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Beijing, Now What?


We spent almost half a day trying to plan our itinerary around China. We had been spoiled in New Zealand and Australia with all the free information and brochures in English. In China, there are no free brochures, and the tourist information offices don’t have english speaking staff… I don’t understand why they bother translation the sign to “Tourist Information”

We borrowed some guide books from the hostel, but I wanted to buy my own. Around noon, it was already late to go to the Forbidden City, so we decided to go explore the city and keep planning later that day. We started by getting a SIM card for the cellphone. We managed to communicate with the sales lady, who successfully changed the cellphone language from Chinese to English.

Later we walked along Qianmen D. Street, where we were told, by my new Indian friend Vicky, we could get money exchanged at the Bank of China, and we looked for a lonely planet guide, that we never found. We had lunch at Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant as recommended by “1000 Places to See Before You Die” book. The Peking duck was really good, you take the pancake (tortilla), add scallions and sauce, wrap it like a burrito and voila!

Once our stomachs were full, we continued our search for my Lonely Planet. He headed for the foreign language bookstore. In the map, it looked close, but we keep walking and walking, it was really far, but we finally found it. Unfortunately, we found all the lonely planets you would ever want, except for the one for China. Later we learned that Lonely Planet is banned in China, and that the government even confiscates guides on the border, if they see them.

It started getting dark, and we were hungry again, I suddenly remembered that there is a Hard Rock Café in Beijing, we took the subway, and arrived to the HRC Beijing. I quickly bought a glass for my collection, and we got a table. They had live music that night, so we enjoyed the show while dining.

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