Thursday, 6 September 2007

Beijing and What to Do with your Time

You are a local, an expat, an expat spouse or a visitor with no tight 3-day-sightseeing-schedule and have been there and done it all.

So what you do with your free time?

Here is my little BRAINSTORM - so no judgement, just more ideas please:

Learning and practicing
* ... Chinese (two to there time per week is recommended)
* ... Tai Chi / Tai Qi
* ... painting (traditional Chinese Style: ink and wash)
* ... calligraphy
* ... photography (to document the fading beauty)
* ... yoga
* ... mahjong (to get a feeling for decadent but fun gambling)
* ... acupuncture (you might practice after you have your certificate)

Hearing lectures about
* ... Traditional Chinese Medicine / TCM
* ... Feng Shui (not that popular in Beijing)

* Reading books about China, Chinese Culture and history

* Massage (traditional Chinese Foot Massage or Body Massage, no oil - at Tai Pan, Bhodi or Dragonfly)

* Pedicure and Manicure (cheaper than in the West)

* Writing about your impressions for the media back home, local media or on your blog

Meeting people with
* Chinese Culture Club (weekly activities, lectures and trips)
* INN - International Newcomer's Network (monthly meeting, lectures)
* Deutsche Patengruppe (monthly get-together and trips)
* British Club
* several kids groups
* several interest groups that advertise in the local magazines

The different shopping:
* Shopping at the local food market (e.g. San Yuan Le market hall in Sanlitun)
* Shopping at Jiayi cloth market, opposite Kunlun Hotel (stressless than Yashow)
* Shopping at Ritan Office Building (building at the South-East of Ritan Park - in every former little office room is a little boutique with lots of real finds). After shopping stroll a bit through Ritan Park and have a drink at the Stone Boat Bar (at the West end of the park).

The different 'sight seeing':
* Riding the bicycle around the city (between first and third ring road)
* Strolling the hutongs around the Houhai area; rent a boat, bike or rikshaw
* spending hours at Chaoyang Park where children can go on merry-go-rounds and some old fashion fair rides, just walk around the greenery, have a picnic, rent a boat, tent or 'golf cart' (Chaoyang), observe locals working out ...
* ride a boat through the 800 year old canal between Forbidden City and Summer Palace. The tour usually includes stops at the Purple Bamboo Garden and a couple of temples (book e.g. with Chinese Culture Club about twice a month)
* go on a daytrip outside Beijing with the Beijing Excursion Guide by Immersion Guides


This is about how busy you could get as an expat spouse !

Deutsche Patengruppe
International Newcomer's Network
Chinese Culture Club
A Matter of Chi (pricy Feng Shui lecture)
Oriental Tai Pan (massage)
Bodhi (massage)
Dragonfly (massage)
City Weekend (events)
That's Beijing (7 Days in Beijing, events)
Beijing Excursion Guide

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