Archives For travel to China

Always Read the Signs

November 15, 2018 — Leave a comment

For those of you that have read many of my blogs, you know that sometimes I like to share with you some of the interesting signs I see while traveling. Well, this blog will be dedicated to some of the more eye-catching signs I encountered during my last visit to China. Would you like to see them?

Always Read the Signs - BeauSides.com

If I were going to title this sign, I would call it where Montezuma’s Revenge meets Mao’s Revenge! If you have a weak stomach, I would not recommend eating at this restaurant!

Always Read the Signs - BeauSides.com

The photograph above was taken in a restroom! Many would think that this potentially awkward and embarrassing situation could be removed with some scheduling considerations, but that isn’t always how it works out. Oh well, at least people receive a fair warning!

Always Read the Signs - BeauSides.com

This sign was taken as I waited in line for a taxi at a train station. Yes, we should always try to avoid the irregular taxis!

Always Read the Signs - BeauSides.com

We have fake news and fake money in so many places!  Actually, taxi drivers and store clerks are skilled at recognizing “fake money.” I have actually given a bill to a store clerk and they told me the money was a counterfeit. The amazing thing is that the bill was one I had just received from a bank, and I am reasonably certain the banks are not passing out counterfeit money!

Hopefully you enjoyed this edition of interesting signs I spotted while traveling. As usual, I want to encourage you to travel when you can, and read the signs!

Today I wanted to share with you some scenes from my last trip to China. With China having the oldest culture on the planet, it is interesting how the Chinese hang on to some of their older items. I have been in a nicely renovated train station complete with a modern looking brick exterior, and some of the original touches remaining on the interior. Would you like to see an example?

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The ceiling in this lobby area was extremely high, maybe fifty feet or more. The stained glass windows were absolutely gorgeous, so I can understand why this area was kept intact! The layers of crown molding were quite impressive as well!

As we were boarding our train, I noticed other trains on their designated tracks. One of the trains I noticed had a yellow and red engine pulling the train. As old as they are, these older-style engines are still a fairly common sight on the tracks in China. Just beyond the older engine, you can see the green boxcar. This represents a fairly old train, but from my experience, I can say it is the most commonly used type of train. The newer trains are white and much more aerodynamically designed. Would you like to see a couple of generations of trains in China?

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If you are traveling in China and you have an opportunity to take a train, I would encourage you to travel on the train system. They are very reliable, cost less than flying, and my experiences have been that you will always meet some very welcoming people!

Have you ever taken the train in China?

Perhaps you have heard that the bicycle rental industry is doing amazingly well in China. In fact, in Beijing, the citizens are getting frustrated by some of the bike rental companies that display their bicycles at a narrow location in the sidewalk. This greatly reduces the amount of space for the pedestrians and, yes, even cars. Yes, cars and motorcycles do drive on the sidewalks in China! Oh, and they park on the sidewalks also, so you must always be on the lookout for moving objects of various sizes and speeds headed your way!

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Although the rental bikes are very popular, I have found a potential problem, as you can see in the photograph above. The bicycle rental companies have an app for their clients to download, and this app does many things. It will locate the nearest bike for you, accept your payment, and give you the code to unlock the bike. Well, I am not sure that the app has a contingency plan for when your rental bike has a flat tire. Does anyone know how to resolve this issue as a client using the app?

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China has done a wonderful job of putting signs in travel locations, like the airports, in Chinese and English. During my last trip I noticed a sign that caught my eye. I used a smaller railroad station this time, and it is called the Beijing East Station. Unfortunately, the sign in the photograph above doesn’t quite give all of the information needed if you wanted to use this station’s name again. The word “dong” in Chinese means east, so if you didn’t know that, you wouldn’t know that the name of this train station was Beijing East. That one word may make a huge difference in your next trip or having someone pick you up at the station! Hopefully all of the signs will be completely translated very soon!

Enjoy your traveling!

 

For this blog post, I thought I would like to share with you some of the unusual sights I saw during my last trip to China. Some of them I can explain, and some of them you will have to decide for yourself what the reason or intent of the object photographed was. Are you ready for a quick trip to China?

A Photographic Journey of Interesting Sights in China

In the photograph above, you will find one of the pictures where I will let you decide about the intent and reason for the construction of this chair. It certainly appears to be durable and suitable for the outdoors!

