Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Sunday 13th October - Beijing

A lazy day. Woke late, breakfasted in the hotel, surveilling the city, read the English language papers. Some clothes washing in the marble edged bath in our room. This is five star flash-packing. 

Then we wandered up town to visit Yashow market in Sanlitun village. Haggled for clothes, and electrical gadgets. Didn't buy any North Face, Columbia or Arc'tyrx fakes, despite starting prices of about £15 for a decent looking soft-shell jacket. 

The big western retailers have moved in here, there's a nike store, a Uniqlo and a huge new Apple store. A block further north and things go a bit luxe, there's Versace, McQueens, Armani, Longchamp, Louis Vuitton and Paul Smith, but it's all a little bit quiet here. Where are the newly rich Chinese that we've heard about? Surely they should be here on a Sunday, buying Smith/Lobb shoes at twice London's £750 asking price? [ed. They're all in Shanghai. 21/10]

Time for refreshments. Sanlitun is also home to a few more interesting bars. There seems to be something of a trend for Belgian beers here, and so to Tree. So named because the bar/pizzeria has been built around one, that sticks up through the roof. First a Chimay white, then a Leffe Blond with a pepperoni on the side and we're ready to move on.

A bar with a tree, and a few of my favourite things.

Next up, it's Bookworm, established by an expat, this is my idea of heaven. It's a bookshop, but it's also a bar where you can browse secondhand titles, in English, Chinese or several other languages, whilst supping a lovely locally brewed IPA. 

Here's Anna pointing out her review copy in the Beijing Time-out, only slightly surprised to find it here.

Then it's time to head back to the ultramodern towers of the business district, but strengthened by a couple of jars, we steer a course through the backstreet markets. What a contrast. This is the old and the new rubbing right up against each other.
In the background the landmark CCTV tower, next to Hotel Kerry.

And finally....Happy Birthday Debra!

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