Sunday, 30 March 2014

Chinese Whispers 5

March 20

Meetings ended late evening today. Since it was past 6 in the evening it was a bit late to go some place so I went out for a walk around CBD – Central Beijing District.  Spent some time with team colleagues having a quite evening – just relaxing. Tomorrow some of my colleagues have decided to go on Beijing’s day tour. Looking forward to an exciting day! 

March 21

Today we go out for Beijing City Tour which includes: Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven and Forbidden City.

The bus arrived with an English  speaking guide Mr. Wong. By 7:45 am we headed towards our first destination – the Forbidden City. It is located in the center of Beijing, surrounded by Chairman Mao’s mausoleum, National Assembly and National Museum. Except Forbidden City, you must keep your passport with you when visiting any of the these places, without which you will not be permitted to enter them.  

We entered through compound to buy tickets and to my utter surprise, at 8:15 am the compound was full of hundreds of people queuing up for entering the Forbidden City. This magnificent structure served the kings and emperors for almost 500 years. It’s been declared as World Heritage Site by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world. 980 building structures comprise of thousands of rooms.

It’s not only the magnificence of the structure but also the riches it holds, some of them are:

The Palace Museum holds 340,000 pieces of ceramics and porcelain.

The Palace Museum holds close to 50,000 paintings.

The Palace Museum's holds 10,000 bronze collection.

The Palace Museum has one of the largest collections of mechanical timepieces of the 18th and 19th centuries in the world, with more than 1,000 pieces.

We headed towards Temple of Heaven. It is a complex of religious buildings situated in the southeastern part of central Beijing. The complex was visited by the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer to Heaven for good harvest.  I found this place very relaxing. Trees. Green Grass.  Birds chirping.

We had lunch at a nearby restaurant and then headed for the Summer Palace. A world heritage site, located just outside Beijing. Although it is named Summer Palace but now there are only gardens and lakes. No palace. The actual palace was burnt a couple of times and the last fire burnt it to the ground. It was never rebuilt. I don’t think I will be able to put the grandeur and magnificence of this place to words.

We spent some time there and then headed to our hotel.  

We still had some time to venture out for shopping, so we hopped on a taxi to the Silk Street. China is world’s number 1 fake products manufacturer and you’ll get all the big brands in clothing, sports, watches, electronics, toys, etc under one roof. You won’t find price tags on products because all prices are negotiable and prices start from a ridiculously high level. use  your negotiation skills to bring the price down to your level. 

If you are in this market or any other market in China, use the following tips:
1-      Don’t look the at shop keeper in the eye unless you are interested to buy something.
2-      Don’t talk to them unless you are interested to buy something.
3-      Don’t ask price of any item unless you are interested to buy it.
4-      Don’t show your interest in any item as it will increase the price many folds. Just put up a poker face and be disinterested in his/her shop.
5-      Whatever price the shopkeeper quotes, you offer 80% lower than that. Be polite and firm in your offer and be ready to walk out as well.

 Once done, we dropped our stuff at the hotel and went out to an Italian joint at walking distance for some pizza.

By the time we reached back to hotel, we were dead tired and called it a day.

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