Wohoo! No more work … my mission’s done. I can put work behind me and start my discovery of Beijing proper.
I moved into this new hotel last night. It is a little closer to the central city locations. There are quite a few eating places around here and so that is a plus. I know that after a full day of sightseeing and with my body all sticky and all, the last thing I want to do is to go too far to look for food.
The hotel is a bit old. Certainly not nearly as luxurious as the one I stayed in the past week. Yeah, it is not as comfortable too. The pillows is not as firm and you know how fussy I am with my pillows. The air conditioning is not as powerful as I wanted it to be. What upsets me a bit here is that the towels smells of cigarette smoke. Oh well, this is definitely more affordable and I really did not have time to really look for a better hotel, especially when I only had less than 2 days to make my way to Beijing and the past week was work, work, work.
They have a few restaurants in the hotel — a Japanese, a Cantonese, a buffet and also a Pizza Hut. Pizza Huts here are so upscale and fancy. Not like the rundown huts that we have on Wesminster Hwy in Richmond. LOL! I have no desire to check out the Pizza Hut here because the pictures of their food does not look like great pizza. It is more like Chinese flat bread if you ask me.
The location of the hotel is … in the Central Business District. There are lots of new gleaming high rise corporate offices along the busy main road. Can you see how wide the streets are? Most of the time I use the underpass to cross the road.
I found out that the Silk Market is just 5 minutes walk from my hotel. It is just across the street from the nearest Subway station. It was not hard to miss.
This place is like a Bazaar with lots and lots of stalls. I went there the night before after I checked into the hotel. Did not buy anything because it is a place where you need to bargain. And you know I am too thin skinned to bargain. It was really crowded in there. I did not spend much time there.
It was Saturday morning. I started out early and I have a full day planned. Their sunrise starts early. By 5 AM, it is bright already. So I woke up at 6AM. I was just excited to start my vacation proper.
I wanted to get to the Mao’s Mausoleum when they open at 8 AM. I was already out of the hotel by 7AM. The people in Beijing were up bright and early. At that hour, there were a lot of people already. I was just thinking why are so many people out an about at this time on a weekend day.
I spotted a roadside stall with a sign that says “Beijing Breakfast”. Ah … this is exactly the type of breakfast I was looking for. I wanted to eat breakfasts that Beijinger eat.
It smelled nice. It did look very greasy on the pan where they fry the pork, egg and pancake. I did not know what it was called. So I told the lady, “yit yang nar ge” pointing to the man who had just bought one.
“Yau la mah?” (Do you want it spicy?), the lady asked me. “Yau Yau” was my answer. Oh man, I was salivating waiting for them to make mine.
They wrapped this up in two thin layers of plastic bag. Since it was fresh off the pan, it was really hot to handle.
Guess how much this cost? Just 4 RMB, which is like 60 cents. There is quite a lot of pork meat in there too.
I just stood on the street and ate there. No chairs around at all. I think people were thinking I was odd standing there eating and fumbling taking pictures of the food. The lady did notice me and was smiling at me. She must be wondering what I was doing. Obviously I am a tourist given what little Mandarin I spoke and that I took pictures of her stall. I gave her a quick smile in return.
I don’t see anyone taking pictures of their food here. I was wondering how widespread is food blogging in Beijing.
Oh, the food. It was absolutely marvelous. It was messy eating this with juices dripping everywhere. I love every aspect of this. Hot and nice.
I took a train to Tiananmen Square. It is just a few stops away from the hotel along the #1 Red line.
There are two stops on Tiananmen Square. One on the west and another on the east. Judging by the quietness of the station, I thought it would be a great day with lesser people today.
I was so wrong!
By 8 AM, the line is already so long! What you can see above is barely half the line. It snakes down to the back of the mausoleum and then back up front again.
And while I was standing patiently in line, they had to come by and told me I cannot enter because of my bag! I have to be empty handed to go in — no bags, no camera and to carry along an ID. OMG, the Tiananmen Square is huge and they pointed to a place outside of the square where there is a bag deposit area.
Sigh … I was determined to visit the Mao Mausoleum. So I went across the street to store my bags. I carried along the iPhone. Technically that should be OK since it is a phone. I was worried they won’t allow even that. The bag storage is expensive, 12 RMB. I was thinking they are making a killing operating this bag storage area. This might not even be a government operated area too.
Here take a closer look at the line. In my estimation, the line must have been at least 3/4 of a kilometer. The old ladies were constantly cutting in front of me. I was clearly no match for them. So I let them. One thing that China needs is to learn to queue up in a fair way.
What you see in the video above is just part of the line. At least the line moves all the time, although slowly.
The above is the picture on the way out of the Mao Mausoleum.
Security is tight. They make you empty your pocket and made you walk through a scanner. They asked for an ID (showed my passport). On the way in, they sell flowers (50 cents) which quite a number of people buys them to place at the the big imposing statue of the seated Mao.
Everyone was quiet in the Mausoleum. I finally saw Mao. His face was strangely orange in color. He was guarded by two serious looking military officers.
20 seconds and it’s all over.
Lots of people at the back of the mausoleum. I headed next to the Forbidden City … the one place I wanted to visit in Beijing. For that I have the rest of the day … more in the next post!