A Travellerspoint blog

6 Strangers + Beijing = Good Times!

China is officially my second home

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So we left this past Friday at 11pm from the Jinling Hotel to the train station for Beijing. We rode 1st class in 2 separate rooms with 4 beds in each room (4 girls together and the 2 boys in a random room with two other strangers). I quickly passed out in the top bunk and 11 hours later woke up in BEIJING!

Day 1: Arrived at Beijing Forbidden City Hostel after getting in to an unmarked "taxi" from the train station (Don't worry though Parents! I took pictures of his face, license plate and car just encase lol). After we all unpacked we went to the restaurant in the hostel and it was actually really good. I had an omelet with toast for 22 RMB ($3) and then we went to the famous Silk Market with 5 FLOORS OF BARGAIN SHOPPING!!!! AKA DREAM COME TRUE! After I finished buying way too many gifts for people that haven't even reached out to me since I've been here (ah huh! I called u out), a couple of us went to a Chinese Acrobatic show (see videos).

Day 2: All 6 of us met up with Blair’s parents at their boutique style hotel at 8:30 am to get in the tour van for the 1.5 hour drive to the Great Wall. I was surprised that the drive to one of the largest tourist destinations in the world was so scenic and undeveloped. There were many cornfields and the weather was beautiful with a pleasant temperature of about 30 degrees Celsius. Once we arrived at the Great Wall we had to walk a mile to the gate entrance. It cost 70 RMB ($10) for the ticket to enter and the lift up to the wall. We had to push our way through the strip of beggars, pick pockets and vendors that could smell American blood. I thought that the Great Wall would be a serene environment but I was sooo wrong. We got up to the top of the wall, I took my pictures and the thrill was quickly gone. At the end of the day it was just a wall and I made my way back down the mountain and got on a camel (lol).
The rest of the group slowly came back from their personal journey’s at the wall and we got some Subway at the Great Wall Welcome Center (yes, even in China). When we got back to the city we went to a Kung Fu Show at the Red Theater which was AWEFUL! Lol little boys jumped around the stage in halter tops going, “Hi ya!” and the story line was the definition of homo. “Little boy wants to be brave. Little boy studys Kung Fu. Lil boy grows up to be Kung Fu legend. The End”. I walked out of that after 45 mins and went back to the Silk Market.

Day 3: We met up with Blair’s parents again and finished our tour of Beijing with the Forbidden City, Tian en men Square, Heavenly Palace and the Birds Nest. (Check out the photos) Then we got on our 9:30 pm train ride back to our home, Nanjing.

Honestly, I did not want to go on this trip at first because I was so exhausted from work and I was just tired of being out but I am really happy I went. Beijing is HUGE but it was not any different than Seattle or DC. Their were many foreigners so a lot of the interns didn't like going out as much because they didn't get enough attention. I didn't go out because I figured Beijing's club scene would be way better than Nanjing's and I didn't want to go back to Nanjing having experienced REAL clubs. I would rather stay in my little bubble where Nanjing is the only club scene I know (in China and the USA) and too me it is great!

Side Note: Leaving school for a semester and going to China was the best decision that I ever made. My horizons have been stretched apart and I feel like an almost whole individual now. This experience has been more than an internship at a five star hotel or a cool study abroad, it has taught me what it really means to be an American and what my country has to offer. It's funny how the farther you are from home the closer you get to your roots...

Posted by eyeprtty2 07:31 Comments (0)

Done With the Front Desk

... On to the restaurants.

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I am reaching the end of my first week as a host of an upscale Italian restaurant on the second floor of the Jinling. In this short amount of time I have realized some very significant difference between China and the USA when it comes to running a business especially in the hospitality industry. . .

China and the Chinese

- The customer is not always right. If it does not make since economically to please a customer than the customer is out of luck.
- The Chinese will say, "No" to a customer in a heart beat.
- ServeSafe does not exist in China, don't believe what anyone tells you.
- Don't be surprised when they take forever to bring you your check, you have to ask for water and the whole time they are standing right beside your table NOT anticipating your needs.

Pacific was the most frustrating department for me. I felt like I served no purpose at all and the restaurant had maybe 5 tables a night. I don't know how the employees convinced themselves to come to work everyday. But anyway... that segment of my internship is over and done with so on to Housekeeping!

Posted by eyeprtty2 05:16 Comments (0)

The Foreigner Scene

OMG! Who knew China was so small.

So... we have been in Nanjing for almost 2 months now and we have already ran through almost every bar and night club in the city. Everyone knows us everywhere we go and funny thing is, we see the same people everywhere we go. It doesn't matter if we are at Mazzo, House 61, Big Scarlet, Castle Bar, Touch 2, Mix, Richie's or Blue Marlin we will run in to the same crowds. It is as if people are assigned a club and they can only go to that one club every night so everywhere you go it is always the same exact scene. It is still crazy fun though. I have met soooooooooooooooooo many people from ALL OVER THE WORLD.

List of New Friends/Crews
- The Africans: About 30 people from all over in Africa that are all students in Nanjing studying Chinese or Architecture (Apparently the leading Architect program in the world is here in Nanjing). They are all given English names at birth along with their native names and for the most part they only hang out with each other except for the random European girls that tag along because they like the African guys.

- The German Boys: That's Patrick, Chris and the rest of their crew who is actually leaving Nanjing on the 26th of this month but they are always at Castle Bar and almost killed my roommate one night with way too much alcohol (Oh good times). There are so many German's around here though so yes they will be missed but easily replaced lol.

