China has been on my mind since childhood, I am always intrigued by the mysteriousness and their culture. In the seventies I was fortunate enough to go to a course at Oxford University where I met three Chinese students from Hong Kong and Singapore, the amount of learning i got from these students surpasses that of Oxford uni; not trying to degrade the university in anyway, it was and still is one of the best in the world. they taught me about Soho, Chinese food, Chinese special sweets, the best way to eat vegetables (boil it), what happened to the language, and how the Japanese hijacked a boat that was transporting the Chinese alphabets (hence the Japanese language is limited if compared to the wealth of Chinese language, as few of the logs were lost in transit). Bottom line is, I want to go there, but didn’t yet. So it just so happen that I received this email from a company that is doing a tour for 5 days that is not very expensive, jumped on the idea, and sent a BBM to all my BB friends if they are interested in joining me. Of course all of us know how Karma works, in the same day my best friend in Qatar emailed me saying that he is going to China, I said wow, tell me all about it, and bring me some catalogs etc. She had gone to Shanghai, and my trip is to Beijing, so I asked her to provide me with a run down on her trip, and weather or not a single city is enough, here is what she wrote:
“In Beijing you will have to go and see the Forbidden City where the Emperor’s Palace is and the tour guide makes you walk right through until you get to Taimen Square to see the Congress Building and a small Museum of Mao Tse Tung. There is also a famous restaurant there if you want to taste the Peking Duck. Then there is the Garden of Heaven where the Emperor used to go for relaxation and fish from a stationery marble boat when the weather was bad to go fishing on the river. Of course then you should not miss the Great Wall of China. Actually we took two tours as the tour guides also take you to the silk factory, the Jade factory, the Pearl factory, and of course the Tea House so you can’t fit everything on one tour. You will then have to go to the Silk Market where all the bargains are. It is actually very similar to Dragon Mart although Dragon Mart is bigger and more attractive and I don’t think the prices are much different but you really have to bargain. I would really recommend that you also go to Shanghai, they are starting to operate a fast train to Shanghai which will only take five hours instead of the twelve hours it took us. You will have to stay on The Bund facing the Hang Tse River (I am not sure about the name of the river but the area is called the Bund). We stayed at a hotel called the Broadway Mansion and the location was excellent as you are within walking distance to most places. Also in Shanghai they operate the red Double Decker buses which take you all around the city at a very reasonable price and you can hop on and off throughout the day. In Shanghai you will have to go to Yu Yuan Garden and Nanjing Road. At Yu Yuan you don’t really have to go inside the garden but the shopping there is really exciting and enjoyable. In the evenings we enjoyed just walking on the Bund which is like a Cornish area. You can take a ferry boat that takes you all along the river and the scenery in the evening is breathtaking. You also have to go to the Acrobatics Show, it is just unbelievable and choose the one that is rated the best in the world. I did not mention the zoo, the museum, etc. I am attaching a few of the pictures for you to have an idea but then please delete them. You will also be amazed by the number of brides and grooms you will see while walking on the Bund. That alone is a fascination. That is all for now my dear so inshallah you will enjoy all your trips and we will manage to meet soon.”
About the pictures, I am only going to show those of places.