Category: Beijing

Jan 14 2010

Beijing to Tianjin, China

Met up with ShuLan for lunch today. It’s kind of weird that we met up in Beijing because I didn’t even know he was visiting Beijing until I sent him a random email. Like many Chinese that furthered their studies in the US, Shulan hasn’t been back to China for 12 years and this time he is bringing his 3 year old daughter to see their family.

Lunch on Shulan since he is getting his fat bonus soon. As an expert in US mortgage market, he mentioned that ABS market last year was even better than 2007, seems like the US economy is improving.

ShuLan’s daughter. She wasn’t even born while we were in graduate school, how time flies.

Somehow I lost my Bank of China ATM card which I just opened few days before. It’s quite bureaucratic in China where I had to go back to the same branch to close my account. I had to look for the same branch because I was planning to leave Beijing the same day. Since I lost my ATM card, I wasn’t able to withdraw any money so I had to open another account in order to transfer all my money to the new account and withdraw from the new account. My old account was still left hanging because it will take 7 days to report my lost ATM card and after 7 days I will need to go back in person to the same branch to close it.

Sometimes, things in China look nice from the outside by inside, it’s not what it really is.

Went to the Beijing south train station and took the 6.25pm bullet train to Tianjin (58 Yuan~USD$8.50). The south train station looks pretty new.

The design of Beijing South Station

The bullet train will only take 30 minutes to Tianjin traveling on a speed of 300km/h.

Beijing is huge, even after 5 days I still wasn’t able to cover many parts of the city.

Got to Tianjin station at 6.55pm. Tried to find a youth hostel and took bus 5 from Tianjin tran station to the north part of the city. Missed the stop and decided to stay somewhere else since the place is quite far off from the city. Most small hotels around the train station don’t accept foreigners as well.

Took bus 50 to BinJiang Dao and met up with Liu Feng and Li Jian for dinner. Li Jian treated me for SiChuan food.

Went back to the train station and got a ticket to Harbin for the next day (140 Yuan~USD$20 for hard seat). It’s hard to get ticket currently because most Universities are having vacation.

Walked around and decided to stay at a XiYuZhongXin, bath house. (38 Yuan~USD$6). The place was pretty nice and clean, inside looked just like a 3 stars hotel. There’s a hot pool, sauna and they even gave out towels and pajamas as well. I slept pretty well in the big room.

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Jan 13 2010

Beijing 5th day, China

Visited TianTan, Temple of Heaven. This is the place where the Emperor made sacrifices to the God during the Ming and Qing dynasty. Some people draw comparison between Shang Di who worshipped by the Emperor and the Christian God saying that the earliest Chinese form of worship was of a monotheistic God recognizable by His attributes as the same God Yahweh of the Old Testament worshipped by Jews and Christians.

Faith in the Creator God in Ancient China

The Book Faith of Our Fathers will provide more information regarding this subject

Map of the site

Kicking a feather ball

Gambling, one of Chinese favorite pastime

Visited Beijing Film Academy. Many famous directors (Zhang YiMou) and actresses (Gong Li, Zhao Wei) were alumni of this school.

Lunch at the university canteen

Back to ZhongGuanCun.
Sohu Headquarter, one of my favorite stock

Visited TsingHua University again

TsingHua Business school

Took a bus to YiHeYuan (Summer palace)

Had dinner at a Korean restaurant with Jack and his classmates from Tsing Hua mba program. There is a big Korean population around here as well. Was asking around why they decided to study there and learned that by enrolling in Tsing Hua mba program, they are looking to get some political connection because many of China’s leaders studied in Tsing Hua university as well.

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Jan 12 2010

Beijing 4th day, China

YaBao Lu has a big Russian community
Sort of a Russian market

but I only see Chinese shop owners

Headquarter of CNOOC

Sinopec Building

Advertisement for making fake IDs and fake certificates

Took line 1 on the subway to the last station at the west side, PingGuoYuan to see Beijing suburbs.

Went to a headhunter networking fair at Hilton hotel with Jack (50 Yuan~USD$7.5).

Trying to get some information regarding the job market in China.

ZhaJiangMian for dinner (7 Yuan~USD$1). It’s a Beijing famous

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Jan 11 2010

Beijing 3rd day, China

Went to ZhongGuanCun in the morning to fix my netbook. ZhongGuanCun is like the silicon valley of China. There are many shops selling electronics and many tech companies’ headquarters are based here. 2 of the top Universities in China, Tsing Hua University and Beijing University are around this area as well.
My netbook seems like it was locked down since I was in Krygyzstan. I think my netbook has a virus. Since the OS is in Polish, no one really know how to fix it and I just want to reinstall Windows XP.

An English version of Windows XP home edition cost around USD$230 but those guys helped me to reinstall everything for 100 Yuan~USD$14.
Computer repair shop

Transformer

New subway line to the Olympic Park

Visited the Olympic Park.

Olympic Stadium, the Bird Nest

Olympic Park

Water Cube

Also a place for newly weds to take pictures

A sculpture of an old Chinese lady playing pool

Real Estate prices are very expensive in China, especially in big cities such as Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen. It’s a big burden for ordinary Chinese to buy a house and housing price are pushed up by speculation. Seems like a next bubble to me.

