The first two days of work was grueling. There were so many agenda items to cover and there are a lot of missing information that it was a lot of to and fro on issues. It is to be expected since the teams met for the first time. Both parties have their own interests and goals and so we just need to take one issue at a time and work through every one of them.
Cultural differences is in the way a little bit but not too much. It is the language fluency that is something most of us struggled with. I felt the Chinese had difficulties in expressing themselves in English but they sure are experts in their field. I am actually impressed with their technical knowledge of the subject matter.
My mornings started with breakfast at the 24th Floor Club. I’ll tell you more about the 24th Floor later. There is a very nice view from the Club and I almost always sat at the same spot that faces the CCTV Tower. Look at the traffic jams below. There is a jam every peak hour.
We took a taxi ride to the office which is quite a bit of distance from where I am staying. On a good day, the journey takes 25 minutes but mostly it is 40-45 minutes because of the traffic.
We always drive past the CCTV building everyday. See that building next to the CCTV building? Well, that whole building burnt down and they are in the process of rebuilding it.
It is both sad and hilarious. You see … the building burnt down when they installed fireworks on the outside of the building for some celebration (was it the Olympics?). Something went wrong and it resulted in a fire that burned the whole building down. It must be the most expensive fireworks display in all of history.
I wonder what the Project Manager in charge of the fireworks has to say when the accident happened. LOL!
On Monday, I went to the Xiabu-Xiabu place in the Viva Shopping Complex just around the corner from my hotel. This was a delightful hot pot restaurant.
Too bad they did not allow me to take pictures inside.
The hot pot here are individual hotpots. You sit on a high chair along the counter. As normal, you order the ingredients, soup base and side dishes you want and they will bring it to you. Alternatively you can get their set items which they pre-pick the items if you don’t want to think too much. I ordered the pre-picked set and got the most expensive one. It is still just less then $10 Canadian.
There were too much food and I simply could not finish them all. I think you will like the dipping sauce. It is sesame and they gave that to you in a packet. You can get as many as you want because they gave me another packet when they saw my dipping sauce was running low. I mix that dipping sauce with lots of cilantro and raw minced garlic. Super.
The broth I got was the ma-la one (numbing and spicy). Apparently not many people drink the broth because they don’t give us spoons. I bet you will ask them for one knowing how much you like soup.
It was kind of weird sitting next to strangers. The girl who sat next to me obviously can see that I am a newbie at this and show me a few things. Like controlling the heat and all. I would love to chat a lot more with her but she doesn’t speak English and my Mandarin is frustratingly hard to understand. It is like a duck talking to a chicken. That sort of thing.
On the way back to the hotel, I was accosted twice by people. I guess I was in my office wear and I stood out. There was a person who tried to talk to me but I told him “I don’t understand Chinese” in English and he left me alone. Then a young couple stopped me. I told them the same thing but they spoke English! They told me they were from out of province looking for a job and is hungry. They asked me for bread at least. I told them I was sorry I can’t help. They were quite persistent but I kept walking.
So the next time I go out for lunch, I dressed like the masses.
I can’t remember now who recommended this place called Kung Fu. I saw a Kung Fu restaurant near the hotel and so I decided to take a 10 minute walk to it for dinner on Tuesday.
It is easy to locate it. All you have to look for is the picture of Bruce Lee. The colors are a mix of McDonalds and KFC. :-)
There are Bruce Lee’s logo everywhere. Hey, I wonder if someone is holding the rights to Bruce Lee’s image or brand. You know, like if the person is dead whether someone could register the brand.
Anyway, the whole modus operandi of KungFu is like McDonalds. There is a counter you order off from the board, with “value meals” or individual items. There are like chicken and rice, pork and rice, etc. There are also soup and other side orders.
In Beijing, I find that I could get by a lot better speaking in English than in Mandarin. When I used Mandarin, I end up speaking baby Mandarin and can understand only partly of what they say. Now, if I use English, I get a certain higher level of respect and service. I think they know I am a foreigner if I speak English.
Believe it or not. The above is just $4.00 Canadian. It is a complete meal — rice, meat, veggie and soup. Even though this is a fast food restaurant, they don’t speak English. A customer helped in translating what I wanted.
Going by the pictures of the board, I just got the #1 item — which I figured is their Big Mac equivalent and the most popular item. It is pork ribs with jhup. It looks like a lot of meat doesn’t it. Although it is still a lot of meat and jhup, the bowl it is served in has a bulge in the middle. So, don’t think it is what it looked like.
The order came with the side order above. This was nothing spectacular.
I love the rice. They are steamed individually in their own container … loose grain and not sticky, just like the way we make it at home.
Hi all, Suanne steams rice at home. If she is hard pressed for time she will microwave the rice. We don’t use the rice cooker anymore. Steaming rice makes perfect rice and once cooked, it stands on its ends. Have you ever tried steaming rice?
Actually I was not too hungry as I had quite heavy lunch at work already. Our business partner brought us out for Chinese lunch everyday. Once they brought us to a really nice Sichuan restaurant in a private room complete with TVs and sofas. Too bad they did not order the really spicy stuff because our American team would find it too hot. Still the food was good. The other time, our business partner brought us to the restaurant in the building. I am impressed with their cafeteria. There is a section for the “hjap fun” type and there is a full service section where you order dishes. The food was pretty good too. So far I have not come across anything I did not like at all.
Anyway, back to my jhup and rice above. Although I was not hungry, I like this so much that I finished this off. I know you will like this too. Yeah, next time when you are here, I will bring you to a Kung Fu restaurant for sure.
When I told my team members that I spent $4.00 for this meal they were telling me “Oh, so you are saving the company money huh?” They can’t understand me and I don’t want to explain. I know it is crazy to stay in a $300 a night hotel and then spend $4 for dinner. But … but … but … I am in Beijing. I don’t want to eat in fancy western restaurants with wine and such. I want to eat like a Beijinger.
Am I stupid or what? :-)
Oh I also had a bowl of soup. Not knowing what is what, I just asked for Chicken Soup.
Nice. They even use silken chicken for the soup. Isn’t it such a great deal? Just $4. Amazing!
Categorized Under: Beijing