Tag Archives: china

Hutongs (On The Way)

(In response to this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: On The Way)


Weekly Photo Challenge: Endurance (Forbidden City, Beijing)



Beijing, China’s Forbidden City, for me, is one of the embodiment of endurance. It was first built during the MIng Dynasty (1368-1644) and it is still standing. Amazing! 

In response to this week’y Weekly Photo Challenge: Endurance


Dong Hua Men Night Market, Beijing – NOT FOR THE FAINT-HEARTED!

If you are going to Beijing and you have a free evening, you must go to the Dong Hua Men Night Market (address: Dong Hua Men Avenue, West of Wang Fu Jing AvenueBeijing 100005China). The stalls open from 5pm to about 11pm. The market has about a hundred food stalls that offer everything from rice and noodles to cupcakes to deep-fried starfish, grasshoppers and snakes on sticks. Locals and toursists walk around to watch other brave people devour some of the most un-imaginable food items in this market.

I went there one evening a couple of weeks ago with my parents and sister. We were all curious to see whether this place can live up to the hype built by the media and other tourists who have been here before.

I was so excited when we arrived:

We arrived just as the owners were opening their stalls so we were among the first few people they enticed to try everything. The first few items were not so bad.

Cute pastries
Insides of pigs
Lobsters, deep-fried seafood on sticks

Then, as we carried on walking, the items on sale became weirder…

Pig intestines

…and weirder…

Dried and fried lizards (?), grasshoppers and seahorses
A closer look at the grasshoppers
Some sort of lizards
Yes. Seahorses!

…and weirder…

Deep-fried breaded starfish
Snakes, millipedes, spiders, etc. on sticks

But hey, some people tried them. Here’s a picture of a man who is a lot braver than I was:

Take a bow, Sir. Take a bow!

We have had an amazing night people-watching. I definitely would recommend this place to anyone who comes to Beijing. If you feel brave, try any of their food, take a picture and post it on your blog and let me know!

Despite having a rather interesting and fun night, I went back to my hotel wearing this expression on my face:

10 funniest English translations in Beijing

During my travels in Beijing, I have had a hard time with communicating with the locals. I had a very difficult time trying to find my way around the city because the signs were incredibly confusing.

They try their best to communicate with you, which is great. However, there are signs and product labels that were poorly translated to English. Here are the best ones:

10. An incredibly talented artist who can…

Make Your Face

9. Use Google Translate, they say. It will be fine, they say…

Umm… Sure!

8. The best way to tell shoppers that photography is not allowed:

Please don’t.

7. I still don’t get this. I found this gem of a sign in the men’s toilets at Beijing Zoo:

At least it says I am the best!

6. Found in the men’s toilet at The Red Theatre. Not to be taken literally! The floors are slippery. But if you want to slip, do it carefully!

The floors are slippery.

5. A rather confusing I Love Beijing t-shirt

You love WHAT?!?!
Someone who REALLY REALLY loves Beijing

4. Yet another Google Translate gem. This is a postcard, by the way.

Good good study!

3. The ‘No Parking Sign’ sign

Just park somewhere else!

2. Found in a Chinese Medical centre

1. I don’t mind if you don’t find this funny because my water bottle does!

The happiest water bottle in the world!

Lost in Translation

Umm… Wait, what?!

Today’s Daily Prompt: A misused word, a misremembered song lyric, a cream pie that just happened to be there: tell us about a time you (or someone else) said or did something unintentionally funny.

I found this gem of a sign in the men’s toilet at the Red Theatre in Beijing. I guess they’re tryng to tell us that the floors are slippery. I really hope nobody would take this sign literally!

Top 10 Things You Need to Know About Beijing

Chinese Flag at Tiananmen Square

I recently travelled to Beijing, China to see the sights, explore its history and learn more about its culture by people-watching and interacting with the locals. It was a great experience that I would not trade for anything else. Here are what I’ve observed:

1. Very few people spoke English
This made any form of communication very challenging for me, as I could not speak any Chinese. It should have been a no-brainer, but I forgot to learn a few key phrases before I travelled to this gorgeous place.

