Monday, April 8, 2013

One Day Walking Tour.....Beijing Insight Out!

In case you are in Beijing on Sunday Apr 21st, read this event poster.......

The first fundraising Beijing sightseeing walking tour for queers and allies!

So you’ve been in Beijing for a while but all you’ve seen so far is the Forbidden City and just because you thought it was some kind of red light district?
And then again you’re persuaded there’s not much queer life beyond dinners, drinks and dances?

Well it is time to finally broaden the horizons and enjoy the warm Spring days ahead with something different. Join us for the very first fundraising Beijing sightseeing walking tour for queers and allies, a chance to explore known and less known places in the big city and share a day out with a lively bunch of queer folks for a good cause! A professional English speaking guide will lead us along routes old and new, letting us discover some still *closeted* corners of our capital.

The itinerary will be as follows:
Visit Dongbianmen Tower, the last remaining Ming dynasty watchtower

 Brief tour of Red Gate Gallery [see July 2011 blog] , for some fusion culture mixing oil on canvas, ink on rice paper
 Walk along Ming Wall remains
 Dongdan Park (self catered lunch break), no lingering in the infamous cruising area J
 Walk along Dong Jiao Min Xiang (old legation quarter– buildings and St. Michael’s church)
 Police Museum (entrance not included: 5 RMB) for those who like uniforms, weapons, torture and crime

Qian Men 
    Dashilar old commercial street: stories about Chinese arts and crafts (no, there won’t be any “encouraged” shopping!), se. Jun 2012 blog.
Xianyu Kou Food Street: stories about all those weird Chinese bites (no, there won’t be any “encouraged” eating!)


When: Sunday, April 21st. Meeting at 10.45, leaving at 11.00am (plenty of time to recover from that Saturday hangover)

Where: Jianguomen subway station, lines 1 and 2, exit C (south west)

What if: very bad weather/rain/Mongolian sand tornados are expected? Then we’ll reschedule and if the date does not suit you, you will have your money back. But if the sky is gray that won’t count, you know that is just the standard Beijing colour.

How long and how far: we expect to be done by 6.30 ish in the evening. The itinerary is about 5 -6 km long, but you know it’s all flat and it’s all good for your body and soul. And you’ll get some rest during the lunch break at Dongdan Park !

How many: our nice little bunch won’t count more than 20 people, queers and allies both welcome.

How much: ticket is 100 RMB per person. It includes a professional English speaking guide who’ll provide explanations, stories and answers for each stop. It does not include the entrance to the Police Museum , but that one is very cheap. And it’s all for good: all the revenues will go to the Beijing LGBT center. That’s why it’s not refundable, once you did the good deed why would you want to take it back? Anyway, if anything comes up, you can still re-sell or give it out as a nice gift (if so, please let me know).

To reserve your ticket or if you have still some more questions you can email me at . Better not wait, tickets are limited!

Don’t forget: a self catered lunch, a pair of comfy shoes and your sunshine smile. Then, it’s all set for some good fun in good company.
Beijing LGBT Centre
If interested, please write direct to the organisers, mentioning ChinaMango. No prizes for guessing who the professional English speaking guide will be. If you want a personalised individual walking tour, do let me know!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A "legendary" hotel in Beijing- European style with Chinese characteristics

From the outside, you might think this was a street in Paris or London.
 However, if you look closer, you'll see it's all a copy of 19th century European architecture.
It is a grand 5-star hotel in Beijing which opened 5 yrs ago, and worth taking a look inside, if only to get an idea of what rich Chinese think is good taste.
As one tripadvisor reviewer said "...This hotel reminds me of the old time world charm palaces. The entrance is spectacular and the atrium lobby is simply breathtaking. The spa was unbelievable...beautiful Roman marble columns with glamourous touches everywhere you look. Really stunning in many ways...."
Another guest said "..The Lobby is MASSIVE with enough marble to cover all of Italy .The unique antique French Chateau Fireplace Mantle is the Lobby eye catcher..."

Yes, so many words could be used to describe the feeling inside...classy, amazing glamour and hype, fabulous, OTT(?), palatial, imperial even....
17-story atrium
Imagine yourself as a European King or Queen as you walk around your palace.

As their website says, "....Imported from Europe, antique furniture and decorations are featured throughout the hotel to create a truly opulent, neo-classical ambiance. Fabrics are rich in texture and colour creating an elegant, and instantly tactile, experience...."

Several antique pieces are on display... they wouldn't look out of place at Versailles or the Louvre!

In the shopping arcade there was even a bridal costume store.......
...which is handy if you happen to be holding your wedding party in the hotel, as this couple were, Chinese style!

The website says, "...the 746 sqm-ballroom replicates the Versailles’s magnificence and Classical taste. Extremely spacious at the height of 6.6 m. the natural and graceful way of decoration exposes the luxurious and unique taste. Nine shining crystal chandeliers add to the splendor even more brightness...."

Signatures on the wedding "guestbook", not at all in classical style!