- Giorgio, Marta and the Stalker Chinese Man: These are my Italian friends (minus the latter) who I am with constantly. Marta is Giorgio's flatmate and she is 21 years old, works as a bartender at Jimmy's and teaches Italian during the day. The busiest girl that I know and I absolutely love her. She has awesome curly hair (I could have sworn she was mixed but she is 100% Italian) and the coolest tattoos and piercings.

- The Polish guys: These 3 older men, at least in their 50's are always at Castle Bar and Mazzo. They are sooooo funny because they will dance like they are 20, hip hop style and all. I love them.

- The Russian girls: Their are about 10 of these chicks and they are all at least 5'10 and beautiful! They have the cutest style and are hardcore partiers. They swing their hair around a lot when they dance and resemble a soft core 80s romance film (don't ask me how I know what that looks like!). They always share shots with us and are faithfully at the same table in Big Scarlet.

- The Arab guys: SO CRAZY but they spend money like no other. After the club closes at 5 am we always go get dumplings with them. They are really funny and always argue with us about America and eating pork. Then they pay for our food and we go our separate ways until the next night. Absolutely priceless.

Those are our regular friends at the clubs but every week their are the random tourists. I guess we are considered regulars or locals now. It feels like we have been in China and Nanjing for years. It's crazy how time is flying by.

Posted by eyeprtty2 02:25 Comments (0)

Reminiscing About Front Office

This is my last week at the front desk. Next week I'm banned to the restaurants. Oh how I will miss seeing people... PERIOD.

View Nanjing, China on eyeprtty2's travel map.

So this is my last week in GRO. I am really sad because up until now I have worked in the main lobby area where all the action is and where the coworkers speak the best English. Starting next week I will be moving to Pacific Bar and Grill which is one of the western restaurants on the 2nd floor of the hotel and it is only open from 6pm-2am so I will be working late night hours. That place is busy when it gets 6 tables for the night and no one really speaks English that well in there so I will be doing a lot of self reflecting and Chinese studying... YAY!

It isn't that I don't want to do the restaurant it is just that I will miss everyone from the front office a lot.

I love being in the lobby and seeing all the guests pass through. Swan (one of the receptionist) and I would try to guess what a guest was coming to the desk for. She was always right, I would say "to drop off their key" and she would say "to switch their room". And it was so fun in Concierge when I worked at night and we would see all the "Basement Girls" come in. The "Basement Girls" are the girls in the really skanky clothes and super high heels that go to the unaffiliated KTV Bar downstairs that only men can go to and it costs about $2000 rmb ($300) just to reserve a room. The "Basement Girls" perform for the guys in the private rooms if u get my drift ;^) lol. Robin and Vivian would be so cute about it and say, "Those girls give special massages" hahahha.

Anywho, I will also miss the 10pm obvious time shift in the vibe of the lobby. That is when the Chinese business men start to come in from the bars completely drunk and we have to get them wheelchairs to go to their rooms. Absolutely hilarious! They can't hold their liquor at all.

And now Melissa, Jared and Elizabeth will have to come upstairs to visit me. They used to just stop by the front desk on their way out or to eat and we would blow 30 mins talking about our crazy nights. And when one of us got off of work early we would make sure we got the other people on the first floor off too. Elizabeth would always walk past the front desk and I would say (loud enough for my supervisor to hear) "Eli! Where are you going?" and Elizabeth would say "Oh I got off early" and I would pout and say "Oh well have a good day" and my supervisor would butt in (thank God) "Oh, Sydney go with Eli your work is finished for the day" and I would say "Oh, no I can't do that" but they would insist and eventually I would give in and go. Depending on who got off first this cycle would repeat with me getting Melissa off or Melissa getting both Eli and I off. AWESOME!

Man I hope my girls + Jared don't forget to come get me on the second floor starting next week. ;^)

Posted by eyeprtty2 01:58 Comments (0)

Tour of Nanjing

Slept for an 1.5 hours because I was on a Roots roll but my adrenalin was pumping all day for this tour

View Nanjing, China on eyeprtty2's travel map.

So we finally got to go on our company sponsored tour of Nanjing on Sunday. It was sooo cool. We left the hotel at 7am and rode a 12 person van to different temples in the city. Then after lunch which was at a traditional Chinese restaurant at Deji Plaza near the hotel we went to Purple Mountain.

There we saw a Kung Fu show, watched the reenactment of a traditional Chinese wedding from the Ming Dynasty and saw a Dragon Show. The Dragon Show was my favorite because the little men in the costumes were so cute. There was a part of the show where the dragons jumped from these little metal, circles that were about 6 feet tall out of the water that surrounded the stage and sometimes they would miss the plates and almost fall in to the water. They always caught themselves though despite the huge dragon head on top of them.

We also climbed up Purple Mountain to the largest stile in the area. It was a giant stone that was like 51 meters high (or something like that). Everything was in Chinese so we just made our own facts up for what things were.

Even though the Chinese are not allowed to practice religion that custom is starting to change and many people go to the temples daily. Most of the people are elderly though. It is funny how every temple has a gift shop where you can buy postcards and little trinkets. They really looked more like tacky Chinese restaurants in America then temples.

Check out the pics though and make sure you read the captions because I put some good information in those parts.

That night I ended up going out for my new friend (Mohammad's) Birthday. I had Elizabeth go with me and we went to his friends office to meet his business partners. Then we went to a restaurant that was closed but opened up for us and that was nice because it was a Muslim Chinese restaurant so I was finally able to eat some dumplings that were duck instead of the usual pork. After dinner we went to KTV (karaoke) and Elizabeth sang every song while we all danced. It was a really fun night but we made sure we got home at midnight (like Cinderella) because we both had work today at 7am.

Posted by eyeprtty2 10:55 Comments (1)

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