East Meets West

chinese starbucks

This was the picture we took on our pre-kid visit to Beijing in 1999. It was such a trip for us. We went there on business trip. We spent a month in Tian-Jin working ourselves off and only got a chance to go to Beijing one of the weekend. It was a totally different experience between Tian-Jin which is a manufacturing town and Beijing – the capital city of China.

We took a train from Tian-Jin to Beijing. I would never forget the smell.. oh.. the smell at the restroom in the train station. Whatever my body wanted to do, it would have to wait. I came from Thailand so squat toilet wasn’t new to me. But half wall? Why half wall? How can one proceed to do their most private business with people walking by? I just don’t get it and I didn’t wait to find out.

Once we arrived to Beijing, it was better. :) We got to practice our bargaining skill at the silk street. Sometimes I thought to myself.. why did I bother with this 50 cents discount. But I think they enjoyed the process as much as we did. We came back with lot of stuffs. Mr. Rojo still has his jacket we got there.  The backpack we got didn’t make it home after the trip.

popeyes

We enjoyed the comfort food like Starbucks and Popeye’s Chicken. We had the best time partying at Hard Rock Cafe. Our idea of conservative Chinese was thrown out the window in this bustling city. Ah.. I can’t wait to go back. I wonder how much progress it will be after 10 years.

Check out other travelers’ Photo Friday at Delicious Baby.

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

WW – Starbucks in Beijing

With the Beijing 2008 Olympic fever that we have in our house right now, I want to post the picture we took almost 10 years ago. Starbucks have been in Beijing way before the Olympic. I’m very in awe with the opening ceremony but I’m not surprised. I know that the Chinese can do it and they have the determination and committment to make it big.

Check out other WW participants here.

Blast from the past – China

Today I saw an article on MSN about Planning a Trip to China. This article reminds me of our trip to China about 8 years ago. It was a trip sponsored by my company that I worked with back then. Yup, it was a business trip but my boss was very generous in helping arranging side trip during the weekend for us. It also helped that she was from China so I think in the sense she was proud to show us her country.

We were there for over a month but most weekend we had to work. After all, they flew us around the Globe to work not to take a vacation. We stayed in an industrial town called ‘TianJin’.

One long weekend, we got a chance to take a train to visit Beijing. We had to take a train from TianJin to Beijing. Too bad I didn’t take any digital pictures back then. So I didn’t think of taking the pictures of the bathroom at the train station. However, my sense of smell still vividly remembers this strong smell. Let’s just say I held my breath the whole time I walked in there and I couldn’t even do my business. I just couldn’t. The door was only half tall so when you squat down, you would be seeing the next door neighbor. Ok.. I know.. Too much information. Let’s move on.

We took a bus to the Great Wall. I think this might be the only time I will get to visit China. But you never know. I still want to go back to see Shiang Hai and other parts of this interesting country. We took the cable car up to the Great Wall and walked along the wall. I’m glad we did this when I was 8 years younger. Not sure if I can climb it now.

Next day, we got a chance to see Tianmin Square and the Forbidden City. Growing with a lot of Chinese movies in my household, it was amazing to get to see the Forbidden City. I am still amazed now thinking about how people 1,000 years ago was able to accomplish such a large scale of contruction with details and beauty.

The fun memory I had is not only about places but people. It was fun shopping in China. Bargaining is a given. The price they gave you will be about 200% more than you will end up paying. But that’s how it works. We also surprised at how Americanized the teens could be in Beijing and this was 8 years ago. I’m sure you can see even more Western influence there nowaday. We went to Hard Rock Cafe in Beijing and it was one of the fun night in my life. Being young and no worried.. Oh! how I long for those days again.

And just to prove the point that we can get Starbucks anywhere. We got this picture from that trip. China is not just another exotic country anymore. I will go back in a heart beat if my budget allows!