English signs on malls, tourist spots and even museums are almost non-existent. It will be a struggle for any person with little or no knowledge of their written language to fully enjoy the historic sites if they do not rent (expensive) audio guides.

I advise you to take pictures of what you may need (toilets, cutleries, food, your hotel, etc.) beforehand to help you in times of need. Locals will try to help you as much as they can, despite not being able to speak English. Most of them will also try to find someone who can communicate in your language when they become stuck.

2. The Food is Amazing
Chinese food in the West is nothing like the real authentic food that you will find in China. The flavours are exquisite and the ingredients are fresh. Never be afraid to try their delicacies such as Bullfrogs and Pig Intestines!!

Also note that if you ordered rice and would like to have it with your mains, you need to tell your waiter to bring it straight away. I’ve been told by a local that they eat rice at the end of a meal as it is a cheap way to fill you up if your mains did not do the trick. The phrase ‘rice now’ did the trick for me.

3. Be careful of tap water
In all of my travels in Beijing, I have not found any safe drinking water on taps. I may be wrong, but I advise you just to buy bottled water to be sure.

4. Squat toilets
Using squat toilets is challenging, particularly if the muscles in your lower body is weak. I don’t think I need to explain why. You’re lucky if you find the very few ‘Western’-style toilets in Beijing, so try practising your squat!!

If you find it impossible to use these toilets, look for the Disabled ones and use them instead.

5. Locals may not appear friendly, but they really are
I found that the locals’ voice, tone of voice and body language may appear unfriendly if you are used to most Western cultures. They rarely smiled and seemed to be shouting when they were talking. You must remember though, that their culture- especially their language- is different from yours, so try to keep an open mind. They really are friendly.

6. It is difficult to take clear pictures
Smog and air pollution are big problems in this gorgeous country. As a result, amateur photographers find it very difficult to capture a clear photograph during the day. The smog covers most of the sky, making a lovely sunny day look gloomy.

I found that the best time to go sight-seeing and take pictures is the day after it rains. The rain clears up the sky, which allows you to see most of the sights and take clearer pictures.

7. It’s hard to breathe
Again, as a result of the horrible air pollution, i found it difficult to breathe. Wearing masks did not help me, either. The air felt heavy and my lungs weren’t prepared for it.

8. Their notion of ‘personal space’ is VERY, VERY DIFFERENT
Most people will stand about 2 inches away from you when you’re conversing- even if you are the only two people in the room.

9. Queues exist but are not followed
Locals do not seem to respect queues. People will barge in front of you if you are not careful. This happens in shopping malls, subway, ticket booths, security checks and even in public toilets. Shouting won’t help you, but a strong body (to hold and protect your place) will.

10. People spit. EVERYWHERE
This is probably the strangest thing that I have observed. People of all ages and genders seem to exercise their free will through spitting. They clear their throats as loud as they can, then spit wherever they are. Nobody seems to care, either. Again, it could just be one of those unique things that are part of their culture.

Vending Machine that dispenses ideas

Today’s Daily PromptSoft drinks, electronics, nutrient-free snacks – you can get all of those from a vending machine. But what type of vending machine is sorely needed but doesn’t yet exist? Share your automated retail fantasies with us!

First of all, I must say that this prompt is a very, very cool one! Kudos to the peeps at Daily Post!!

I found it very hard to think of a really cool, yet non-existent vending machine. What I really wanted already existed – a vending machine that dispenses cars. Look:

What I think this society needs is a vending machine that dispenses really bright and cool ideas. Most people (that I have encountered) lack imagination, creativity and innovative ideas, and I feel that we could all use an easy way out. I know that this idea sounds ridiculous as each of us may have a different opinion of what constitutes a good idea and what doesn’t. Also, who would monitor and manufacture the vending machines? Nevertheless, even though it is a wild idea, I would stick to it.

There’s a catch, though. Every idea that you get from the vending machine comes with the chip that Sheldon Cooper  described in the Big Bang Theory:











Dirt Road