Friday, 5 April 2013
05.04.2013 - 05.04.2013
A cold wind with more than a hint of moisture required us to rug up for our outing today. The Silk Market is connected to the Yong An Li Metro station on line 1. The train was crowded when it reached the Xidan station and hardly anyone got off. We were standing well back and decided to wait for the next one. It arrived about 2 minutes later and we managed to squeeze in. It is amazing how the people standing in the train can find room for more.
The Silk Market is a much more civilised place than what we recall from 2005. The market is housed in a six storey building segregated by commodity. One floor has shoes, boots and outdoor clothing. Another floor has pearls and other jewelry, there are also toys and souvenirs, hand bags and luggage. Silk, cashmere and other materials. Optometrists, massage and Oriental remedies. There are tailors for made-to-measure suits and dresses. The stalls are just 3 to 4 meters wide and they pack in thousands of items. One of the most intense was a panda souvenir shop.
Jenny found some suitable items for her friends and I managed to resist the temptation to buy yet another jacket just because it was a bargain. Whether fake or genuine the prices were pretty incredible. We found our way back to the subway with the intention of travelling Westward, the crowds were unbelievable so we decided to travel East to the end of the line and start in an empty train. Even then we were lucky to find a seat !!
We got off the train at the Caishikou station expecting to be close to the Liufichang Cultural street. We didn't find it but did locate a Walmart !! Not like any Walmart we experienced in the USA. The size is about the same but the items for sale are quite different. From the Walmart store we braved the surface traffic and found our way back to the hotel. Along the way we stopped to photograph a very old Catholic Church. The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception colloquially known as the Xuanwumen church was originally established in 1605, making it the oldest Catholic church in Beijing, the current building in the Baroque style dates from 1904.
Spent most of what remained of the afternoon typing up this piece and resting our weary feet.
Went along to 'Happy Hour' again and enjoyed a long chat with 'Billy', he's an engineer from Hong Kong and works for the company that is commissioning another new Metro Line here in Beijing. He speaks almost perfect English and has a depth of knowledge of the Metro and of course the history of the Hong Kong and China relations. He says that Hong Kong businesses are actively branching out into the mainland because Hong Kong is being rapidly by-passed with international trade now dealing directly with mainland cities.
We also said goodbye to our hostess of the past two days, she works two days on and two days off. Felicia has been most charming, friendly and helpful with advice and explanations.
With just two more full days left in Beijing we need to work out what we spend time on. It will depend largely on the weather.
Meanwhile, if you'd like to see my recent images you could try the following link. Recent Images on 365
Cheers ... Tony