A Photographic Journey of Interesting Sights in China

Being an old bald guy from Georgia, I had to show this photograph. This is actually a common sight in China, but can you figure out why? I am not sure about all of the details or origin, but the peach is a sign of longevity and the baldness is a sign of wisdom, so this statue in this restaurant was placed there to wish their customers a long life full of wisdom and prosperity.

A Photographic Journey of Interesting Sights in China

One of the ways you can tell when you are in an older district of a city in China is by the wiring and cables you can see. I feel sorry for any technician that is sent out to diagnose an electrical problem in the area!

A Photographic Journey of Interesting Sights in China

Since we serve children in China, I thought I would end with a photograph of a new friend I made at an airport in China. She was all decked out with her summer hat and getting hydrated for her trip!

 

What’s the most unique sight you’ve ever seen in your travels?

In other blogs I have written about the Beijing’s Capital Airport — more specifically, terminal 3. Terminal 3 is the new section built for the 2008 Olympic Games, and it is as impressive as the Olympic Games were that were held in Beijing.

Today I want to focus on the massive size of terminal 3. It has 3 main sections, with the terminal itself being the area for ticketing, checking in, exchanging money, restaurants, shops, and an area for claiming your luggage. Then there is one area for domestic flights, and another one for international flights. Would you like to know how they are all connected?

Beijing's Crazy Big Airport - and Terminal 3

Farther than you can see, the train runs between the different areas of the terminal. As you can see in the top section of the photo above, there are also buses that service the areas.

Beijing's Crazy Big Airport - and Terminal 3

There are bridges going over the train, and these are for motorized vehicles as well as pedestrians. By the way, the trains run on electricity, so they don’t produce any exhaust. This is wise, because when they pull into the terminal, nobody wants to inhale exhaust fumes.

Many things are large at terminal 3. Even the murals are huge, as you can see in the photo below!

Beijing's Crazy Big Airport - and Terminal 3

If you ever have the opportunity to use terminal 3 at this airport, I think you will be impressed by it!

Have you ever flown into Beijing?

 

 

In Beijing, there are many options for transportation even if you don’t own your own car. Obviously, you can walk or take a bike, but many other options exist too. For those who want to avoid some of the street level traffic, you can utilize the subway system. The streets also offer many different types of taxis. You have your traditional cars, smaller bicycle-powered chariots, and motorcycles that are converted into small carts with a cabin mounted on the motorcycle. As with most major cities around the world, Beijing offers an extensive bus system as well.

Today I wanted us to focus on the trolley type of buses used in Beijing. They have long arms extending from the body of the bus to the cables running along the roads above the streets, and they can hold more people than you would think!

Transportation Options in Beijing

Honestly, with all of the cables and wires above the streets, I have no idea of how these keep from getting tangled with other cables, but they don’t. As you can see in the photograph below, the bodies of the trolleys are shaped very similar to a bus.

Transportation Options in Beijing

From someone who once lived in Beijing in the summer, take it from me: when the buses are crowded on a hot day, they can be stifling inside! You can see what I mean in the picture below! I did feel sorry for the lady by the window, as she looked quite cramped and in need of a fresh gulp of air.

Transportation Options in Beijing

One very interesting thing I have seen on buses in Beijing is what I call “slinky” buses. By that, I mean they are extremely long buses, like two buses connected by a flexible middle section. Not only is that impressive, but some of these buses actually have old hardwood floors! I have never seen that on a bus before!

If you use common sense, you should feel safe on the public transportation in Beijing.  I have never had a problem traveling there, and hopefully you won’t either!

Enjoy the trip!

 

Some don’t know this, but Beijing actually has two public airports. Everyone has heard of Beijing Capital Airport on the northeast side of town, which has the huge new terminal built to handle the influx of travelers for the 2008 Olympics. But did you know there was also another airport on the south side of Beijing?

Did You Know Beijing Has Two Airports?

The southern airport is called Nan Yuan Fei Jie Chong, and it was once a military airport. When I first started using that airport several years ago it had some amazing charm to it. One of the most interesting things about it was how a tractor with a flatbed trailer would haul the luggage, unloaded by hand, to a barn. The people would walk into the barn, and then the tractor would bring in the luggage. From there, you would exit into a parking lot, where you would argue and negotiate prices with a group of taxi drivers. Believe it or not, it really was a lot of fun going back and forth with those guys. It would always end with laughter, a couple of pats on the back, and a thumbs up.  Another interesting thing about this airport was how you would see old military plans parked around the airport.

