Cutting nails in Beijing (day #1)

In this blog and the next ones, I share my great ten days’ Beijing experience of this November. Enjoy!

Our trip to China has started. After a bumpy flight with China Southern Airlines, we touched ground around two o’clock in the afternoon (Chinese time). Hiu Ying and Jeroen, our friends who live in Beijing, picked us up from the airport.

Chinese cabbage
We squeezed us into a taxi and drove into the long traffic jams on our way to their house. It was so good to see our friends back after such a while.

When we arrived at their home, we got our first impressions of Beijing. The autumn isn’t over yet in Beijng, although the temperature is cold. The sun was shining through the coloured leaves of the trees. Their area is very nice with many places to eat and buy food from small stores. When we walked upstairs to the appartment, we noticed some huge Chinese cabbage in the stairwell. It was a funny sight. The Chinese people eat it a lot because it’s cheap and you can keep them fresh for a long time, Jeroen explains. We gave our friends some presents (Dutch products and a bottle of good whisky). Then we freshed ourselves up for some sightseeing and dinner.

We took a taxi to the neighborhood of the Drum & Bell tower and Houhai lake. There we checked out some stores. We even walked by the hostel where I stayed in 2006.

Late in the afternoon we had an awesome diner. We had a lot of fun with our waiters and waitresses. They acted a little stupid so we continuously had to call them: ‘fooie’ ‘fooie’. The other eaters did the same. At one point one of the waitresses was explaining to us that the fish dish would be served within a few minutes. Hiu told her that the dish was for the guests next to us. The girl answered: I knew that, looked to the other table and ran out of the room (LOL). The restaurant guests next to us arrived later than us, but they received their food almost immediately after they sat down! They ordered their dish online. Meanwhile, the guy was cutting his nails in public.

Caramalized pumpkin

Caramalized pumpkin
After the great dinner, which included a caramalized pumpkin, we started walking again. Stores are open till late, so the streets were still crowded. It became colder! Time for a hot drink. Our next stop was a jazz café. There was a live band and we drank some hot chocolate. After sitting down for a while, Peter and I felt our jetlag and after dinner dip. Time to move on for some rock & roll.

Aweful Singer
Rock café : temple (bar) in gulou dongdajie (drum tower east street) was our next stop. It’s a place mainly for foreigners with their chinese friends. A relax and alternative audience. We drank beers and expensive wodka. Then the house band started playing. Hiu warned us for them and, indeed, they weren’t very good. The singer was aweful and not really working together with the drummer and guitar player. The drummer was doing a good job though

Club Lantern
We decided to move on. We ended up at club Lantern. A nice, literally underground place that reminded me of the old Now&Wow in Rotterdam and the first Reactor events I visited in Amsterdam. The music was awesome. It’s was a long time ago that I jumped around on the dancefloor as a mad man. Hiu told me that she interviewed one of the Chinese DJ’s, who are the Chinese techno heroes from the first generation. They built up from minimal to old school techno with lots of melody and crazy drums to fresh techno! At 02:00 hours, the floor started to fill with jumpy and young Chinese party people. Loved it!

When we left the club, we searched for some food on the street. In front of Club Babyface, people where joining barbecues in the cold open air. We decided not to join them. We were already stuffed with happy thoughts about our first day in Beijing!


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