Part IV: Hello Wangfujing

DAY 1 (Afternoon): Aug. 22, 2006

After we checked-in our baggage at Tiantan Hotel, we went to Wangfujing District, the most famous shopping and modern street. Getting to this place was pretty easy; we just took a taxicab on our own. The driver doesn’t speak English, luckily we had the address written in Chinese and showed it to him.



This is Beijing's busiest commercial area. Cars and other motor vehicles are off-limits. There are over 200 shops along this 810-metre-long street and an area of about 810 square metres.


Then hb and I parted ways, he went to
Beijing Foreign Languages Bookstore and I perused some novelty shops but I followed him after a few minutes since nothing really took my fancy. The bookstore's ground floor is a bit small where you can find the children’s section. I saw the staircase leading to the upper floor but I was too tired and lazy plus my right Achilles tendon was starting to ache.


(HB mentioned that the books on the upper floor have dictionaries, travel guides, maps, novels, poetry, cookbooks, books on ancient and modern art, and there are volumes of Chinese literature translated into several languages. One big disadvantage is that most of the books are written in Chinese).
I decided to wait for him outside. I saw some benches on the side street, decided to sit there and mingled with the locals. The main street is pedestrianized, ideal for browsing, people watching and taking pictures, and that’s what I did. Around late in the afternoon, you can already see the entire street crammed with people.

Then we went off to look for a restaurant
where we had our super late lunch. Coincidentally, we found a nice fast food along Wangfujing Street. I ordered Thin Sliced Beef Noodles for RMB 11 (Php77.00) and hb opted for Pork Stir Fry RMB 15 (Php 105.00).


Customers make purchases using a prepaid stored-value card. You buy them at the “ card counter”, then used as an alternative to cash as payment for food. Then you give it to the fast food sales persons and they'll swipe the card over a device and the money is subtracted. If you still have change, it's refundable at the "card counter".

 

There are also small alleys that we discovered. It's on the other side of Wangfujing Street, selling chopsticks, Chinese brushes, silk bags, dolls, vases, trinkets and other novelty items.





There is also another lane which has variety of food offerings.


We saw Olympic licensed products already released in Beijing Artistic Mansion and in some department stores. They have an array of badges, bags, stuffed dolls and pens to handicrafts. For sure, it will be a hit in 2008 for worldwide visitors coming to Beijing.



T
hen we went to Wangfujing Bookstore, one of the largest bookstores in Beijing. It has 6 floors level. Mainly Chinese but has a large selection of Chinese literature translated into English.

On the first floor is a large array of reference books, English dictionaries, English teacher resource books, and various Oxford guide books (to sailing, geography, history, linguistics, philosophy, etc).
You can also find books for studying the Chinese language and some maps and guide books in English.

Credit cards are accepted in the bookstores and many of the larger shopping malls.

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