When Anne and I examine our reasons for traveling we usually come up with three: a) To get as far away from work as possible; b) to visit and see things we've heard or read about, and c) to experience other cultures. What better way is there to experience a foreign culture than by mingling with the people in places that provide glimpses into their daily lives. We find the local markets in foreign countries do just that. There we can get a close look at the people as they go about their normal daily routine and also inspect the goods and services that are available to them. We were lucky to have such a market just across the street from our hotel, one that Anne spotted from our room.

After returning from our visit to the Summer Palace we decided to run a couple of errands. First, I wanted to drop the exposed film off for development and there was a camera shop right across the street and next to the local market that Anne spotted. Second, a friend had asked us to pick up guitar pins for her brother from the local Hard Rock Cafe in Beijing and other cities. So, off we headed.

Beijing street scene
The corner in front of the hotel

Tree lines street, Beijing
Many streets are tree-lined and small
l with two or three lanes of traffic

The first obstacle we faced was crossing the street. Let there be no mistake, Beijing is a large city with lots of traffic. Cars and buses fill the highways much as they do in any US city we've visited, but there is also a large part of the population that uses bicycles for transportation. So you have to watch carefully as you cross any road or intersection.
In Beijing bicycles can be and are seen everywhere. Other cities, because of their terrain, aren't as suitable for bicycles and they are rarely seen, but not in Beijing. Bicycle repair is a good business in Beijing and you can see local entrepreneurs with makeshift bicycle repair shops everywhere.
Beijing's bicycles
Rush hour, Beijing
Others are major expressways with eight to ten
lanes of high-volume traffic

Hard Rock Cafe, Beijing
Alicia at the
Hard Rock Cafe

Bicyclists, highway and walkway, Beijing
The roads were well maintained
and had numerous pedestrian
crossovers along the way

Having dropped the film off and visited the market for a short time our next objective was to go to the Hard Rock Cafe to purchase the guitar pins. We decided to jump into a cab for the short ride to Hard Rock which we had passed on the way to our hotel from the airport. We were prepared and had the name and address written on a piece of paper, however, there was a slight problem. In our travels on the bus I had noticed that all of the streets included signs with street names written in both the Chinese characters and English. Our note with the address was written in English and when I presented it to the cab driver it was absolutely worthless. We should have had someone at the hotel write the address in Chinese to give to the driver. We learned that even though the signs are written in English, the average citizen cannot read the signs. Our driver was pleasant though and tried his best to deliver us to our destination. We had repeated the name of the cafe several times and he indicated he knew where we wanted to go, and he headed off in the right direction initially. A few turns later he delivered us to the wrong place, but it was a rock-and-roll night spot so he had understood something. Feeling adventurous we decided to get out and find it ourselves. I felt we weren't to far away and was right. We reached it in about 15 minutes walking, bought our pins and decided to walk much of the way back to the hotel before taking a cab. This time I showed the cabbie the business card with the hotel's name on it so there was no problem and we were quickly delivered to our destination.

Now, about the market. Anne spied what appeared to be a market from our 7th floor room. In reality it was a market, but it looked more or less like makeshift homeless shelters. Pieces of tin and canvas roofing stretched across makeshift walls of one type or another. When she called it to my attention and indicated she wanted to visit it my first concern was safety. Here we are in a foreign city less than 48 hours, we can't speak the language and not having been exposed to many locals we didn't know how we, as Americans, would be received. Let's face it, a few months earlier the Chinese weren't to happy with America when because of the incident where our intelligence gathering plane was intercepted and forced to land on one of their southern islands, an incident that resulted in the death of one of their pilots. I was a little leery at first, but we decided to give it a try and see what happens. We weren't disappointed.

Open air market, Beijing
Open air market, Beijing
Open air market, Beijing
Open air market, Beijing
Fresh veggies, open air market, Beijing
Firendly sales person, open air market, Beijing
Fresh fruits, open air market, Beijing
Fresh fruits, open air market, Beijing

As you can see by the pictures this market was a very interesting place to visit. You could almost refer to it as the Chinese version of a Wall Mart. No, it wasn't modern ... no, it wasn't one gigantic building ... but, yes, it did offer a large variety of items for sale including food, household items, clothing, pets and, of course, a foot court. Anne and I have always enjoyed such markets because you get a really good feeling for how the natives live and they are always such colorful places.

I'm happy to report also that we were very well received by the local people. We were obviously an oddity walking through the market which brought lots of attention from the merchants and their customers. They were very friendly toward us and tried, as best they could, to communicate with us. When I asked to take pictures of the people they eagerly complied. It is true that not all Chinese like their pictures taken as they believe it captures their soul so it is best to ask before taking pictures of the people.

Continue to the next page to see more pictures taken in the market ...

Links to all China and Anniebee's Web site Pages
Previous | Next

Direct Page Links

Welcome to our China 2001 Photo Album
Planning and Getting there: Grand Circle Tours and Northwest Airlines
Beijing : Arriving in Beijing | Tiananmen Square | The Imperial (Forbidden) Palace (1) | The Imperial Palace (2) | The Nine Sons of the Dragon
The Imperial Palace Garden | The Summer Palace | Summer Palace (2) | Summer Palace (3) | Summer Palace (4) | Local Beijing Market
Local Beijing Market (2) | Hutong | Bell Tower | Hutong Family, Dinner and the Opera | Cloisonné Factory | Ming Tombs | Ming Tombs (2)
Great Wall of China at Ba Da Ling | Temple of Heaven
Shanghai : Arriving Shanghai | Yuyuan Garden | Yuyuan Garden (2) | The Temple of the Jade Buddha | The Bund | Day Excursion to Suzhou
Silk Process | The Administrator's Garden of Suzhou | Shanghai Museum of Art
Cruising the Yangtze River : Yangtze Cruise, Day 1 | Yangtze Cruise, Day 2 | The Xiling and Wu Gorge | The Lesser Three Gorges
The Lesser Three Gorges (2) | The Qutang Gorge | Wanxian | The Last Day of Cruising | Regal China Cruise Lines
Chongqing : Chongqing
Xi'an : Xi'an and Emperor Qin's Terracotta Warriors | Emperor's Qin's Terracotta Warriors (2) | Great Wild Goose Pagoda and Xi'an City Wall
Quilin : The Limestone Peaks of the Li River | The Limestone Peaks of the Li River (2) | Guilin and the Childrens Park | Children's Park (2) and Reed Flute Cave
The Hotels: Hotels, rail and air travel in China
Hong Kong : Victoria Peak, Repulse Bay and Aberdeen Fishing Village | Hong Kong at Sunset | Hong Kong Bird & Flower Market
| New Territories Fishing Village | Hong Kong Farewell Dinner
Bangkok : Jim Thompson House and Golden Buddha | The Flower Market | The Food Vendors | Grand Palace | Mystical Figures | Brightly Painted Masks on Mystical Figures
Golden Mystical Figures | Buildings of the Grand Palace | Lunching at the Shangri La Hotel | Loy Nava Rice Barge Cruise | Ayutthaya, Ancient Capital of Siam
Wat Yai Chai Mongkol and the Reclining Buddha | Bang Pa In, The Summer Palace |

Links to other Anniebee's web site pages

Anniebee's Home Page | Annie's Kites | Drewry Family History | Vacation Paradise | Web Design Services

E-mail questions to : ChinaQuestions@Anniebees.com