Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Central Business District 

Before Jordan left he gave me a box of cards called, "Beijing on Foot." Sunny day today, so I grabbed a card out of the box and took the Line 10 subway to Guomao to do a guided tour of the CBD. The place was pretty dead, actually. When I say "the Place," I refer to the Business district as a whole. There is also a place called "The Place" within the CBD. That place was pretty dead, too, actually. But I did manage to find a place at The Place that was a pretty good place to study.

But as I said, it was all pretty dead. That's Beijing. Nobody ever talks about the "impressive skyline of Beijing." At least, not anyone who has been to Hong Kong or Shanghai. Beijing is trying to change that image, with avant-garde structures like the new CCTV building (pictured here with the Oriental Hotel, which was destroyed by fire recently), but if it's commerce you want, then, in my opinion, Beijing is probably not your place. In China, there are expats who prefer Shanghai, and expats who prefer Beijing. It is not always easy to describe which kind of person would prefer either of those places, but if I ask a few questions, I can usually get a pretty good idea. The Shanghai types do like to visit Beijing, to go to the Great Wall, and so on. But they generally think of Beijing as a boring place. The Beijing types (like myself) do not dislike Shanghai. But they wouldn't want to live there. Beijing is much simpler and more livable.

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