Beijing Travel Guide - Page 4
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The Olympic Games start next month, which means Beijing's brand-new Terminal 3 is about to host the world. Open for business since February, one of our readers just flew into the new addition to Beijing Capital International and sent along some photos.
Amazingly, it looks like T3 is still spotless and ready for the rest of the 64 million passengers it's supposed to handle by the end of this year. Prep for your visit with this photo slideshow:
· Uncrowded Airports: Beijing's Terminal 3 [Jaunted]
· New Airports Travel: A Closer Look at Beijing's T3 [Jaunted]
· New Airports Travel: Beijing's Terminal 3 [Jaunted]
Beijing has a rich nightlife scene filled with multi-level megaclubs and basement joints pumping techno and drum-and-bass, but local club-owners say that Chinese authorities are cracking down on nightlife in advance of the upcoming Olympics. Beijing police have begun raiding clubs and have warned that some venues near Olympic facilities will have to shut down during the games due to vague "security concerns."
Club culture has exploded in Beijing during the past few years as China's upper classes have grown. Club owners say they have no fears that the attack on nightlife in Beijing will be permanent, so they're looking forward to a return to business as usual following the Olympic games.
· Outwith: Olympics Threaten to Spoil the Party in Dance Clubs [Scotsman]
· Olympics coverage [Jaunted]
[Photo from a 2006 raid: Daylife]
The Beijing Olympics start on August 8, but the air in China's capital city seems to be thicker than ever. So starting July 20, owners of private cars will only be allowed to drive in Beijing on alternate days; a majority of state-owned vehicles will also go off the roads starting in late July.
There will be other restrictions in place, too, all in the hopes that the city's air will be clean enough for the games:
With 45 percent fewer vehicles on the road, the highly polluting vehicles banned and other measures reducing pollution from gas stations and chemical plants, air pollution will be reduced by an estimated 63 percent, said Du Shaozhong, a spokesman for the city's environmental protection agency.
Let's hope so. This smoggy shot was taken on June 14 at the Meridian Gate of the Forbidden City. For even more terrifying shots of pollution, click over to James Fallows' blog, where a photo from this morning will have you gasping for air.
[Photo: wang qian 02/13/86]
We love Chinglish, so it's with a heavy heart that we report China has standardized restaurant menus in Beijing in preparation for the Olympics. That means no matter where you go, you'll know what you're ordering. (And doesn't that take some of the fun out of a trip to Asia?)
There will be no more "husband and wife's lung slice," reports Reuters: The dish is now rendered "beef and ox tripe in chili sauce." And don't even think of ordering "bean curd made by a pock-marked woman"; that's now officially known as "mapo tofu."
Actually, there is one change we can appreciate. We probably would never order the "chicken without sexual life," but we'd definitely go for some "steamed pullet."
[Photo of mapo tofu: digitalexistence]
A newly announced official cheer should make the case that the Beijiing Olympics will be the creepiest games ever. Officials are teaching 800,000 students the four-part chant and will put together cheering squads to show up at event venues.
Here's how to do it:
Step 1: Clap two times (while chanting 奥运, "Olympics")
Step 2: Hands in fists with thumbs up, arms extended upward (while chanting, 加油, "Let's go!")
Step 3: Clap two time (while chanting 中国, "China")
Step 4: Hands in fists, arms extended outward and upward (while chanting 加油, "Let's go!")
We're already pumped! A video demonstration is right after the click.
This is turning out to be a scary year to hang around movie sets: After accidents on the sets of "Quantum of Solace" and the "Hannah Montana" movie, a stunt man was killed today in a planned fire on a boat on the set of the John Woo movie "Red Cliff."
The special-effects staging had a smaller boat, ablaze, crashing into a larger boat when things turned tragic for a 23-year-old working on the historical epic, Woo's first movie in Chinese in 15 years.
Not apparently injured in the fire was the film's star Tony Leung ("Lust, Caution" and "The Departed" inspiration "Infernal Affairs"). In fact, in none of the above cases was the movie's star injured--or even on the set at the time of the incident.