Now this airport has undergone massive renovations, and unfortunately, it has lost some of the charm it once had. Your luggage now comes into the terminal on a conveyor belt, so no more barn and tractor. Also, most of the vintage military plans have been moved. Additionally, there is an orderly system of getting a taxi now, and you don’t have to negotiate with the taxi drivers.

The terminal itself is now much larger and more modern. There are several gates now where there was once only a couple, and there are many shops within the airport where there once were none that I remember. Ahhh, I guess this is progress!

Did You Know Beijing Has Two Airports?

One of the more interesting things that is still consistent with the updated facility is the loading process. You still exit the terminal’s gate, get on a bus, and drive on the tarmac where you board your plane via portable steps! It truly is an interesting process to enjoy!

Have you ever been to either of the airports in Beijing?

What do you do after flying across 12 time zones and you have to wait on a connecting flight as you try to stay awake? I like to walk around the airport and look for interesting sights. Something that I can consistently find at the Beijing Capital Airport is unique paint jobs on the aircraft taxing around the buildings!

Interesting Paint Jobs at the Beijing Airport - Air China

Often I can find new designs or bold colors, like the aircraft above. Then again, I may find some interesting logo or flags.

Interesting Paint Jobs at the Beijing Airport

I have seen planes painted to look like a dragon, and I have seen another painted canary yellow, which really caught my eye.

Interesting Paint Jobs at the Beijing Airport

Yes, I can find some interesting paint jobs! And I apologize for the quality of the photos — they are taken through a window, and the air quality in Beijing can be an issue at times.

As I watch the planes take off and land, I think about how many pounds of thrust the engines must produce to get that much weight going fast enough for the required lift to take place to get the plane off the ground. Fascinating to me, but some travelers never want to think about that aspect of their flight’s safety.

What do you find most interesting about air travel today?

There are sights to see almost everywhere we look, even at an airport in a country where you have visited many times. If you have followed my blog posts, you will know that I not only encourage people to travel, but to have a camera ready when they do travel.

So, there I was standing in the security line at the airport when I noticed the most unique backpack I think I have ever seen being carried by an adult! It truly caught me by surprise, and since I am a dog lover, I liked it very much! Check it out below!

unexpected-sights-backpack

Another image that caught my eye not long after getting through the security line at the Beijing Capital Airport was for marketing. I think most of us know who Michael Phelps is, and apparently so do the people in China. After the scandal that rocked the Olympic Swimming Team, it is good to see that some are rewarded for not “messing things up!”

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Don’t forget, travel when and where you can, and have your camera ready.

I regret not capturing some of the sights I have seen, because I didn’t have a camera with me and ready to use. There have been many other mistakes I have made, so keep reading my blog posts and you can learn from my mistakes!

What’s the most interesting sight you’ve seen — that you missed a chance to get a picture of, because you didn’t have your camera ready?

Friends are a good thing to have!  Anytime and anyplace, having friends you can count on is a wonderful feeling. Who knows, they may even help you from time to time — that is what my airport buddy does in China.

Over the years, I have had many interactions with a man in the Beijing airport.  I don’t know his name, and he doesn’t know my name, but we recognize each other when we see one another. He solves a problem for me, and I appreciate that very much!

How My Airport Buddy Helps Me Out

To exchange American currency into Chinese currency when I go to China, I like to go to the Bank of China in the Beijing airport. Other money exchange booths charge unwanted fees, and I am sure the Bank of China has the correct exchange rate. The bad thing about using the Bank of China at the airport is you have to wait a long time in line. They do personal banking and business accounts at the bank, so the line can sometimes be quite long. Also, it can be quite hot waiting at the bank in the summer.

My friend in the picture above not only does the transaction right away, but he also doesn’t charge any fees, doesn’t record your passport information, and gives me a slightly better rate than the bank. Additionally, there are no forms to fill out when dealing with him. For the life of me, I don’t know why the bank lets him hang out around their lobby and take clients away from them, but they do. They even let him use their money counter, which sifts through the bills and counts them quickly. All you have to do is give him your American dollars and he will give you Chinese currency. He is must faster than the bank, and that is wonderful when you have a connecting flight.

I always feel safer on the streets in China than I do on the streets of America. To show you how safe it is there, he walks around with a satchel of money and a suitcase full of money.  I used him on my last trip, and he even let me take a picture of his “vault!”

My Airport Buddy's "Vault"

Have you ever needed to exchange currencies in a foreign country? Did you find someone as helpful as my airport buddy?