Sunday, February 28

Let's Burger & Lantern Festival


Burger: The most exclusive and expensive burger restaurant in Beijing...I've heard about it but never tried. Feeling as I felt this evening (for various reasons) I had to try it. And I wasn't disappointed :) I took an Australian classic with 2 huge steaks, an egg and a lot of bacon. Price: 10 euros, a lot in China

but compared to Finland about the same as a Chicos burger...The other burgers on the picture are "normal" cheeseburgers. Kalpene Mäkki!

The place is located in Sanlitun which is the biggest bar district in Beijing. Sanlitun is originally an embassy area and when foreigners were allowed to come into China they could only live around this area. It was forbidden for foreigners to move outside Sanlitun without police escort, thank god it's change a lot (this was in around 1980)

Timo who worked in China 15 years ago told me that Sanlitun had exactly 3 bars, not too much to choose from. Today there are around 300 bars in the area, you can get anything here that has to do with drinks, food and drugs.

There is a big African population in Beijing and they often offer to sell you weed or stuff like that. Lately i've seen the police walking in the street with dogs to smell that stuff, feels like being on the airport or something...

Today is the "Lantern Festival" in China. It's spent with the family over a huge meal. Went to a Chinese restaurant and had a nice meal. The also had Beijing Duck there :) Lantern Festival is also the last day it's allowed to use fireworks...And Beijing is like a war-zone again. The fire them off in the middle of the street and cars have to stop. There is so much trash after the fireworks in the street, I really wonder where they put it all...The air smells of gunpowder and makes me feel like a little kid back in the days when I used to play with firecrackers in Finland.

Lantern Festival traditionally have lanterns with candles inside that you light so that the lantern can fly (works like a balloon/kuumailmapallo). On the lantern you write something

that will bring you good luck for this incoming year...Haven't seen any lanterns here but so the legends tell...

One sucky thing with this Lantern Festival is that it started snowing...Luckily not that cold, just around zero. Come come Singapore with 35 degrees!

Saturday, February 27

Special Delivery!

Sam and James are back in Beijing so we had a small reunion which lasted until 3 am last night. Because I was too tired to make any food today I made a phone call to PizzaHut. It took a really long time for the food to arrive and some of the stuff was missing that I ordered. The delivery guy was super strange and didn't really seem to know anything about things happening around here. After 20 minutes another guy brought the missing stuff...In China you can have everything delivered, some places don't charge anything for the delivery service, McDonalds charges 7 kuai which is just under 1 euro...Hard not to order stuff from there when a Big Mac is 1 euro and a double cheeseburger is under 1 euro...

The doorbell suddenly rang a while ago, I didn't expect any guest or people here but i still opened. It was another delivery guy who had this huge cardboard box filled with all kinds of kitchen ware. The address was mine but I've never ordered anything. If nobody misses it in 2 days I'm just gonna keep the it, thanks for the free stuff who ever ordered it! :)

Thursday, February 25

“Foggy Beijing"

The visa papers were fine but the company who takes care of it had forgotten to fill in some forms online so now I have to wait another 5 working days. Will the waiting never end?!!
Well next week it better be fixed so I can fly to Singapore and have a short beach vacation :)

Spring arrived in Beijing, it's about 10 degrees in the daytime but it hasn't been sunny at all, quite the opposite. It's been so foggy/smoggy that you can't see more than a few hundred meters (picture from my balcony)

Was a car in the traffic that probably thought it's really cool to put all kinds of stickers on it, see for yourself how cool it is. They also had a funny advertisement in ZARA for shoes :D

In some older chinese buildings they still have people sitting in the elevator, you just tell them which floor...must be one of the worlds most boring job and not to mention "meaningless"

Tuesday, February 23

This and that

The last 4 days have been chill, i haven't really done anything else than going to the gym and playing xbox :)
Made some more tailor shirts for a little over 10 euros a piece, on the way they had these local chinese snacks, some kind of bread and duck neck, both were good! Duck neck look worse than it taste...

Today one of the most awesome lunches for 5 euro. It's in a restaurant called Steak Factory and it's about the only restaurant that serve good steaks in Beijing. Anyway, there were 4 courses: Chicken salad, Italian bruschetta, Soup and a T-Bone steak!

