My trip to China was one of my most anticipated travel. Having known so little about China and the Chinese, I was very curious to see the dragonland and learn more about the place. I was in Beijing for 4 weeks and was amazed to see the city they have built. It looked like any advanced city of the west.
Other than the magnificent infrastructure that Beijing has put up, there are some unique things I loved about Chinese and their capital.
1) This was my first visit to Chinaland. Beijing is a metropolitan and is up and ahead in fashion. It is one place where I never caught a sun rise while I was there. I made an attempt to keep the alarm as early as 5:30 am, anticipating to view the sunrise, but to my surprise, the dawn had broken already!
2) There are some unique attributes to Beijing. There are electric buses that run in the middle of the city. The buildings have creative architecture, other than the bird’s nest Olympic megastructure.
3) The Beijing metro is the most used to commute and needless to say is the most crowded. But there is something fascinating about it – There is pin drop silence inside the metro. Interestingly, most people dont listen to music, read, nor chit chat while commuting! And No, ipods or music players are not widely seen unlike in Singapore and in the west.
4) Everybody knows Bollywood. Atleast, everyone’s heard about it. A chinese colleague and I were talking about bollywood and I was taken aback when he started singing ‘awara hoon’ – an old rajkapoor’s song of the 1950s!
5) Almost every commercial and residential building is atleast 10 stories high and outside each office, in the corridors you can see people doing yogasanas during office hours! I am told the HR spread the awareness of yoga and it has become a fashion lately. Yoga instructors are in high demand in China 🙂
6) The part I enjoyed the most were my long walks, gazing the colorful streets of Beijing. I would try hard to recognize a pattern – to make sense of atleast one Chinese character by observing billboards, but all I could finally figure were the entry and the exit signs :). The roads looked terrific, wide, flawless and smooth. People biking on the pathways, lawns next to the road, people smartly dressed, the huzzling and buzzling city life were all mere accompaniments.
7) Chinese are very warm and humble people. I made some very good friends during the 4 weeks of my stay there. They were all given English names so that its easier to address them, but when you make an attempt to call them with their Chinese names and they really appreciate it. English is rarely spoken and its most important to emphasize on the keywords in a sentence.
8) Since I am a pure vegetarian, I found it tough to navigate my way through until I learnt the golden phrase ‘ ho chi su’ which means ‘I am vegetarian’ in Chinese. Roasted ducks and Shellfish were amoung the top favorites.
Beijing is in a different league from the rest of China. I hope to see more of China sometime and learn more about rural Chinese. All in all, an awesome experience and a place that must not be missed by any traveler.