Soupy in the capital city of China: Beijing

BEIJING 2013

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A beautiful sunset view from my apartment on the 25th floor.

When I was accepted for an internship in Beijing for my co-op credit at Centennial College, I quickly consulted a couple friends who studied there about what to expect and how to prepare for my 3 month long visit.  Let’s just say you won’t really know until you’ve experienced things for yourself…I guess that can be a general statement as well…but everything so far has been pretty good 🙂

I’ve been here 4 weeks now and I think I have adjusted quite well, except for the first few days when my body had to get used to the 12 hour time difference!  Beijing is half a day ahead of Toronto 🙂

I brought a Mandarin Language hand book to help me with the basics of buying food and finding my way around the city.  However, I’ve resorted to lots of made-up sign language, pointing at things and poorly pronounced Mandarin words in hopes that Beijing locals would understand my wavering hand motions!  Lucky for me there are digital cash registers and calculators that display the amount I have to pay!  So a word to the wise, brush up on some basic Mandarin skills if you don’t have a personal translator following you around 24/7 😉

Please note there are some people who speak English, but very little.  However, when you’re in tourist shopping areas, that’s where you’ll hear more English than normal.  Oh my, the difficulty I had trying to set up my cell phone service.  Fortunately, the person helping me called her friend who spoke some English on the phone and assisted with the process.  Whew!

My monthly plan 132¥ (approx. $23CAD/mo):

-66¥ (approx. $11.13CAD) voice and data

  • 50 min
  • 200 texts (I get lots of promo texts
  • 300 Mb (eeeeks good thing I have wifi at the apt and at work)

-60¥ (approx. $10.12CAD) for bbm service

-6¥ (approx. $1.01CAD) wifi hot spot service

Beijing Subway

I take the subway to work, only 3 stops, takes me about 25 min. including the short walk from the station.  The subway is pretty cool.  It has many lines that practically cover the whole city with buses and “street buses”!  Yup!

Image(Not a street car, not a bus but a ‘street bus’!)

Now the only issue is how insane it gets during rush hour.  The subway is more action-packed than all three movies combined!  (Horrible joke…I know…lol) But just imagine Toronto subway during rush hour times 10.  Some stops are worse than others but people are pressed up against each other like oreo cookies!  There’s definitely some shoving and pushing going on and there’s not much I can really do but follow what everyone else does lol.  Luckily, trains come frequently and without any major delays.

A round trip on the subway is 4¥ (approx. $ 0.70CAD) and buses are 1¥ (approx. $0.17CAD).  Another cool thing is cellphone service underground!  But I believe it’s only for 4G phone users (which I’m not L).  The first time I heard someone answer their phone in the subway train I was astonished!  For all the Toronto subway users, you know what I’m talking about lol.

Check out the subway lines:

http://www.explorebj.com/subway/

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My prepaid subway pass.  No cash or change used unless its putting credit on the card or you can buy single passes.

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Jinsong subway station on line 10 right outside my apartment, how convenient!

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Entrance to Jinsong Subway Station

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The stations are huge, lots of walking required to get underground, hence the long escalator ride.

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A busy transfer station to another subway line, also a lot of walking required.

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I can’t remember what station this is but some stations have exterior guard doors, and lots of advertising!

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Tian’anmen Station where you get off to visit their famous Square and the Forbidden City, pics and more info to come!

Other things I though were really cool…lol

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 Tennis ball gum!  Delicious!

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If I brought these on the airplane would it be considered a weapon?!

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A talented wax sculptor making a cartoon figure of a person live!  Amazing…I totally have to get one done of myself!

Well that’s all for now folks.  Thanks for taking the time to share my journey in Beijing.  I am grateful for this experience and will cherish these memories forever 🙂  Thank you Centennial College!  Stay tuned for more…

Soupy

My trip to Spain

I started my exciting journey to Spain on Sept 5. I will stay in the country for six months to learn business courses and Spanish. I hope to understand the economy and culture of Spain as well as other European countries, which will enrich my global business knowledge and improve cross-cultural communication skills. The experience definitely will make me closer to be a global citizen.

My itinerary was Beijing – Zurich -Palma de Mallorca-Bilbao. The flight from Beijing to Zurich left the airport on 1:50 AM. And the total travel time was about 20 hours.

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The Zurich airport is pretty big. I had to wait there for about five hours to take another flight to Palma de Mallorca. I went through the security check and the custom and got one entry stamp (no more at other airports). During the waiting time, I went outside of the airport to walk around in the shopping area and found some interesting things.

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The train to port A/B using the sound of animals as background music. Sounds funny : ) Image

Some special local food.

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The second stop is Palma de Mallorca in Spain. The place is an island with nice beaches.

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Some interesting things found in the airport-strange wall decorations and McDonald green.

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The last stop is Bilbal. And then take a bus to the university of Mondragon.

Travel tips: I did not find any open free Wifi at Beijing and above European airports. People may have to use a local phone number (or Passport) to get a code to use the free Wifi for a limited time,which is not very convenient.

Thanks for reading my post,

-Lin Cao

Arrived at Beijing

It has been 10 days since I arrived at Beijing. Although I had been here for 7 years before came to Canada, it still took me some time to get used to the life in Beijing. Weather, food, language, trafficcould become problems for most new-comers. Moreover, in mainland China, we can’t get access to social media such as FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube, instead,there are QQ, Q-Zone, and Pengyou Net which are quite popular here.

1.      Weather

Winter in Beijing is similar to that in Toronto, cold and dry weather could last from November to next March, and wearing hats, glovesand scarves is highly recommended here. During the first few days I got to Beijing, air condition reached the worst in the year, so I had to wear a mask when travelling outdoors. After the light snow yesterday, the air turned clearer and fresher again. (Those are my outdoor outfits.)
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2.      Food

One of the good parts to be in the capital is that in Beijing, we have a collection of gourmets all over China. Therefore, you caneat Chinese style sauerkraut from the northeast, lamb kebab from the northwest,noodles cooked in different ways from central China, fresh fish and shrimp fromthe coastal area, not to mention those various kinds of snacks. Rice, noodles and steamed buns made of flour are the main food in Beijing. Compared toToronto, meals and dishes are saltier here in Beijing, so every time aftereating out, I’ll have plenty of water. (Those food look nice and taste nicer.)

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3.      Language

Again, Beijing is a metropolis, so it is very common to see people from different countries speaking different languages. Mandarin is used in everyday life in Beijing. However, there are different dialects as well. Therefore,it’s not strange to hear a local-looked person speaking Mandarin with accenta nd a foreign-looked person speaking fluent Mandarin. For new-comers who don’t speak Mandarin, it’s highly recommended to learn some very basic words such as “hello”and “thank you”. And don’t be panic if you can’t speak Mandarin, most peopleaged under 30 can speak some English because English courses are compulsory inhigh school in China. Moreover, local people are very friendly and they arevery glad to offer you help.

4.      Traffic

Traffic in Beijing is my major concern, even though I have my driver’s license in China, I still can’t drive in Beijing. It seems that cars and people are everywhere here and makes the city very crowded. During peak hours, it could be very slow if you use ground transportation. Therefore,Beijing has this complicated but efficient underground subway system. Just seethe difference by putting two maps together.
 
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During this trip back to China, I’ll be mainly in charge of building up alumni network for Centennial College. For alumni of Centennial College, please contact me by QQ:2361731172, email: centennialalumni@hotmail.com or follow us at http://www.pengyou.com/centennialalumni.

Thank you for your concern and I will post more interesting experience and stories later!