Our day 4 program:
» Fresh Water Pearl Centre
» Beijing Olympic Park
» Silk Street
First destination: Fresh Water Pearl Centre
Similar to the jade shop, the silk shop and the crystal shop we visited before, it was one of the must-visit places if you follow a tour in Beijing. I suspect that was the only reason the shop was still doing business. I mean, first of all, the location was really weird. Who would open a jewellery shop right in the middle of a sports complex where nobody goes to? During the Beijing Olympics okay laa.. got people to come, but now? If not for the tour buses, it would’ve gone terracotta. Hehehe…
The young guy on the right was the manager of the shop. His story was that he has to take over the shop (against his wishes) from his brother who has moved on to open another shop in Shanghai, I think. He was more interested in jade than fresh water pearls.
Because of something which I can no longer remember, he gave us a pearl ring each and discounts on the items on display there. Quite unbelievable discounts too, actually. Something like 80% of the original price. Since I couldn’t really resist the temptations (yeah, I’m really bad when it comes to shopping), I actually bought one pearl bracelet each for my mother and sister. They will only get them during hari raya this year, however. Hehehe…
Next destination: Beijing Olympic Park
Yes!! Another China’s landmark which was on top of my must-visit list. The Beijing National Stadium, or more popularly known as the Bird’s Nest, was as impressive as when I first saw it on tv during the 2008 Summer Olympics. I think it was the most unique and most beautiful olympic stadium ever!
I would have loved to be there during the opening and closing of the 2008 Summer Olympics.
While the Bird’s Nest looked imposing in daylight, the Water Cube was anything but. It was still an outstanding and eye-catching structure but the Bird’s Nest simply overwhelmed it. Judging from the photos of the Cube on the internet, it’s definitely a different story at night.
Some of the guys actually came back at night for some more photo shooting. Now why didn’t I go with them?
Did you know that you can actually enter both stadiums? I didn’t!! Damn! What a disappointment.
Next destination: Silk Street
After lunch, we went to one of the most famous shopping places in Beijing, the Silk Street. Clothings, souvenirs, handbags, electronics, shoes, fabrics… whatever you want, you can find most of them here. Outside, it was packed with buses. Inside, it was packed with people. White people, brown people, black people, yellow people… just too many people.
One thing I don’t like shopping at this place is that the moment you asked the price of an item, you must bargain for it. Browsing is fine, but the moment you open your mouth and ask how much, that’s it man… you have to bargain until you reach the price you think is cheap or reasonable, or they tell you to go away if they don’t like the price you offer.
We walked around, looking at every stalls on every floor, a bit scared to ask the prices, and in the end, I just bought some fridge magnets. They have some really very nice items there but I just couldn’t bring myself to bargain for them. Bargaining is not my strong point, just so that you know. So while some of us went shopping, the rest of us just lepak lepak at one coffee shop and had coffee till it was time to leave.
We went to dinner after that.
Our guide, David, informed us that he will send one person to our hotel that night with items such as t-shirts, souvenirs and table cloths which were way cheaper than what was sold outside. It turned out that the lady who came could speak Malay fluently and the items she brought with her were indeed cheaper.
The others borong everything she brought with her. I only bought table cloths for my mom
Nice, huh? They will be covering the tables during hari raya this year. Hehehehe…
You can view the photos for day 4 here (unfortunately, not very many of them): Beijing Trip 2013 – Day 4