To those who were worried about the cat, no reason to worry. My friends mom was happy to accept it into the family. The only one who didn't like him was the old cat who started screaming so much that he had to be taken out of the apartment for a week, aaah jealousy :)

Tomorrow I will know if my visa was accepted and after that i'm gonna sit on a flight to Singapore and enjoy the beaches of Sentosa!

Try to keep the spirits high in the snowstorm back home, I heard it was -19 and stormy and the trains aren't moving. Spring came to Beijing and it's about 10 degrees and pretty sunny here. Goodbye long-johns, hats and gloves!!! Winter is lame but not as lame as this LAMY shop :D

Friday, February 19

Traditional Spring Festival Park

With every spring festival the parks in Beijing are made into markets where people sell all kinds of stuff, have "team-park games", serve famous food from all around the country and different performances like singing karaoke and Beijing Opera.

The park is totally stuffed with people, it's hard to walk or move here, from the pictures you can probably tell why. Entrance fee to this place is only 1 euro and the stuff you can buy is only around 1-4 euros. I bought a really cool lantern and an Osama Bin Ladin mask, will probably get shot if I walk around with it in the States :)

There was a little tent build in the middle of the park where some women were eating snakes and having all kinds of weird snake shows. Was actually pretty crappy so i only stayed for a few minutes...If you check the picture you can see that this woman has a snake down her throat :D

I guess there were a lot of chinese tourists from smaller regions in China because the were staring at me like I was some rare animal they never encountered.

A chinese family with 2 kids wanted to take pictures with and I made this Super Pepsodent smile with my fingers like a \/. I actually wonder in how many chinese family albums my picture is, must be hundreds by now :D

They have been shooting fireworks for 6 days straight now, yesterday was worse than new year itself. They set of the fireworks in the middle of the street and cars had a hard time to pass....It has keep me up in the night and waked me up the morning, argh, please stop already! New year I'm so NOT gonna be in China after the new years eve!

Thursday, February 18


People all over china gather with their friends and family after the new year. Was out eating in a traditional chinese restaurant a lot of good food! In China you don't get a plate with food on for yourself, you have a plate and choose whatever you want from the table. It's kinda like having a buffet, the picture will advice.

On the way home from the restaurant i saw this truck loaded with chinese workers, who needs seat-belts anyway?

My friend just "adopted a cat" and she was too afraid to bring it home while her parents are there because they did not agree to get a cat. She really wanted a cat and came up with a plan...Just
a while ago she brought the cat to my apartment for a few hours to be taken care of. Her parents leaves the house after 6 a'clock and when their not home she's gonna take it there. Tomorrow when the parents come home they will just have to deal with the surprise and the new family member, wonder how that will turn out.

Wednesday, February 17

Nan Shan 南山

Nan Shan, also meaning south mountain in chinese. Nan Shan is a skiing park about 1h outside Beijing by car. The whole skiing resort resembles something from from southern Finland where the slopes are pretty short and you can come down in 2 minutes. I haven't been downhill skiing for around 2 years but still had the skills :)

Because I don't have my own skies or anything else with me here in China I had to rent the whole set. Renting was cheap because they eventually forgot to charge me for it (should have been 2 euros). Getting the shoes was kinda funny, the guy behind the counter asked me how big size and i said 46. First he gave me 42 which surprisingly was TOO small, then i got another pair of 44, also surprisingly too small. After a while he came with something that looked pretty unused and new and they were 51, fit like a glove!

Then the skies: first pair of skies were broken, they kept falling off because of the lock didn't work. The guy behind the counter was like "Nono, i show" but then he also noticed that it was busted and gave me new ones...In Finland this kind of thing would never happen when you rent skies. There is always somebody helping you to fasten the boot to the ski and see that it holds and fits, not something you have to do yourself. I mean if it was my first time to go downhill skiing and somebody just gave me boots and skies I would have no idea what to do and how to fasten them.

Before we came to Nan Shan I didn't know how well chinese people could ski because Beijing isn't really a skiing or winter sport city.
Was it gonna be a life threatening slope where people could barely stand on their skies shouting WATCH OUT BELOW!!!...To my surprise most of the people there were pretty good skiers and boarders. There was only this one kid who obviously didn't know how to break and almost crashed right into me. That kid actually fell 10 meter ahead of me and the snow just flew everywhere but he was alright.

