beijing connection - the lowdown

it's been more than a month now since my trip to beijing. now, i'm ready to talk.

in my original post last april, i didn't sound like i enjoyed the trip. well, i did naman, but not as much as the whole group did in shanghai. shanghai was a blast! though it was below 12 degrees celsius when we got there and we were freezing our butts off the whole time, all we did was shop, shop, shop! shanghai is absolutely shopping heaven - next to bangkok! ooooh, bangkok! would looooove to go back there. we stayed in amarri watergate hotel and the tiangge was just beside it! and the food! oh, the food...

er, back to beijing.

it wasn't that cold when we went there (think 18-20 degrees celsius), but it sure was a tad windy. the month of march is supposed to usher in spring, but i guess spring in beijing means dust-blowing, smog-enveloping season. majority in the group eventually ended up with (skin) allergy. fortunately, i was in the minority.

after arriving at the Peking airport, we had our super-late lunch at a...taraaa! chinese restaurant. then, we went straight to business. first up was a tour of the Forbidden City and the Tiananmen Square.

it was in Forbidden City that we had our first taste (no pun intended) and smell of the great beijing toilet. for us girls, it was a test of our "shooting", squatting and breath-holding skills. YES, THEY OBVIOUSLY STILL SQUAT OUT THERE. AND YES, THEIR TOILETS STUNK - BIG TIME.

it was nighttime when we arrived at marco polo. after checking in (and making sure the toilet was of "international" standard), we decided to survey the neighborhood (read: check out possible shopping locations). it turned to be not so promising. good thing there was haagen dazs.

we were off to the Great Wall of Badaling in the morning. i wanted so, so much to reach the top. my spirit was willing but my knees were yelling "hell, no!" so i channelled my remaining energy to posing for the camera.

after another late lunch at a....taraaa! chinese restaurant, we proceeded to beijing's main shopping district, equivalent to hongkong's nathan road, but nothing like hongkong's nathan road.

after dinner at a...taraaa! chinese restaurant, we rushed to the Red Theater to watch the History of Kung-Fu play. we arrived Filipino time.

morning of day 3 was for the Panda Zoo and the Summer Palace. the panda is being cooed at by that group of people on the left. come on, you all know how a panda looks like!

by afternoon and after lunch at a...taraaa! chinese restaurant, our tour guide, Peter, finally gave us what we wanted - well, sort of. we finally went to two different tiangge locations, flaunted our tawaran talent while continuing to hone our "shooting" and squatting skills at the toilets. but with, ehem, shenzhen and shanghai shopping markets already on our belts, we found the beijing markets paling in comparison.

we capped our last night off with our final meal at know what.

looking back, it wasn't horrible a vacation, even with the traumatic toilet experience. a vacation is still a vacation, yes? but i hope against hope that wherever our next trip will be, it won't be another chinese food territory. hmmmm, korean or vietnamese sound (and taste) waaaaaaay better.

posted by vina @ 5:49 PM           


At 8:53 PM, May 10, 2006, Blogger Owen FV said...

why do girls love to shop when travelling? di ba kayo nabibigatan? if you should ahve not mentioned that you didnt enjoy beijing, no one would even know because the pics suggest otherwise.

beijing remains to be a place-to-visit for me.

At 10:42 AM, May 11, 2006, Blogger vina said...

hehe, ikaw naman owen, as if di mo pa alam na girls are to shopping as fish is to water! bahala na if we break our arms holding heavy bags.

i enjoyed it naman, pero, i guess, it fell short of our expectations at saka medyo nakakapagod din ang tour. but, of course, beijing is rich, culture and history-wise.

pero, basta, pahinga muna kami sa mga intsik, hehe. give us singapore anytime!

At 10:14 AM, May 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

katawa how you related this:P i think the squat toilets (latrines?) are discriminatory to girls. at least the guys can just face the great wall and pee away. still, i'd like to go to beijing for its touch of history. i can see that an OC like you would be appalled. i heard na dura daw ng dura ang mga chinese dun?? LOL.- ajay

At 4:21 PM, May 12, 2006, Anonymous the bee said...

Hi Vina. I stumbled into your blog while searching for ilonggos on the web. You sound like you're having so much fun! I'm from Bacolod also, so I've seen you around, feels like a lifetime ago. Sige, lang, padayon.

At 8:40 PM, May 12, 2006, Blogger Sidney said...

So, no Chinese language classes for you... ? ;-)

At 2:37 PM, May 15, 2006, Blogger vina said...

hi aj. aaaah, so the squat toilet has a name.

latrines, the toilets' awful smell, and the chinese people's over-all character and culture(including their hygiene or lack thereof,hehe), only reinforces beijing as being an 'old city' despite its industrial and technological advances. these, i believe, are what make beijing an experience - something i know YOU will never miss out on.

hi, the bee. we should all have fun lang gid. life's too short to let it pass us by. carpe diem!

proud to be from bacolod and to have a fellow ilonggo here.

tito sidney, i think the chinese translations for "thank you", "soy sauce" and "chili sauce" are enough for me...


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