Beijing – China

So……. China…….

I’m not going to say it……

I’m really trying not so say it…….

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This report has just come in:

The Chinese in Beijing are the most terrible people I’ve met so far…. (there, I said it…..).

It’s not that they’re bad people and I know I shouldn’t generalize people (especially in a country as enormous as China) but they are so incredibly rude in every possible way. It’s hard to walk on the street here as I feel they are playing a game with me. I keep going from left to right to avoid people walking in to me… And even when I’m standing still they sometimes just bluntly walk straight into me.

Combine that with the fact they have absolutely no manners at all. They cough and spit everywhere (off course especially next to you in a restaurants). I saw this guy in the metro who coughed onto this girl. You could see the splatters in her face….. Damn, that was disgusting.

When I try to speak with someone they won’t even look at me. They start waving their hands in my face and start walking away even when I have a note with Chinese directions…

Combine that with the fact that they don’t seem to mind making pictures of me. No, please don’t even ask me.. Just shove a camera in my face and flash…. I was skyping with my mom and sister and I aimed the camera to the street where there where people posing with me in the background. It’s off course funny in the beginning but after a day or two it gets really annoying…

Combine that with the smog here in Beijing. The smog is hard to ignore because visibility is severely limited at times and a day of hiking makes you feel you smoked a pack of cigarettes. A day inside is a good way to recover… Imagine that.

Combine that with the fact that every Chinese in Beijing that does speak a little English will try to scam you. In the centre, metro exits and every tourist place people come up and shout at you with the scams:

  • Hey friend. You want to nice art see? HEY! HEY!! HEY!!!
  • Hello, want to have a drink? (usually a single girl) Hey! Drink? Hey! Where you go!
  • Have you been to the great wall? HEY! Wall?? HEY!
  • Hey Mister, where you go? Rickshaw only 30! OK take hotel! OK! OK!

Allot of people are falling for the scams apparently. I’ve spoken to 3 English guys that went with the “want to have a drink?” girls and ended up paying for the huge bill. They spend a couple hundred pounds that night. The next day I woke up to a “situation” outside. A couple had taken one of the Rickshaws for 30 and they ended up paying 300! “No say 30, say 300!” screams the driver angry. The same day a couple came to the hostel that got scammed by the teahouse scam. This is the biggest scam here. They invite you to try some traditional thee and then they present the bill: Several hundreds of dollars for a few cups of thee. For more information about the scams: http://wikitravel.org/en/Beijing#Stay_safe

All and all its really easy to see through all these scams but I guess allot of people still fall for it. They also still annoy me allot. Especially the people that grab your arm and want to drag to the door of their “art” gallery. I almost punched someone in the face for that…. Or the girl at the McDonalds that grabbed all my money while I was looking for a note of 5.

So yes I’m being judgemental especially since I spend most of my time in Beijing but I don’t think that this is normal in any cultural. I know the Chinese have allot of tradition and that cultures are to be respected but I cannot see any form of culture in the scams or rudeness. So be warned before you go to China! But also please read the next part.

 

Soooooo……. China…….….

I’m really not that disappointed with you, don’t worry! It’s not bad if you ignore the people and the smog here in Beijing.  I had allot of fun in the YHA hostel here. The atmosphere is great and the people nice. They helped me with everything I asked.

I want to take the Trans-mongolian express to Russia to get home so after I checked into my hostel I immediately applied for a visa at the Mongolian consult. It’s easy to get there by metro and in 2 days I had the visa in my passport. I checked out a few tourist places in the first few days here while I waited for my Mongolian visa.

I continued to the Russian consulate to get my last visa. I had filled in all forms and the lady said with a heavy voice “Two weeks!”. Euummh? Sorry two weeks? Can I do express? “No express, you wait two weeks”.

So with two weeks to spend here in Beijing I have some time to kill…… Good thing there is allot to do here. Here are some of the must-do things in Beijing and what to skip(from top to bottom) :

The great Wall

More on that in my next post.

Yonghe Lama Temple

Definitely the best looking temple in Beijing. This largest and most important Tibetan Buddhist monastery is definitely worth a look. Easily accessible by metro! This is a place of worship and you really feel the atmosphere. Ow! and there is 26 meter Buddha as well!

Night market

The night market is a crazy place and it’s a must see at night (lol). Eat scorpions and bugs on a stick! You can buy all you souvenirs here too but be prepared to bargain! Start at 10% of the price they ask and more than once I got it for that price.

The summer palace

Very nice place that’s worth the long metro ride. Take lunch with you and have a picnic there. Nice views and relaxing at the top (it gets more crowded when walking down).

Temple of Heaven.

Although I didn’t find the temple that special, the park it’s in is definitely. There are hundreds of old people that just hang out in the park. It’s fantastic to see them dancing, knitting there sweaters,  playing cards and chess. I even witnessed an impromptu concert. All the old woman on the left and the men on the right. Everybody was singing along.

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Military Museum

Tanks, planes and guns. Ow… and history too! And its free! The history is written by the victors and that is really evident here. Still its good fun and did I tell already tell you it’s free?

Beijing Aquarium

First I liked to say that I highly oppose of zoo’s. It’s terrible to capture an animal and ship it thousands of kilometres from its home to amuse people. I always avoid going there and from what I’ve been told the Beijing zoo is really disgusting as well (bad living conditions for the animals). But I couldn’t resist seeing the largest inland aquarium in the world. It breeds more than 1000 marine species and freshwater fish using artificial salt water totalling as much as 18,000 tons.

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The forbidden city

Or as I call it: “The huge village with millions of tourist and huge empty halls with just a small throne in them”. It’s a must see but don’t expect too much. The best thing is the gardens but they are so crowded that I couldn’t enjoy them. Do go to the entrance at night and see how nice it could be without all the tour groups en scammers/guides shouting.

The birdsnest and watercube

Not as impressive as I thought. The birds nest isn’t that big (my home stadium is just as impressive). I wanted to swim in the Watercube but there was an Olympic game going on.. To bad…

Millennium monument

It’s nice…. That’s it. Not worth the long metro ride.

CCTV tower

The tallest landmark in Beijing with the highest viewing platform in Beijing. Where you can see nothing…. Because of the smog…. They have some nice setups for making pictures but definitely not worth the money.

Mao memorial Hall

You wait a long time in a big line to see Mao. They say it’s a wax replica…

National Museum

A huge building that is really impressive on the outside and so boring on the inside. I’ve seen in Wellington, New Zealand that museums can informative and fun. This is the perfect example of how a museum should not be. Hundreds of pots, statues and little and large paintingzzzzzzzzzzzzz………

But that’s a personal opinion…

Beijhai park

Most depressing place everrrrrrrrr…

I was in the embassy neighbourhood and the park there was allot more lively (with old people singing and dancing) and then you come to Beijhai….. Next!

Beijing Metro

Be part of the collective at six o’clock. Black hair and dark eyes for miles on end. An experience you won’t forget…..

I’ve been here 3 weeks and I haven’t even seen all of it. There is really allot to do here but I also spend some time at the wall and in Ping Yoa. Those where the best times in China for me. Be sure to check out those next stories!

René