Impressions of China

Impressions of China :

China, Beijing, Tiananmen Square, guard in front of chairmen Mao portrait

Just by chance : 

Even some 8 days before my trip to Beijing I had no idea that I will be traveling to China the coming week.
It was out of a blue that I got an email from my Manager asking if I was interested to go Beijing to attend a meeting on behalf of her as she had some other commitments, I was very excited and also the dates did not overlap with the Mexico trip I had planned so shot back an email saying I was in within 5 mins, of course my visa etc had to be processed. it so happened that my assignment was until Nov 21 st and had to fly back on 22 nd from Beijing and land on the same day morning in SFO at around 9 Am thanks to the earth being the way it is, and I had enough time to board my flight to Mexico at around noon.
Given this context where I had no clue that I will be visiting China any thing I see and did was exciting not to say that I was traveling on a business class ticket and staying in a 7 start hotel all on companies expenses. 
As it turned out my work schedule was not too busy and I had a chance to visit some important places in and around Beijing and eat at some authentic Chinese restaurants thanks to my Chinese colleagues, and during this short stint the following things I have observed about Beijing : 

Traffic : 
The traffic in Beijing is a pain, any distance which needs about 30 mins will easily take more than an hour, it's worse than Bay Area and seems worst than traffic in Delhi according to a colleague. Although the roads/ freeways structuring is similar to the states, Driving guidelines are not followed by public very similar to India but not as worse. 

Fog of Pollution :
Although Beijing or any other Chinese city is not ranked among the top 20 most polluted cities ( it is Delhi and few more indian cities indeed) you can see a thick fog of pollution all over the city forcing the people to hide behind creepy looking face masks, so don't be alarmed if you see scores of people walking down the roads wearing these masks. 


Navigating Beijing : 

May be because Beijing is a international destination, all directions and street names are also written in English and best way to navigate Beijing is its subway. It's also very cheap, for 2 yuan you can travel any destination. 

Caution with taxis : 

If you are planning to take a taxi, it's better to order it through the hotel as most of the taxi drivers have no clue of English. 
And if your on a street by yourself and trying to flag off a taxi always make sure you don't get in to a black taxis as they may rip you off and also not as safe as the other Authorizes ones which are in yellow color. 

Spicy Food ! : 

I had always assumed that Indian cuisine is the spiciest one and if your are used to indian food you will not feel any other cuisine spicy but to my pleasant surprise food here is very spicy stuffed with lot of red chilli and black pepper, if you want test the spice buds try out schezwan cuisine they will put your tongue on fire. 

Menu with Pictures : 

One good thing about Chinese restaurants the menu comes with pictures of each dish making it easy to order for a foreigner. 

No '4' please : 

If you get on to any lift in China you will notice that there is no 4th floor and also corresponding 14th, 24th, 34th etc, there are no streets numbered 4 either, as according to Chinese tradition number 4 represents death.

Shy and Warm people : 

One striking thing about people here in China is they are very warm and welcoming of foreigners and also feel shy and give a smile when you speak to them in English .

Some use full chinese words :

Hello : Ni hao
Thanks : Sheshame
Fork : Cha

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