Beijing, what is it about this city that makes it so worthwhile for people to visit? Actually, there are six impressions people get about Beijing. What are they?
Guest Post By: Alex ShishkIn
1 . Beijing’s Smell
Beijing smells like food… everywhere! There is a restaurant boom occurring in China right now. Thus, you can find tons of small restaurants in the city. Don’t become discouraged by the simple appearance of some restaurants. DK travel guide on Beijing and Shanghai says these kinds of places tend to serve the best food.
On top of that, food is sold right on the street – cooked right in front of you. Be mindful of this food though. It may smell good and taste good but your stomach may not think so.
2 . Squat Toilets
If the street food didn’t agree with you, don’t worry! You have squat toilets you can use. What is a squat toilet? It’s the kind of toilet where you squat over a hole in the floor.
Squat toilets are fairly common in China. In the book, “China Survival Guide”, these kinds of toilets have a strong advantage over the “sit-down” Western-style toilets. How so? It’s more hygienic “since your bottom doesn’t actually touch a place touched by the bottoms of countless other people”. McDonalds’ restaurants even have squat toilets. Apartments are equipped with Western-kind toilets.
3 . KTV
KTV stands for Karaoke TV and it’s a leisure activity very popular in China. You get together with your friends and go to some special KTV place. There, you pay for a room and sing karaoke. A big list of Chinese songs as well as songs with English lyrics is available to you.
Useful tip: If you drink – your singing will be much better!
4 . The Traffic
If you have never traveled in Beijing before, you may think it’s disordered. People cross the streets on red lights – buses, cabs and cars make their way in a chaotic manner – like there are no lanes on the road and blowing their horn all the time.
With a little bit of time (generally a couple of days), you’ll get used to it.
Small bit of advice: if you’re hesitant about crossing the street of a high traffic section, consider waiting until there is a crowd of folks crossing with you.
5 . Safety
Foreigners often feel very safe in Beijing. Even when I’ve gone out for a night on the town in Sanlitun (an area famous for its night clubs and bars), I have never encountered a threat of any kind. Of course, accidents can happen… that’s just life! From my experience though, in the two months I’ve been in Beijing, I haven’t had a problem.
6 . The Song
There’s a Chinese song you will likely hear a lot in Beijing. It’s called “The Moon Represents My Heart” ( 月亮代表我的心). According to Wikipedia, this song was written by an anonymous writer and made famous by the Taiwanese singer Teresa Teng in ‘70s. I’ve heard it being played in a shop on the radio, as a ringtone on mobile phones and at a subway station.
At one time, Teng was dating famous Hong Kong movie actor Jackie Chan. Jackie Chan, in his book, “My Life in Action”, talks about the relationship and says that sometimes he didn’t behave himself properly toward her. Teresa Teng died at the age of 42 from asthma attack.
You don’t need to know Chinese to understand this heart-warming lovesong.
Have you been to Beijing too?! What were YOUR impressions of it? Use the comment section to share YOUR impressions of the city.
About the Author: Alex is an average guy who did an internship in Beijing for two months. He also created a web-site Sociable Introvert to help fellow introverts and other people get a social life and improve interpersonal skills. Read his latest article “A Great and Unexpected Shortcut to Improving Your Social Skills and Getting a Social Life or Sixty Days in China” to learn about the benefits of going to China as an intern.