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Notes on tech

Notes on technology, business, enterpreneurship, economy, markets along with interesting general tidbits.

Weekend activies

12/04/2005 10:08:00 PM, posted by anand

Over the weekend, we (I went with a colleague from Seattle, WA) visited the Forbidden city and the Tiananmen Square. The Forbidden city was home to the Chinese emperors for over 500 years and ofcourse as the name implies, commoners where forbidden to enter the place.

As both these attractions are located right in the heart of the city, we decided to take the local train and check them out. It was pretty courageous to take the local train for first timers like us. But all in all, it was a pretty smooth ride. We got the tickets, and just boarded the train. The train was packed full.

We paid 40 RMB for the tickets to the Forbidden city, and 40 RMB for the audio tour. For the audio tour, they give you a little plastic rectangular case thingy (like a CD holder) with a one-ear only headphone. As you walk along the Forbidden city, it narrates an audio respective to that location. Impressive stuff.

Then we went to a restaurant located just outside of the Forbidden city for lunch. The only thing written in English on the menu was the word "Menu". Everything else on the menu was written in Chinese. It seemed like a fancy restaurant, but they didnt have an English menu. I've been told that usually the prices on the English menu are double as compared to the Chinese menu. Another tourist rip-off scheme that you got to watch out for. I had steamed lettuce (yeah, thats it) as that was the only vegetarian item on the menu.

We timed our visit to the Tiananmen square such that we got to see the flag lowering ceremony. It was pretty interesting to watch, how the PLA soldiers lowered the flag and then marched off.

It was very very cold (about -8 °C) with severe wind blowing on both the days. As you can see from the photograph above, I was well prepared for the weather.

Here are some general notes:
  • Both the Forbidden city and the Tiananmen square were clean and well maintained.
  • I didnt see too many non-asian tourists at these places.
  • Most of the people we ran into, didnt speak/understand even basic English. Even people working in places such as restaurants, ticket counters, security personnel etc. I asked a security guard for "toilet", "restroom" and he gave me a "I dunno what the hell you are talking about" look. Maybe, I had wrong expectations. The only countries I am familiar with are India and the US and people in both those places understand English. So maybe it was a case of wrong expectations.
On Sunday, I went to the Temple of Heaven and then to a mall in the Wangfujin street. The mall was pretty much like just another western mall, just bigger and shinier with all foreign brand stores.

I havent visited the Great Wall yet. The tour buses for the Great Wall leave early in the morning, so I missed the one on Sunday. I'll try to visit the wall next weekend.
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12/05/2005 10:19 AM, comment by Blogger Manish

Yooooohoooooooo! Man, its so good to see your pic which seems like after a looooooooooong time. But u know what, we need more picsss. Its amazing to read and know and get feelers of all that you write. Keep going. God bless!    

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