I’ve been busy for quite a while. I will start posting new stuff here.
I’ve been busy for quite a while. I will start posting new stuff here.
sorry for leaving the announcement on for such a long a time. i didn’t have a computer to write with for the past days and won’t have one for next few weeks. i’m writing this post from my iphone.
arriving in beijing early for christmas, the first impression was, that it was just as decorated for christmas, as western airports are. either pictures of santa claus were pasted to windows, festive lights hanging everywhere in the most colorful manner or christmas trees, decorating entrances and big halls.
once arrived in the hotel, christmas music swept out of hidden speakers. the same in malls and shops. but that was it. sometimes waitresses or somekind of promoters/hostesses were dressed up as what i would like to call ‘santa clausettes’ and giving out little samples of anything anyshop would try to sell. in the streets, beijing looked as it always looks. in the main streets, you could see those pasted santas everywhere. but once you cut into the blocks themselves, away from the main streets, there were no more decorations. as christmas eve came, i saw the worst traffic chaos i’ve ever seen. everyone was heading home and i’m talking about the chinese. it seemed they wanted to spent the evening at home. that night, the streets seemed more deserted than usual.
that would be next question, how china celebrates christmas at home. there is a christian minority in china, but not enough to really mean something significant. my asumption is that they adopted the habbit of spending the time with the family (although the chinese do that more often, than westerners anyway) and giving presents. here’s to excusing for doing something nice on a certain day.
i remember, when i lived in hong kong, my family adopted some traditions of chinese new year, although we were a ‘christian’ family. … picking out the best of every religion/tradition.
as for new year (btw, happy new year and welcome to 2010) nothing happened. since china only adopted the gregorian calendar for its practical use and not for any other thing, the new year according to it is just as significant, as any midnight, that passes by, only noticed by clocks or the news on the radio. maybe somewhere, somebody did celebrate it, but it was hardly noticeable. last year in beijing, i slept through. and it didn’t bother really.
in a few weeks will be the chinese new year. that’s the time, when it is awesome to be in china. fireworks rampage. need i write more?! last year, they even managed to burn down a (let’s call it a…) skyscraper in construction next to the CCTV building at the third ring. when you drive on the third ring northbound and pass by the cctv building, look out for the very next building. you’ll see it burnt. but in hope, that you have a much better start than that ;) … happy new year!
and while you’re at it, why not enjoy some yummy and healthy hotpot?!
…chaos breaks loose!
i’ll just tell you how i got to the airport. that should be enough to get the picture.
my flight to berlin was scheduled to depart at 13:30h fron Beijing Capital Airport PEK. i calculated the time i needed to depart to get there in time with time to spare. 13:30 minus 2 hours for check-in, minus one hour for pessimism to get to the airport. that would be 10:30h. so i left the hotel at ten in the morning. 12 hours before that, it started snowing in the night and it didn’t really stop. so in the morning it was that first picture above. not really much snow. but it was enough to keep the streets clean of most cars. it’s unusually empty for that time of day. the night before, i saw only one plow, trying to clear the road of snow, but mostly, it were the few cars, that cleared some of the snow.
so outside of the hotel, i tried to get a taxi. useless. none in sight, which was also unusual. so i decided to take the airport train, which coincidently departs from the building across the bridge, also shown on the picture above. once on the train, off we went at great speed and unlike the metro in broad daylight. you could see all highways EMPTY, parking lots full of taxis full to the last spot and totally snowed in. so that’s where they were, under the snow. and suddenly, the train came to a stop in the middle of the tracks. i boarded the train at the front and was able to see and hear the conductor. he was calling someone on the radio. it was a red signal, which didn’t jump to green yet. fair enough… until he said something in chinese and closed and sealed his conductor panel. then we started rolling backwards. apperently, something was blocking the tracks and it had something to do with the snow. as we sped back, the train came to another unscheduled stop in the middle of the tracks. we waited some minutes, then the conductor opened his panel again and regained control for our direction of the train. so we started rolling again. this time, we made it to Terminal 3. but the doors wouldn’t open. the snow freezed the mechanical parts of the door and rendered them inoperable. they had to beat them open from the outside. half an hour later, i arrived at Terminal 2 and checked in and went to the gate. i then realized that i didn’t have to hurry to the airport. the ground staff itself was having trouble servicing the planes. well we departed with 4 1/2 hours delay. … but everyone managed, even with snow. :)
boarding time, 13:30 and the cargo hasn’t even been loaded yet… reminds me of berlin:
…but it was only one hour delay.
so as soon as we land in berlin and the iphone comes in contact with those frequencies, this post and the other two will automatically be published here. and i will be able to use facebook, youtube and twitter again. but i need a new computer. i gave mine to my sister.
as soon as i have it, i’ll post a timelapse video of the hilarious efforts of the ground staff in beijing to load cargo into our A330. – > …in part two
A consumption addicted blogger… that’s me. But I learned what to consume and not to consume in Beijing over the past year. For example, do NOT consume cheap sushi from 7-eleven. Expired fish will make you grossly sick to the stomach and ruin a few good days of your journey.
However, DO consume the great food, that’s offered everywhere here. Either big restaurants or small restaurants. No need to speak chinese, hands & feet (and pictures in the menus) will help getting the exact food you like. And you won’t regret it, after looking at the bill. Alone, somewhere at 3-5€ or a complete meal for four people… 10-12€.
Do NOT buy electronic goods like LCD Monitors/TVs or computers. They are cheaper where you come from. At least in Germany. Way cheaper. However DO consider “Photographic City”, located in West-Beijing at the forth ring. It’s little shops gathered in a big building, where you can go from store to store, only communicating with model numbers and prices. Write the price they offer you down and go to next shop to compare. They’ll see that and then happens what happened to me: alone from competition between shops, I managed to lower the price of a Canon brand product (nothing small) to 2/3 of the price.
And i bought my iPhone 3G with receipt, warranty and everything in Beijing (Bai Nao Hui – as in “buy now here”), for about 500€, which is a bargain for Germans. Do NOT buy cheap watches, Montblanc rip-offs or anything of the sort. They’re crappy and some of you might get in trouble when returning with counterfeit stuff (think about customs).
And now, when I literally walked into a dodgy tourist Area, I got offered drugs, which totally surprised me and just declined “No, thank you.” And speaking of DON’Ts… They’ll offer you massages as well… and some other services might be included… But to be on the safe side, DON’T.
If you want to take home art or souvenirs, by all means, DO, but DON’T let yourselves be fooled by “art students”, inviting you to see their art gallery and pressure you into buying some art, you really don’t want to buy. These people will wait for you at major tourist spots, like the forbidden city. DO try the sweet potatoes, especially great in winter, as they keep you warm. … and i’m getting the need for some great coffee… and why not for example the Chinese answer to Starbuck’s: SPR Coffee. #coffee… #enjoy.