Thursday, October 12, 2006

In China for the first time!

Everything so far has been impressive! Everywhere I have been in Beijing so far is clean, has great roads, and seems no different from any modern capital city in the Western world. Certainly much better building, roads, cellphone coverage, etc., than most cities in India.

The Grand Hyatt in Beijing is impressive too. In size, fit & finish, and service! Great restaurants -- traditional Chinese, contemporary Chinese, Italian, sushi bar and cafe; live entertainment in the evening at the lobby area. Also the hotel is within walking distance of Tiannenman Square and the Forbidden City. Strongly recommended for those who can afford to stay here!

Went to visit the Great Wall today at Badaling, which is about 90 mins drive from the Tiannenman Square area where my hotel is located. The Wall was every bit as impressive as I expected it to...but you really need to climb up some steep slope/steps to get to the highest rampart.

After about an hour or so or climbing up and back, tried my hand at shopping for souvenirs! You have to excel at bargaining; after I bought a Chinese doll for RMB 200, I realized that the same could have been bought at RMB 75 after some tough bargaining, but I learnt quickly and the rest of the shopping was quite a lot of fun. The vendors were very persistent but went about doing this in a lighthearted and disarming manner :)

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