[Photo: Slice of Scifi]
The best event of summer is undoubtedly going to be the Beijing Olympics. How do we know? China just released a fun "advisory to foreigners" telling visitors what they won't be allowed to do at the Olympic festivities in Beijing this August.
Though it's written for tourists, the advisory was only published in Chinese, so sadly we don't understand everything it says. The parts that have been translated are truly awesome examples of Chinese government strangeness.
The advisory is chock full of tips for optimal Olympic enjoyment. Among other things, it tells tourist what to do if they get "diarrhea or vomiting symptoms" at a Chinese restaurant. The advisory also contains stern warnings against insulting the Chinese flag or smuggling opium. Too bad: We were looking forward to those events!
· China Lists Dos and Don'ts for Olympics-Bound Foreigners [NYT]
· Beijing Olympics coverage [Jaunted]
[Photo: Hunter Walker]
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Our recent foray into Beijing was more of a cultural primer for first timers and Olympics-watchers. But what to do if you need the nitty gritty details like which restaurant pours on the Commie kitsch and which nightclub has an awesome 80s night? The newly released Zagat Beijing has all the info you need, crammed into a super-slim volume perfect for packing.
A couple warnings: Like most Zagat guides, the Beijing book tends toward the pricey, and while we actually think the quote-packed descriptions are cute, perhaps you don't. And when it comes to cultural stuff, the background info in this book is a little skimpy. (Just one paragraph on Tiananmen Square? Really?)
Still, if you're just headed to the city for a week or so, do you really want to haul around a couple hundred pages of Chinese history you'll never actually read? We'd rather just know that Red Capital Club is the place to eat and that we should rock our leg warmers at Alfa.
[Photo: Tim and Nina Zagat]
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How many people with disabilities are there in China? It's a tricky question. The China Disabled Persons' Federation say it's 60 million, a recent BBC report says 83 million and estimates based on the World Health Organization's population model are upwards of 125 million. But discrepancies of few million make little difference in a country of 1.3 billion people, and until now at least, nobody has much cared about the actual number.
In fact, when Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, Britain's Paralympic athlete who's earned 11 gold medals, first went to Beijing, locals would to poke her to determine whether or not she was real.
The expected visit of just 4,000 more disabled people to Beijing this September seems, bizarrely, to have galvanized the Chinese authorities into action over accessibility. In terms of numbers, it's like a pinprick on an elephant's rump. But these disabled visitors are special: They're the Paralympic athletes, and they'll be trailed by 6,000 journalists.
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If you want blue skies in your Beijing holiday snaps, invest in Photoshop. If you want to blow your nose in the city and not turn your hankies black, wear a mask. And if you want clean air, take an oxygen tank.
Drastic measures, sure, but they're just some of those being contemplated by Olympic athletes and their hangers-on this summer. Other cities are capitals of culture or cuisine; Beijing has well earned its title of Air Pollution Capital of the World.
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There's so much hype around the Olympic Games in Beijing that you might forgive the sponsors for counting their Chinese gold medals before they've hatched.
But what's going on at the more modest athletic level is far more interesting. Even NPR reported on the latest fitness fad to catch on with Beijing's women: pole-dancing. (The Chinese gracefully call it "steel-tube dancing.")
In sports clubs and community halls across Beijing, girls young and old are gyrating their hips and swinging their thighs to Western pop music, sometimes paying up to $1,200 for a year's worth of pole-dancing lessons.
Belly-dancing, yoga and bungee-jumping are also at the top of the list of trendy new sports to try. Yep, gyms and exercise salons in Beijing are becoming a voyeur's paradise.
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It was all going so well at April's inaugural event at the shiny new National Stadium in Beijing.
Bottoms were wiggling as a women's 20 km race-walking event got underway. Sexually frustrated male journalists were wriggling in their seats as they watched, and Chinese investors were rubbing their hands in glee. After all, they'd poured four billion yuan ($576 million) into the concrete-and-steel lump. It all looked very promising.
Until the Westerners began to visit the restrooms. A ripple of consternation spread through the watching crowd. Squat toilets, someone whispered. You know, Turkish toilets. State-of-the-art Swiss-and-Chinese design, 36 km of twisted steel and great solar power systems, and the Chinese had installed squat toilets.