!

I have however located the subway that will take me into central Beijing after wandering around for nearly an hour and stopping in a different hotel to ask for directions.

This would normally have been fine, accept there was only one person who could speak a little English, in the same respect that I can speak a little Spanish, so after 20 minutes, 2 maps and 6 colleagues, we just about figured out what I wanted, where we were, and where I needed to go.

These were the instructions written down for me:

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I had to add them to my own map as I have apparently chosen a hotel in the arse end of nowhere and my subway station isn't on the map of Beijing that I have!

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All in a days work!

Posted by Lady Mantle 22:31 Archived in China Tagged summer language maps subways cold ill Comments (2)

First Chinese activity completed: A trip to the supermarket!

sunny 14 °C

So I may not have bought anything of substance, but at least I won't die of starvation now...!

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Now I am aware that's an awful lot of carbs, but I thought it was safer at this point than buying undisclosed meat packets...!

And have just discovered that that water is lime flavoured.... oddly refreshing!

AND! Bags cost the equivalent of 2p - feels like home! (x Cardiff x)

Oh China, I love you already!

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Posted by Lady Mantle 04:26 Archived in China Tagged food shopping smoking carbs Comments (2)

Beijing. I am in you!

sunny 25 °C

So after an incredibly long session of waiting and flights - I have finally arrived in Beijing.

The weather is incredible - sunny and bright and warm but not sweaty (always a plus!)

The hotel is a bit out of the way so will need to work out public transport before I venture too far outside!

10 hour flights are really tiring and trying to sleep in Economy is just not worth it!

I've added some piccies - mountains and whatnot from the plane window and the reddest sunrise ever over China!

Now to showering, cheeky nap, and then finding some food that won't kill me!?

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Posted by Lady Mantle 09:00 Archived in China Tagged beijing sleepy first_stop Comments (1)

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