Posted by: Larzizou | June 13, 2009

Beijing, China

Almost a week in Shanghai and no picture to account for it – I erased them all  by mistake. Quick facts and dos & donts:

Around East Nanjing Road, don’t look perplexed or slow down when fake Rolex/designer cloths sellers come to you. Same rule applies when young women approaches you saying “Hi, Mister; you look very/too beautiful”. Same rule doesn’t apply to small group of youngsters trying to befriend you in the subway. Chances they are genuinely curious (I can hardly be mistaken for a Chinese) and friendly. Cheap made-to-measure shirts can be a bargain, when not of dubious quality,  but suits aren’t. The city is ridden with foreigners. Literally. They congregate at night in the Bund nightclubs and its other entertainment venues. In spite of such a large foreigner contingent, it is yet impossible to be understood by taxi drivers. On the overnight train from Shanghai to Beijing, you may meet (too) talkative legal assistants. And that’s about it.

Now, Beijing. I am here for business – Maalox‘ wedding. A high school friend, the dirty pig married Ouin Ouin, a Chinese mademoiselle he met while working in the same hotel as her. A visionary, he’s been living in China for five years now. I am arriving a day ahead of two of my friends, Guyve Sardari Davalou Qadjar and Thomas Denizwater, who will partake in the festivities. In the meantime, I am visiting Beijing.

I reserved a hotel room in shiny Wanfujing. I quickly discover the hotel is akin to many things in Beijing – shiny at first, dirty upon closer inspection. I asked for my room to be cleaned again and again but lose interest after two unsuccessful cleanings. Wide paved roads on touristic axis, muddy back alleys illustrates the recent revamp of the city. The reason is one and obvious – the Olympic Games took place and ended days before my arrival. Indeed, the Paralympic Games ended the very day I arrived. And everything had to be clean.

Can it be shinier than gold ?

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As (one too m)any big city built within the last decades, Beijing – in this area – has no soul. Modern highrisers and malls, Gucci stores and McDonald’s at every street corner…

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It is stunning how many Chinese got to learnt English so quickly. I can tell by comparing with Shanghai. Such a rapid learning experience however bears its part of amateurism; I am not myself an expert on the English language, but advertising is not spared: “All because of you, Chengdu will be great“, when it should be (hopefully) “thanks to you“.

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Taxi-cell or cell-taxi. That’s right folks. I am not really aware of safety issues in Beijing, but this odd device seems to hint at furious crimes. Much less trouble to be understood by taxis here.

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My friends have arrived. Keeping in mind Cassia’s (a Brazilian girl I met on the way from Koh Tao to Bangkok weeks before) advices, I bring them at Nanji’s. Cheap shots and an international crowd is what we came for – and what we find. Below, Master Davalou rather tired.

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Then, a latin club. It moves one’s senses to hear reggaeton live in Beijing.

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You cannot have it all – work endless hours in a bank, travel 10,000km for the weekend, wear business suits in clubs, look handsome and be energetic at 3am. So Denizwater rests in this 70s bubble chair while Davalou thinks about the environment.

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Adapting to the – SHINY – local environment. Silver jacket.

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The splendid Thomas Denizboul. At 4am, he’s back and wants a chicken fajita. Coco banana… never have I heard such a ridiculous club name.

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Tony is the man. The only one. Originally from Lebanon, he’s been living in China for ages, first in Shanghai (a period from which he has many story to tell) and now in Beijing. By the time I am writing this, he has already moved to another country.

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Only the strong survive. Un trio chic de choc et de charme.

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This is when you know you had too many cocktails.

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Champagne is to Tony what paper is to most of us.

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It seems we cannot get enough pictures with Tony. Not the best angle.

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What does a Hong Kong subway picture have to do in that post, you may ask ? I don’t know either.

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Maalox wedding upcoming.

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