This blog is about my life. How I live it with the people I love. Adventures and misadventures in my life is journalled here.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Beijing China kwento - part 1

I was fortunate enough to be included to those who will attend our firm’s global symposium in Beijing, China. There were ten of us, three partners and four senior managers/managers. Three of us left for Beijing on Wednesday, May 28, early morning as we’ve decided to take the China Southern airline. We were actually given a choice of airline, either China Southern, with travel time of six hours (including the stop over in Xiamen) or thru Cathay via Hongkong but the travel time is nine hours (including transfer of plane in HK) and will be arriving late night of Wednesday which I didn’t like so we chose the first one. China Southern is a small plane, same as the plane used by Cebu Pacific on their international flights, language is Chinese and most of the passengers are Chinese, I agree that Cathay would have been a better option but we opted for this because the time that we’ll get to ride Cathay is two hours lang to HK then the three hours is via a domestic plane din so ok lang.

We have a stop over in Xiamen for 40 mins to complete the entry requirements, we had the immigration and customs check here then went back to our plane. We landed Beijing at past 3pm. Our first impression – yuck! Smog!! As in we’re so shocked to see the very poor visibility due to dirty air (but we later on was told that it’s like that because of all the construction and that since it’s windy, the sands on the nearby dessert is being carried to the city – but according to Wikipedia, madumi talaga air in Bejing – must be the reason why I developed throat infection), funny pa kasi one of the kids of the partners commented that kawawa naman daw ang kids sa Beijing because they don’t know that the sky is blue. Hehehehe…..

Since we already completed the immigration and customs check in Xiamen, we went straight to the luggage carousel and waited for our luggage then went for currency change. Hay naku, inikot-ikot pa namin lahat ng money changer sa airport to get the best deal only to find out that they charge RMB60 so lugi pa rin. Then our next problem was how to go to the hotel given that nobody among us three can speak Mandarin. So we went to the taxi queue hoping that the driver will understand the printed name of the hotel pero unfortunately hindi so we’ve just decided to call the hotel and let them talk to the driver. I was surprised that Beijing is so clean, modern and has lots and lots of building, may expectation kasi is tipong Chinatown but eto, hindi, parang HK but bigger and marami pa ring nagba-bike. Funny as tipong mga naka-high heels and suit pero nagba-bike, it was also my first time to see a hybrid bicycle/motorcycle, I want sana to take pictures but baka ma-offend sila. According to most of our colleagues, there have been really huge improvements in Beijing in preparation for the Olympics. To those who’ve been there two years ago, na-surprise din sila with the development. We spent RMB70+ to get to our hotel. We’re booked at Park Plaza in Wangfujing, buti na lang ganda location ng hotel namin, it’s in the middle of the happenings. Rested for a while then prepared for the cocktails and registration for the symposium on Regent Hotel, venue of the symposium, which is just beside our hotel and even has connecting doors as same owner sila. Chika chika with the partners from Germany, US, HK, etc. then went back to hotel to change to casual for pasyal. Good thing most of the hotel staff can speak English, we asked them how to go to the Food street which is famous for the weird grilled and fried foods such as scorpion, snake, sea urchin, centipede, sea horse, bugs, etc. It was two blocks away from our place and shock kami na talagang totoo pala yun, we’re hungry pero upon seeing these “exotic” food and the smell! Yucky!! Nawalan talaga kami ng gana. But since we’re so hungry as cocktails lang talaga yun sa registration ng symposium we opted to try the safe food just so we have some food in our stomach. After that pasyal-pasyal on the malls of Wangfujing. We’re surprised that it’s cold as when I checked the internet before I left, we’re not expecting it to be that cold, para kaming nasa SanFo sa lamig then add pa the wind and to think I only brought a shawl with me.

At the Street Food Market with some of the weird food:

Me with an officemate while walking along the main road. At the back you'll see the bicycle sign post, they have a dedicated lane for bicycles. Really good huh! wish we have here one for the motorcycles:

To be continued...

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