Thursday, May 11, 2006

WangFuJing, Beijing

We headed to Wang Fu Jing for dinner after work. It is one of the busiest area for shopping and food. Our first stop is to this electronics shop. I was looking at the vast selection of DVDs and I was surprised with the price. Most of them are priced from RMB 15 and they were original. The next stop is a huge bookstore though most of the books are in chinese. I bought a bilingual map from there.

Then it's time for dinner, so we went to this much narrow street which is parallel to the Wang Fu Jing street that comprises of a long strech of food stalls. We later settled with the one near the opera singing stage which is a bad choice really. For the sound and the food. There are also shops selling scorpions/seahorse and god knows what with those BBQ sticks. Also there is a wooden structure which I think is the so called Wang Fu Jing well.

Upon finishing our meal, we took a walk there and take pictures along the way. We ended up at this corner just across Sun Dong Xin Place and tried out the weird spherical 360 degrees spinning ride. The ticket cost RMB 20. Due to my forgetfulness, I had to go for a temporary solution to extract the pictures from my camera. I hunted for a SD card reader at one of the shops nearby. The price tag for one is RMB 128, but the shopkeeper offer it at RMB 98. I decided to checkout other shops and she quickly offer it for RMB 78. I was tempted but my colleague suggested RMB 60. The shopkeeper accepted that.

One thing I noticed after taking many trips on taxi is that generally, these taxi drivers, si fus, will ask you to provide detailed direction towards reaching your destination. The fares for the taxis begin from RMB 10 and it increases by RMB 1.

I didn't feel too good after that spinning ride. I felt much better after vomiting when I was in my apartment. I woke up the next day with a stiff neck, sore back and some swollen parts of my back and also slightly at my arms and lower abdomen. I think it has to do with the belts and whatever forces that that thing imposed on me.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Beijing - Day One

The trip did not begin on a good note. I had to finish work, have my dinner and do my final packing. I had realised only now that I had forgotten to bring the camera cables. Firstly, I had trouble getting to sleep on the plane which in usual cases, it is of no problem to me. After a few hours, I had this nagging stomach ache as well as a striking pinpoint headache. I was constantly rubbing my forehead to mitigate the pain but to no avail.

Fortunately, as we landed, all the problems have gone. Then came the immigration checkpoint. We were given 3 cards to fill. The health declaration, custom declaration and the entry card. When it was my turn at the immigration counter, I handed over my passport. I took the entry card in my hand and wondering if I should hand it to that officer as well. He snatched the card from my hand and gave me a stern "Na lai ar..Gan mar?", visibly furiated. I did nothing to appease him either and his rude behavior pissed me off.

We got on to a taxi from the airport and my colleague told the driver our destination. What left me baffled was that he need to instruct and explain in great detail on how to reach our destination.

As soon as we arrived at the apartment, I was impressed already by the lobby and the doorman opening the door for us. The apartment was swanky and modern, well at least on my standards. There's apparently more than 70 channels on the TV. However, the bulk of it are china produced programmes. A centralised boiler, water heater and heater is included. Fully furnished complete with most kitchen essentials. I was made to understand that I am staying in the Central Business District. The brochure for my 1 bedroom apartment states that the monthly rental rate comes to 14000 RMB. We didn't pay that of course, and got it with a different arrangement.

Didn't have time to do other things, it was time to work. Off we go in another taxi through the incredulous traffic. The traffic light laws is obviously different and I was stunned for not expecting such a system. On a crossroad, assuming the green is for the east and the west path, oncoming traffic from the north and south can join the furious east-west flow eventhough their traffic lights are still beaming red. Pedestrian crossing lights are also very much misleading. Eventhough the pedestrian light may show green, it only tells you that the flow of traffic from your left and right moving forward is halted. We have to keep an eye always as traffic coming from north turning left across our path can still happen.

Had lunch at this quaint chinese restaurant with quite many expats. The food was good and the bill was better. RMB 64 for 4 pax. That is for rice, 3 dishes and mineral water.

We had dinner at Mi Xi Mi Xi Suo Suo Wuo along the Jiang Guo Men Wai Dong Lu I suppose. It's basically steamboat with spicy and clear soup. However, the taste is unlike what we have in Malaysia. The dishes of meat comes in form of thinly sliced meat and each customer is given a bowl of sauce. The sauce taste much like Satay sauce only less tasteful. The bill for that filling meal comes to 133 RMB for four pax.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Countries to work at, Next

Why is it that I seem to always have a tired body on Monday? Like I was drained and battered from whatever that took place the past weekend.

Just barely two months since I was back for good, it appears that that was shortlived afterall. I will be in Beijing, China by tomorrow. This trip will be of one month's duration. It is hard to predict how long more we will have to be there. Experience has taught me so. My stay at Bahrain was prolonged for a year. Go figure.

Hopefully though, I will be able to post updates from there along with more photos. Apparently, according to my sources, blogspot is blocked over there. I couldn't confirm this now yet and hope I won't need to when I'll know the answer on the following day.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Panasonic Fx9

Have been so prudent to the point of frugality, I am nearly ashamed of myself.

With a trip not too distant away, the chance and the need to use a digital camera presents itself. I could not wait for a better reason to get one after delaying for so long. I got myself a Panasonic Lumix Fx9 with 1 GB SD yesterday for RM 1300.

Initially I was looking at Canon Ixus 65. But the side by side comparison and testing done by myself confirms the claims and recommendation of the sales person.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The break

Sometimes one need to stop and look. I did that to find my bearings. I wondered if I did that in a fit of anger. But anger of what? I soon recalled what that was. I think the trade did me good. However, I'm not sure if I can continue on with it. For all intents and purposes, there wasn't any of that anymore. And so it further solidifies my decision and thought to myself that then was the right time. I'm glad I had moved on. And most importantly, I learned the priorities and various aspects of balance to a job.

Today makes the day where I caught a glimpse of the future. The challenges, the opportunity and the rewards at the other end. I don't know and won't know if I like it. But that's the journey to go and I'll gladly stride through it. A whole entirely new domain and who knows, just might be a turning point for the better when I'm looking back, retrospectively in another few years ahead of now.