If you need to stay near Beijing’s Airport, the Crowne Plaza is a good choice. It’s not as expensive as the Hyatt and offers a free shuttle outside gate 5, which leaves ever 30 minutes. I checked out the Ibis Hotel, but the photos shown online posted by guests indicated that the rooms had a lot of wear and tear.
I knew I’d be exhausted and wanted a clean, quiet, comfortable room. I got that at a good price, since I used my affinity club points ($40). All the non-smoking rooms were booked. I naively thought nowadays a smoking room wouldn’t smell. Wrong. The first room I was taken to had a cigarette stench. Yuck. I told the bell boy this was more than I could handle and I wouldn’t be able to sleep. A few minutes after talking to the front desk, I was in a bigger, more fresh smelling suite. I was delighted by their prompt service and ability to make sure I was happy and able to sleep well.
As a Priority Club member, I was entitled to a free welcome drink. Here’s a tip. Remember that China’s wine isn’t the greatest. Don’t order it as it just won’t match what a Westerner is used to. Get a beer or soft drink. It’s not the hotel’s fault, they aren’t in the wine business. Since I was leaving the next day for Jinan, the airport hotel made sense.
If you’re staying to sightsee, go into the city, the closer to Tianamen Square the better.
Japan: cakes filled with bean paste – cute, but too sweet for me
High tea in Bangkok – coconut cream pastries
Shanghai: Macaroons and candy
A favorite: Scone
Mango and sticky rice in Thailand
Suzhou, China: pretty but too sweet
Ailsa, creator of Where’s My Back Pack?, offers a weekly blogging challenge in the form of a Travel Theme. This week’s prompt is “sweet.” So many choices, but I’ve decided on this cheese cake from the Hotel Mercure’s brunch, a favorite weekend treat.
In China there are local sweets, but I thought I’d honor their pastry chef‘s expertise.
To see more interpretations, click here and look at the comments and links.
Last week I visited the 798 Art Space in Beijing. I’m proud of myself for getting to this place beyond the subway system using public transportation rather than a taxi. Just take the subway to Dongzhimen and then take bus 418 or 688 (1 yuan) to 798. If you show the fare taker “798,” she’ll make sure you don’t miss the stop.
I visited 798 a couple years ago and I remember it as being less commercial. There were cafés, shops and restaurants, but there seemed to be more art. Also, now there were a few galleries that charged entrance fees. I haven’t seen that anywhere, let alone in a country with so many great free museums, so I passed them by. Still this extensive area with dozens of galleries is a great place to wander.
Anthony Bourdain seems to be everywhere, not just everywhere in the world but everywhere on TV. He’s the center of ABC’sThe Taste, the Travel Channel, PBS’ Mind of a Chef and now CNN’s Parts Unknown. The series premiered with Bourdain heading to Myanmar, a country I’ve wanted to visit for years and years, but couldn’t as I didn’t want to support that military.
In episode 1, Bourdain travels to Myanmar, a.k.a. Burma. As you’d expect he meets up with interesting folk over enticing food. Many of his interview subjects had been imprisoned when the military was keeping tighter constraints and they openly discussed politics, their experiences and their expectations for the future.
After a few days in the capital, Bourdain and his mentor take a clunky slow train to Bagan. The town of Bagan looked so inviting and untouched. Yet the train ride seemed so risky. Perhaps when/if I visit Myanmar, I’ll skip the trains, though air travel isn’t much safer.
The episode was fascinating and Bourdain’s insights were wry and wise.
The series is off to a good start, though I’m not sure I’d spend the time on the second episode, which is L.A. Yeah, L.A. has its bizarro pockets and its elegance and diversity, but who doesn’t know that? I watch travel shows to discover places I can’t easily get to myself.
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Edbeds.com is a way for educators to save on accommodations when traveling. The website lists and describes members’ beds and rooms that welcome guests, who must be teachers, for just $49 a night.
I haven’t tried this because I don’t have accommodations to offer now. My apartment in China is too small and the school wouldn’t be keen on this sort of hospitality. Perhaps once I move to my next job, I can try this.