Ni hao from Beijing, China! I arrived here on Monday morning after a 24 hour plane adventure from Louisville, KY. The last 5 days in Beijing have been organized as a tour and the actual classes haven’t yet started, so the group has hit a lot of major tourist sites. I will tell you about those later, but first I want to mention a few things to note about China:
-There are very few actual toilets in Beijing. Also, you need to bring your own toilet paper and sometimes even soap.
-Many Chinese people will want to take pictures with or of non-Chinese people. It’s actually quite fun.
-Always bargain at the markets. The prices are way over-priced and you can usually bargain quite a bit for souveniers. Someone in my group said ‘People usually have to overpay a few times before they realize this’. I think this is true.
-‘Pinyin’ is the alphabetical pronounciation of the Chinese characters and is written on street signs in the busy areas of the city. This is very helpful when ordering food or telling a taxi driver where you are going.
-The subway system is surprisingly easy to navigate and safe. I can’t say for sure how safe Beijing is, but I have felt just as safe as on the Louisville, KY public transportation system. It is also only 4 Yuan per ride, which is less than 1 US Dollar.
-You either need to buy bottled water or boil your own. There is no drinking out of a tap here. At restaurants, they will bring a teapot of boiled water. Do not expect a glass of ice-water here.
I’m leaving for Shanghai tomorrow, but have really enjoyed Beijing.