There was one "Black slope" for professionals on the top of the hill and of course I HAD to go and try it. It looked kinda slim from below and when I came up on the top of the hill it was REALLY slim. Just a few meters wide and covered with ice, nice! But i got down without breaking any legs or arms. This whole thing just cost about 25 euros and you could ski for 4 hours including all the equipment, not bad.

Tuesday, February 16

Fancy fancy

After walking around in town we passed this most luxurious hotel that was build for the Beijing Olympic games in 2008. I've heard that this place is suppose to be super fancy so we decided to go in for a coffee. When I came in I almost dropped my camera, it was stunning! Everything made of marble and gold and some of the people working there were foreigners (very rare in china!)

We took a coffee and they were around 8 euro a cup, so far the most expensive coffee I had but it was worth seeing this place. I think it's a couple of hundred euros a night for a normal room here...The salt and pepper jars looked most interesting :P

Out in Sanlitun

Because of the chinese spring festival most shops are closed in Beijing until the 18th. I can't really go traveling anywhere in case I would suddenly get my visa papers...
Last night we went out to a Persian restaurant followed by some bars. The food there was excellent! So much meat that we could not even finnish it and the whole thing cost around 50 euros which is kinda pricy here but it was one of the best meat dishes I've had here! Because the Persians (now-days Iranians) are muslims they are not allowed to drink alcohol neither serve it in the restaurant. So we tok our own booze with us and save some money (this w
ould never be possible in Finland!). After we were finished with our 4 hour dinner there were 2 empty Finlandia bottles on the table, yepp, there surely were some finnish people here!

After the food we went to have some beer in a couple of places, one of them had this live Philippine band playing and they were pretty good. For once it was not only this crappy pop and 90-ties techno like they play in most of the clubs here. The sang golden oldies rock like Guns and Roses etc.

Sunday, February 14


More of that BOOM BOOM POW!!!

Happy Chinese New Year! 新年快乐!!

The chinese new year is the most famous of all chinese holidays. It's like the christmas in the west when all family members eat together and have a good time. The chinese people are one of the best at using fireworks at this holiday. From morning to evening the city sounds like a war-zone with crackers and rockets going of in all directions. I was woken up in the morning around 8 a'clock because some people were sending up those BOOM BOOM things next to my balcony...Luckily it's only 10 days a year :)

For the new years eve we went to this really luxurious SPA just in the outskirts of Beijing. They had great food and HOT Springs! We started by exercising a little with this Tandem/Tridem? bike and all the chinese were looking at us laughing seeing 3 white guys on a bike. After our very intence bikeride we went to enjoy the 40+ degree hot spring and enjoyed some beers followed by a terrific huge dinner. After the dinner around midnight we had a few blasters to send of into the sky. The "firecrckerbox" was seriously as big as my 37" Tv and shot out amazingly beautiful things into the sky. Pretty much everybody had stocked up with these things and after a while the ground was just covered in these used boxes and blown up firecrackers (check the ground on the picture)...Was a really great new year! Gotta love the hot springs!
Timo told me that they have a lot of Hot Springs in Japan on some mountains and you can sit in the spring and look at the mountain landscape while it's snowing and still enjoy a temperature of 40+, gotta do that in Japan (with sake)!

Thursday, February 11

Jingshan Park 景山公园

Jingshan Park is located just next to Beihai Park and has a very legendary story. First of all, the 45 meter hill in the park is hand made almost 1000 years ago so it must have taken a few bags of sand and one or two rocks to build it. Jingshan Park is pretty much connected with the Forbidden City, if you take the south gate of Forbidden City you will come straight into the park. Now this is why this park has a legendary story.

China had revolution back in 1644 and all hell broke lose. The people had been so suppressed by their beloved emperor that they decided to revolt. The people took over the city in no time because the army pretty much joined them (they too were bored with their emperor).
Even though the emperor was generally disliked he still had some friend who told him that the people are entering the palace to kill him. This pretty much upset him so he rushed out of the back door to Jingshan Park and hanged himself in a tree. This tree is still there and it's a real famous attraction point.