Beijing Journals

MBA Students on the Loose in Beijing

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An April 2002 trip to Beijing by Jenn966

Forbidden City Photo, Beijing, China More Photos
Quote: A brief trip to Beijing as part of an MBA program (with my 45 classmates and about 4 guides to "wrangle" us!) brought the stares we were warned about, fascinating meetings with Chinese and Western business leaders and more meals on spinning trays than I ever wanted to eat!

MBA Students on the Loose in Beijing

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Overview

Tianamen Square Photo, Beijing, China
Quote:
* The "typical" tourist sites -- Tianamen Square, the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven and (of course) the Forbidden City -- didn't seem at all "typical" to this first-time visitor to Asia. * Bei-hai Park, contains some of the most interesting architecture we saw in Beijing, has beautiful grounds and a restaurant that will feed you food "fit for an emperor." * The Great Wall is a must see, and don't mind if you are on a tour that will take you to Ba Da Ling. It's gotten a bad reputation for being too "touristy" but I would remind you that you ARE a tourist and, if it's your only opportunity to see the Great Wall, it's better than not se...Read More

Peninsula Palace Beijing

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Hotel | "The Palace Hotel"

Quote:
WOW!Have you ever entered the lobby of a hotel and the first thought that went through your head was "Where am I and what have they done to the hotel that I'm supposed to be at?" That was my first reaction to the liveried bellmen, and 5 or so story-high marble, crystal and gold decorated lobby. I wouldn't have ever chosen to stay at a hotel like this, but since I wasn't paying for it, I decided to kick back and enjoy.We were conveniently pre-registered and picked up rooms keys quickly and headed for the elevators. From a size perspective, the rooms were not overly large. By the end of the week, my roommate and I would have to be very careful not to trip over our suitcases a...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 24, 2002

Peninsula Palace Beijing
8 Goldfish Lane, Wangfujing
Beijing, China
+86 (10) 8516 2888

Forbidden City

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Attraction

Forbidden City Photo, Beijing, China
Quote:
By the time we reached the Forbidden City, we were nearing the end of our class trip in China (although I would stay for another week to see Guilin and Xi'an). I was suffering from a bit of sensory and cultural overload. After the color and grandeur of the Grand Palace in Bangkok, the Forbidden City seemed a bit "flat" at first glance. But then, I started to notice the subtleties: the fine decorations at the top of buildings, the care with which the buildings were maintained close to their original condition (even down to the colors of paint). I remember the first time I saw the film The Last Emperor and the view of the Forbidden City that opens up as the camera moved through the ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 24, 2002

Forbidden City
North Of Tiananmen Square Dong Cheng District
Beijing, China 100009
+86 (0)10 6512 2255

Summer Palace

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Attraction | "The Summer Palace"

Summer Palace Photo, Chengde, China
Quote:
Given a choice between shopping, resting in the hotel or visiting the Summer Palace, far too many of my classmates went for the first two options. The nice thing was that the 15 or so of us who went had a smaller group and could travel a bit more incognito. The Summer Palace is a bit of a drive from Beijing and provided a way for the members of the court to escape from the summer time heat (for those of us from New York, I guess you could say it was Beijing's version of the Catskills). As with all of the Asian palaces I visited, there is no true "main" building. Instead, there are a series of buildings connected by walkways and gardens that lead you from the general reception areas, to th...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 24, 2002

Summer Palace
Kunming Lake
Haidian, Beijing, China
010-6288 1144

Bei Hai Park

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Attraction | "BeiHai Park"

Bei Hai Park Photo, Beijing, China
Quote:
Walking through the southern end of BeiHai park on our way to a lunch at FangShan restaurant, I was able to get only a glimpse of the park's beauty: the lake, the White Dagobah and the Painted Walkway. Other treasures, such as the Dragon Screen, Five Dragon Pavillion or the gardens the Empress Cixi loved, were not on the way. Given our limited time, we missed seeing these gems. However, the part of the park we did see was truly lovely. It seemed to me immactulately clean, and the gardens we could glimpse walking through the park were exquisite.The White Dagoba can be seen reigning over the large lake that is the focal point of BeiHai (which means North Sea). The Dagobah was built in the 16th c...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 24, 2002