A good article regarding Chinese Housing bubble from Bloomberg, China Property Bubble May Lead to U.S.-Style Real Estate Slump

Article in Washington Post, In China, fear of a real estate bubble

Salary for university graduate is around 2000-3000 Yuan (USD$300-500) but a small one bedroom apartment, 600 square feet around the 4th outer ring road cost 1.5 million Yuan ~USD$220,000.
For around USD$200,000, you can buy a house in many city suburbs in the US.
(1500,000 Yuan / 3000 Yuan = 500). So using 100% of his or her salary, an average workers have to for 500 months or more than 40 years to pay off the loan not including interest. Plus housing in China is not free hold and the land is only leased for 70 years. Since the communist party has only in power for 60 years, no one knows what will happen yet once the lease is due. But investors and speculators are still piling in like the property will be theirs forever.

Met up Brandon and his wife for dinner. Brandon treated me to a local Beijing style restaurant.

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Jan 10 2010

Beijing 2nd day, China

My 16 beds hostel room

YongHeGong

Went back to Tiananmen square. Tiananmen square is the largest square in the world.
I took an exact same picture here 6 years ago. How time flies..

Tiananmen Square

Monument to the People’s Hero

Visited the National library
Older part of the library

New library building

Visited RenMin University

Ate donkey noodles for dinner

and walked to Beijing University area.

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Jan 09 2010

Beijing, China

Beijing Subway Map

Met up with Ruo Nan, an old friend from university for lunch at DaWangQiao, around GuoMao area. Ruo Nan treated me to a very nice Chinese restaurant.

View from my friend’s apartment

Housing is very expensive in Beijing. A square meter (1 m² = 10.7639 ft²) around DaWangQiao will cost 20,000-30,000 Yuan (USD$3,000-4000).

Beijing is huge and is the second largest city in China. The city has a population of 17-18 millions people. Walking across just one subway stop will take 15-20 minutes, that’s why there are so many bicycles because that’s a best mode of transportation around the city.

Beijing wasn’t a capital nor a prosperous city until 1264, where Kublai Khan rebuilt the city, named the city Dadu and made the city his capital. When the Ming dynasty finally conquered China, the emperor destroyed Dadu and the third Ming Emperor YongLe renamed the city as Beijing. From 1421 onwards, Beijing became the main capital and Nanjing became the secondary capital of China. During the rule of Ming dynasty, buildings such as the Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven were built.

In 1928, following the success of Kuomintang, Nanjing was again made the capital of China until MaoZeDong renamed Bejing as the capital of Bejing on Oct 1st, 1949 when communist took over China.

Views walking from GuoMao area to Tiananmen square.

WanFuJing street, a famous shopping street

Beijing Opera

When buying stuffs in China, always have to be careful. Ate in a food court and I ordered this

and get this instead

Night view of Tiananmen

National Center for the Performing Arts

Moved to a room with 16 beds, (30 Yuan~USD$4.5)
Lama Hostel

Met up with Brandon, my old roommate from college in SanLiTun for a drink. Brandon moved to China to practise law after college and he brought me to a few bars full of expatriates.

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Jan 08 2010

Ulan Bator, Mongolia to Beijing, China

Mongolia is an ex Soviet country, still has some Russian influences.
Lenin statue

Took bus 7 to Zoisan Hill in the morning.

A big Budhha statue.

There are 681 steps to get up the hill.

View from the hill

Seems like Korea and Mongolia has a very close relationship.
A friendship park sponsored by the Korean government.

Had lunch at a University’s cafeteria just opposite the Zoisan Hill bus station. I like eating at University’s cafeteria because usually there are a good varieties of local food and is cheaper.
1500 Tugrug~USD1

Mongolian University

Took bus 11 at around 2pm to the airport.

The airport is around 18km away from the airport and got on the Mongolian Airways OM 0223 flight at 5.25pm to Beijing. After 34th countries, this will be my 6th flights in this trip.

Portrait of some Mongol leaders in the airport

Greetings in Cyrillic

This is what it means

Goodbye Ulan Bator

A bird eye view of the mountains

Arrived at Beijing airport at 7.25pm. Beijing airport is pretty big and new.

To get to the city there are 2 options, one is by the airport shuttle (16 Yuan) and the other one is by the airport express train (25 Yuan~USD$4). Took the later option and got to the city in 30 minutes.

Airport express train

Got to DongZhiMen and then transfer to BeiXinQiao subway stop to the LamaHostel (40 Yuan~USD6) which is just behind Gui Lu. Gui Lu is a street with many restaurants and is located at the north eastern part of Beijing, inside the 3rd ring road.
Gui Lu


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There’s even a Hooters in Beijing

Walked to SanLiTun from the Hostel. It’s around 40 minutes walk east and SanLiTun is an area famous for bars and pubs.

There are many new shopping malls in that area which wasn’t there 6 years ago when I visited.

The main street for pub isn’t that popular now. Most expatriates and young Chinese hang out at a small street behind. It’s a little similar to lower east side in New York city with some dive bars and smaller clubs.

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