Yes still ongoing…I have to finish this!!
Day 3 was the exhibition day (the actual reason why I’m in Beijing) but I only spent about 4 hours there!!
Amah meeting up with supplier
It was not a big one compared to the European shows so I finished surveying the booths very fast. Besides, most of the Chinese local manufacturers are not able to converse in English and did not provide English brochures! Managed to talk to them in my broken Mandarin (see the reason why I’m so adamant about Kieran continuing his studies in the Chinese School??) and managed to get some information. However, I foresee difficulties in importing from them due to the language barrier. Nevertheless, I managed to accomplish the most important thing which was to talk to one of my European supplier & managed to iron certain things out.
When we came out of the exhibition grounds, we saw Carrefour! Quickly went over to check it out. It was just like the ones back home, and we actually bought some groceries! I really cannot escape buying groceries from all over the world! Bought the really huge red dates, which I’m not sure if I can use them to boil soup or it’s just for eating as a snack! Duhhh,,,it’s still in my kitchen cabinet…..hope I will think of something before it’s expired!!! I even bought special flour for making dumplings…probably use it during CNY…I HOPE! (ya rite,,,it’s still sitting in the cupboard yet to be opened)
After Carrefour we went back to the hotel to drop the stuff of course! Then went back to Qianmen to look around & then to Silk Market in the evening. Shopping in Beijing is a world of difference from Shanghai/Shenzhen. The shopkeepers were rude & doesn’t bend much with bargaining. They open skyrocket prices for stuff that is substandard! Puhleeezeee…But of course Amah is very good with bargaining till some of them give in. Managed to buy what I wanted but I couldn’t win over the shopkeeper who was selling Hello Kitty stuff and also the good quality cartoon two-piece pyjamas. The Hello Kitty prices were not too much lesser than the original goods’ pricing and the pyjamas I couldn’t bring down the price to RMB100 for 3 sets. The lowest was RMB45 per set which I thought was a very good price but Amah cannot lose face so I refused to buy the pyjamas! (regretting now…)
Had dinner at a lauya a(sub standard) restaurant nearby as we were already tired (from the bargaining of course!) and hungry. Food in Beijing is not as appealing as in Shanghai & Shenzhen and of course very expensive (I’m comparing with Shanghai & Shenzhen as I’ve not been to any other part of China..)
We went to Jinshan (a park with a hill) located opposite the back entrance to the Forbidden City. Entrance fee was RMB2 which was very cheap! The park is quite big with a few entrances/exits. There were many senior citizens relaxing & having their activities eg social dancing, line dancing, ribbon dancing etc etc It was a great place for photography. However, when we reached the peak, we were not able to capture any good photographs of the Forbidden City as it was really misty. We decided to come again another day since the entrance fee is so cheap & not too far away.
After Jinshan we flagged down a motor trishaw to bring us to Hutong (not too far away but to walk I reckon it was too far). Upon reaching, the trishaw tour guides were all ready to pounce on us! Offered price was RMB180 for two of us which we thought was reasonable and didnt bargain ( should have for the fun of it!) We stopped at a traditional Hutong house which we paid RMB20 per person to go in. I reckon it was a rip off as it was nothing special!
Otherwise, we found the ride on the trishaw relaxing and the scenery along the lake was beautiful. We saw some retired men swimming in the lake! It was not terribly cold that time but I reckon it was still too cold to be swimming there! After the swim they were standing around chatting in just their swimming trunks! So gaya! (macho).
The trishaw puller drove us part Deng Xiao Peng’s daughter’s house & also the former residence of Sung xx (wife of Dr Sun Yat Sen). We didnt pay to go in and just took photos in the entrance.
After Hutong, the trishaw puller recommended us to visit the Palace of Prince Gong which was the former residence to the guy who used to be Emperor’s favourite minister. Forgot his name tim..anyway he was very corrupted and abused his power & position for his own gain of course! The new emperor managed to find out about him & managed to confiscate the treasures & money from him & I think he was killed. Then the Prince Gong (Emperor’s cousin) took over this residence. It was a very huge palace fit for a King! It even has a private theatre which they kept it till today for us to watch a short live show of acrobats with tea & snacks served. That place was so rich with history and I truly enjoyed the visit. Can’t elaborate more as I have to finish this journal ASAP!
That’s the special “Fook” (prosperity) which was written by Emperor Xian Long and was given as a gift to that bad guy! It is said to have various meanings of blessings which can be derived from the special way the Emperor wrote that particular word!
After this, we decided to take a stroll and find our way back to the subway station but I think we were walking in the wrong direction. However, it was interesting nevertheless walking through the suburban streets and witnessed the livelihood of the residents. My camera battery went flat not long after I exited the Prince Gong Mansion! Was so frustrated and vowed to myself to get the spare battery when I get home!
We were super tired that day and I decided to stay put in the hotel to rest. So Apah had to go out to buy dinner. I decided to make myself a cup noodle while waiting as I was toooo hungry! The cup or rather “bowl” noodle was huge unlike the cup noodles we have back home. Thank goodness I ate the noodle as the dinner Apah bought was not too appealing.