First whole day in China...ever...Oct 6/2011
China #1 - Beijing with Martin
(Thursday, Oct 6/2011)
Ni Hao everyone!
What a day. My friend Martin Backman (a WUS member "martback" living in Beijing) was kind enough to meet me downtown, and he spent the entire day with me taking/guiding me to big and small markets, introducing me to watch sellers, to sellers of everything else, and to skewered quail eggs, spiced potato slices, lamb and other Beijing street food...incredible tasting, very inexpensive and fully nourishing food...and one snack and one meal lasted me all day.
And the entire day from 9 AM to about 8PM was spent on our feet...I haven't walked that much in years.
This first photo is Martin and I at the Temple of Heaven around sundown ...just to prove I got to Beijing.
Temple of Heaven - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia for details on the temple.
Much of the rest is from earlier in the day...
This photo is the cook at a market (that's our food on the grill)...
Me happily stuffing my face...
This next is the huge and beautiful TV screen at Tienanmen Square (there were literally thousands of people watching wonderful photos of scenic places all over China, displayed because of China's big "Golden Week" holiday) and just a photo of only a small fraction of the people at this huge square.
I have to say that even without speaking the language, everyone...everyone...I've encountered from sellers to just folks walking around has been friendly, courteous and extremely good natured. Even going from place to place well after dark when we walked down long, very dark alleys in places called hutongs (kind of like older downtown neighbourhoods) encountering people alone or in small groups, all ages...not once did I feel anything but safe,comfortable and easily welcomed. (Oh yeah, and the weather today was wonderful ) That's a huge change from walking down urban alleys anywhere else I've been. All day we both received smiles from all sorts of folks who were just aware we were foreigners happening to pass by. We got Ni Hao from lots and even "hello" from quite a few folks.
Watches, you ask? There's watches in
China? We found a few but I haven't had time to take photos. Instead, just to
tease the daylights out of everyone... :-X
Here's a shot at the first market Martin introduced me to (Where's Martin? ) ;)...
Here's a shot of Martin with Mr Cao (Cao Lin Gao) and, I think, Mr Cao's son at one of his two small market shops in Beijing:
and some shots of Mr Cao's watches for sale...
...and, a shot of the sign at this shop, followed by the address exactly as it is written on Mr Cao's business card.
(BY the way, Mr Cao is a serious seller and has a few awesome---and very, very real---vintage pie-pan Omegas that are total drool material...and other vintage pieces as well, besides terrific VCMs)
The address: Chaoyang District, opposite the willow and all the junk (yes, that's exactly what it says )
Before I close this post: Martin, I want to thank you for one of the most fascinating days of my life, You are a thoughtful, generous and friendly and intelligent, perceptive guide and I appreciate every second you spent showing me around. Thank you, xie xie!