Bei Hai Park
1 Wen Jin Street
Beijing, China 100034
+86 (0)10 6403 1102

Sanlitun Bar Street

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Attraction

Quote:
Maybe we hit it on an off-night, or maybe we are just used to the variety and raucousness of New York, but Sanlitun Bar Street was a bit of a disappointment. By cab, Sanlitun was about 15 minutes from the Palace Hotel. The cab driver dropped us off at the southern end of the street, near the English sign announcing that you've arrived at "Sanlitun Bar Street" (it's official name). We strolled up one side of the street and back down the other, peering into smoky bars noisy with the sound of 70s hits being sung badly by cover bands. Finally, we decided we really wanted to sit and have a drink. We picked the least smoky place we could find and pushed our way in. The beers were priced al...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 24, 2002

Sanlitun Bar Street
Sanlitun Lu or Sanlitun Jiuba Jie
Beijing, China

Beijing Opera Performances

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Attraction | "Beijing Opera "Lite""

Beijing Opera Performances Photo, Beijing, China
Quote:
Convinced that we would not enjoy a full-blown performance of the Beijing Opera, the local guide who accompanied our group made arrangements for two retired members of the Beijing Opera to perform excerpts from Bawang bie ji or The King Bids Farewell to His Concubine.I'm not sure exactly how to describe the music of Chinese opera. I think it can be said that it uses a different scale or harmonic range than western music. The actors seemed to me to tell the story as much in their movement as through the words. With the basic plot explained to us -- the king returns from a battle, defeated by a commoner; unable to console him, his beloved concubine decides to kill herself to show her...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 24, 2002

Beijing Opera Performances
175 Yong An Road
Beijing, China 100050
+86 (0)10 6301 6688

Temple of Heaven

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Attraction

Temple of Heaven Photo, Beijing, China
Quote:
With one last morning free in Beijing, we had a bit of a debate: should we go to the Temple of Heaven or to the Museum of the Revolution? We would have flipped a coin, but when we asked our tour guide he gave us a look that shouted "are you insane?" and said simply, "There's nothing in the museum that's so special or unique that a visit there is critical. The Temple of Heaven is something you will not see any where else on Earth." That settled it.Tiantan is not a single structure. The building that is often captioned "The Temple of Heaven" is actually the Temple for the Prayer for a Good Harvest. The Temple of Heaven is comprised of several buildings and courtyards. Each year, just bef...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 24, 2002

Temple of Heaven
Tian Tan North Rd.
Beijing, China 100050
+86 (0)10 6702 2242

Great Wall (万里长城)

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Attraction | "The Great Wall of China: Badaling"

Great Wall (万里长城) Photo, Beijing, China
Quote:
Badaling has really been given a bad reputation for being too "touristy" in the adventure travel guides, like Rough Guide and Lonely Planet. Yes, there are a lot of little shops and stalls. Yes, there are many big bus tours. Yes, it's difficult to find a place where you can commune with the Wall in solitude. Yes, there is a kitschy place where you can dress in a costume and have your picture taken (with a horse or camel, too). However, I hope that given a choice between travelling to Badaling to see the Wall and not seeing it at all, people will go to Badaling. From the entrance, you are offered two choices of a climb: steep and REALLY steep. I've called this an "athletic" sight because the...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 24, 2002

Great Wall (万里长城)
North Of Beijing City
Beijing, China
+86 (0)10 6912 1235

Quote:
Group eating in China was fun, at least at first. A group of 8 or 12 of us would sit at a table in some amazing restaurant and the dishes would begin to be brought out to us, family-style. As I recollect, we'd begin with cold appetizers: pickled vegetables, a spicy cold beef or chicken, perhaps some soy beans or bean curd and typically a little bowl of nuts. We'd then move onto the hot appetizers: more meat and vegetables. Finally, the main dishes would be brought out. There wasn't always dessert, but if one was served, if was typically fruit, sometime a sweet rice dice or ice cream. Each dish would be placed on the lazy susan/spinning tray in the middle of the table, and you would wait unt...Read More