Monday, December 10, 2007

북경의 첫째날

The China National Grand Theatre. A new national icon of China.

If you are wondering why I didn't blog when I was in China, it was because blogspot is blocked in China. Wordpress, Livejournal and Xanga are all blocked as well. Now I know why live spaces is the blog of preference for many Chinese - it is one of those few blogs that is not blocked.

Ate a bowl of 튀김우동 at Incheon Airport as breakfast.

Anyway, fortunately, there is no more flight delay for my flight from Incheon to Beijing. However, I have come to suspect that Air China may have only paid to use aerobridge at only one airport and not two. For my transit flight from Beijing to Incheon, I was required to walk down stairs and board a bus to the immigration point. Similarly for my CA flight from Incheon to Beijing, I was required to board a bus upon arrival. I felt like I have paid to travel on some budget airlines and not a national carrier.

Took a picture of my flight after I have boarded the crowded airport bus.

Despite some minor inconvenience, everything else was smooth and I reached my hotel at Chongwenmen Road just before noon. After checking in, I left the hotel in search of a place for lunch. Just a short distance was Ajisen Ramen. I bought a bowl of Ajisen Ramen for just 16 yuan (S$3.20). In Singapore, I will have to pay more than S$10 in order to enjoy a bowl of ramen at Ajisen Ramen. Apparently, Ajisen Ramen is a big success in China. It is not difficult to find one of its outlets nearby in Beijing.

This bowl of ramen cost only 16 yuan. Cheap and delicious.

Since that was my second time to Beijing, I wasn't interested in visiting any particular places of interest except perhaps the National Grand Theatre. So after lunch, I walked from Chongwenmen to East Chang'an Street. Along the way, I dropped by the Tiananmen Square. Barriers were set up around the Tiananmen Square and the place was heavily guarded by police. People who wished to get onto the Square were subjected to bag check though I was never checked. Now I know what is called a police state. Despite the tight security, the place is still worth a visit.

At the heart of Beijing - The Tiananmen Square.

Sun setting behind the Great Hall of the People.

A view of Tiananmen from across the street.

The China National Grand Theatre is west of the Tiananmen Square. It only took me a short walk to get there. This newly-constructed Theatre is awesome. While many people call the Theatre an egg, but to me, it looks more like a big spaceship that has landed on a big pool of water. The reflection of the sunset by the titanium plates that clad the building was simply spectacular. It was a pity that I did not get a chance to watch a performance inside this iconic building as it has not started operations yet. The first performance is scheduled around the Christmas period.

Different views of the China National Grand Theatre.

Without anything else in mind to do after visiting the Theatre, I just walked back in the direction of my hotel, though my watch was telling me that it was only 6pm in the evening.

Night at Tiananmen. Pictures taken while on my way back to hotel.

While I was taking photos in one of the five-star hotels along East Chang'an Street I was approached by a Chinese girl, who spoke quite decent English, to take a photo for her group. She asked where I come from but I asked her to guess instead. Her first answer was I look like a Korean. Perhaps, I have found the answer to why I was approached daily in Seoul by Koreans asking for direction. I have to keep repeating that I am not a Korean. I was quite puzzled why the Chinese girl did not think that I am a Chinese. I think I am facing an identity crisis here. Haha...

Raffles Hotel also has a piece of action at the East Chang'an Street.

Stopped by Wangfujing Walking Street to have a look though in my memory it was not a very interesting place. After a second look, I have to say, it is still not an interesting place. I did not spend too much time at that place.

One of those Beijing 2008 posters seen at Wangfujing Walking Street.

From Wangfujing back to Chongwenmen, which was two stations away, I took the subway. You may not believe if I tell you that it is a flat rate of S$0.40 (2 yuan) to take a train to anywhere in Beijing. Yes, subway fare in Beijing is that cheap as public transport is heavily subsidised by the government. The taxi driver, who drove me from the airport to the hotel, was lamenting that the Olympic Games has made their livelihood harder as the Beijing authority is forced to hasten its pace in developing and improving the public transport system. With such an economical means of public transport, who would want to take taxi?, He said. I agree. The cost of living in Beijing is so much lower than Seoul and Singapore but I still dislike the polluted air of Beijing.

Taking subway from Wangfujing to Chongwenmen 2 stops away.


  1. 드디어 중국에 오셨네요.
    즐겁게 놀다가 가세요~~

  2. It was just a short 2-days transit over at Beijing. Anyway, I like Ajisen Ramen in Beijing - cheap and good. ^^