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.