Friday, October 20, 2006

When I told my boyfriend I had a short assignment in Beijing he told me, "Bring some toilet rolls."
"Don't be joking. I will be staying in a proper hotel. It's a business trip."
"Well, bring a toilet roll anyway. And some packets of tissue and also wet tissue."
Huh? But, he knows I'm so fussy about toilets and all that's connected to that 'business', and he's been to Beijing before. Everytime I cajoled him into travelling to China and see the Great Wall and the Forbidden Palace he always says,"Later."
When I asked when is later, he said, "After the Olympics." 
"Because they will build proper toilets for the Olympics."
"Is it that bad?"
"Believe me, stock on tissues."
Well, a lot of people have told me about this horror stories about public toilet condition in mainland China. You don't want me to repeat those here, so even though I was unconvinced - I would be staying in a proper hotel and will be visiting proper offices -  I stocked on packets of tissue anyway.
It turned out that I was right, I shouldn't have worried at all. The Shangri-La Hotel in the north west corner of Beijing is a good hotel. The rooms are just like any other modern star-class hotels in the world, carpeted room with huge plush bed in which you can be smothered by the thick and smooth fluffy bedsheets and duvet. The bathroom is very nice, with proper toilet, of course. The amenities are more than in the other hotels I've stayed at in the world. Normally you get shower cap, shampoo, shower gell, comb maybe. Here on top of those you get hair conditioner, body lotion, toothbrush and toothpaste, nail file, detergent and shoe shiner. Plus the internet is free and it's plug and play. Wicked! Anyway, that night I slept very well.
In the morning we went to the client's office. The building looked old. Uh oh. I got worried. But then we went inside and my worries disappearead. A huge flat screen welcomed us in the foyer. The inside of the building looks as modern as any office building in Singapore. At the break after our first session I went to the loo. Opened the door - a big sigh, it looked, smelled cleaned. There were three toilet booths inside. I opened the first. Oh godness. It's not a seat-style toilet, it's a squatting type! Now, I'm not a snob or anything like that. I grew up with squatting toilet back home in Jakarta, though when I was about 10 or so my mum changed all the toilets in our house to the seating-style. So, no I'm not a snob. But my leg is not completely healed yet. I've discarded my crutch but I still can't bend my right knee properly. there's no way I can use a squatting style toilet! Worried I opened the second booth. Same. With sinking heart I opened the farthest one, a bit hidden in the corner. My heart leaped - it's a seating-style toilet! Strangely, while the other two seem to be well used, this one was a bit dusty, like nobody has ever used it. There were cleaning bottles and equipments on the floor in the corner. Oh well, at least it's clean, I thought. But oh no, no toilet paper! Panic, I went outside to hunt for my packets of tissue, but outside near the sink I saw a hug roll of toilet paper. Oh so we have to take some from outside and bring it inside the booth. A huge relief! After this I had no worries at all about toilets during my few days of stay in Beijing, although I made sure to always go to the loo in the hotel or the office before going out anywhere. I still don't want to risk having to go to the public toilet.
That night we went out to the most famous Peking Duck restaurant in Beijing. We sat in the old wing, which looked really like the buildings in the kungfu films dad and I watched when I was small (yeah, dad is a huge fan of kungfu films). The waiters also wore traditional clothes like in kungfu films I expected them to start fighting and flying from floor to floor while we ate. No, they didn't do that and the food was really excellent. Little starters made of ducks, duck this and duck that, and of course the main dish - Peking duck. Yummy.
The second night my colleague and I went to one of the touristy shopping district at the heart of Beijing. It's a fest for the eye. One of the streets was lined with stalls offering dish of every colours and heavenly smell. Honestly though the taste wasn't that great. For Indonesians these food were a bit bland. I preferred Chinese food back home in Jakarta. According to my friend a Malaysian Chinese this is because the Chinese food in Indonesia generally comes from the south. The food from southern China is generally tastier than food from the north. Still it was a good experience to see all those variety of colours and well, materials. I'm Indonesian so I'm used to what westerners would call 'exotic food'. Gibblets are no strange food to me. But here there are more than that - sea stars, sea urchins, duck tongue. So even to me, these are all exotic.
What else do I remember from my very short Beijing visit? The sound, the sight, the smell. The traffic jam, the dusty roads, the high rise buildings, the malls, the crowded public transport reminded me of Jakarta, Manila or Bangkok (not Singapore!), only bigger. A lot bigger. It's unfortunate that I didn't have any time at all to visit the Forbidden City or the other cultural corners of the city which I bet would change my impression of the city. Well next time. When a friend asked me if I'd go again there I asked him if he's nuts. Of course I'd go again. I still have to see at least the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Great Wall and the tomb of Shih Huang Ti!
Beijing, 20 Oct 2006

Posted at 07:23 pm by koeniel


Leave a Comment:


Homepage (optional)


Previous Entry Home Next Entry

female, Indonesian
geologist, diver
photography hobbyist
lives in Singapore

Travel Photo Album

Book Collection

All About Diving

Movie Page

All About Dog

kotak sapaan:



Previous Entries

  • About Books and Films
  • From Diving Trips
  • Travel Notes

  • Sepakbola! Ole Ole Ole!
  • Gempa, Tsunami & Bencana Geologi

  • Tentang Jomblo, Jodoh & Perempuan
  • Tentang Bangsaku
  • Saat Merenung....

  • Keluarga, Teman & Hidup Sehari-hari
  • About Dogs and Puppies
  • Di Negeri Orang

  • Dunia Kerja
  • My Offshore Life

  • Kala hati bicara....

  • Written in English


    Bule Irish
    All About Chocolate
    Dongeng Geologi
    Ekonomi Migas
    Indonesia Today
    Bataviase Nouvelles
    Planet Singapura
    Mimbarnya Pak Mimbar
    A Little Bit of Everything
    Lamunan Sejenak
    Busy Brain
    Di Suatu Hari
    Warung Kopi MpokB
    Razar Media
    Irene's Journeys
    Carpe Dieblog
    Mi Familia
    Deedee's World
    Mia's Lounge
    Qeong Ungu

    'Lounges and Coffee Shops'

    Kapal Selam Underwater Photography
    Kapal Selam Dive Club
    Sahabat Museum
    Sahabat Museum @ Friendster

    Old Musings & Stories

    Dive Notes
    Balinese Underwater Monster
    Butterfly & Layang Layang
    Underwater Countdown
    My First Mola mola
    Mola mola
    Tergila-gila Pada Kehidupan Bawah Air
    Sanghyang, Where Underwater Deities Dwell
    Tentang Penyu
    Life Wins
    Bumi Berguncang Lagi
    Not Just A Shark Tale
    Dari Dasar Laut
    Dari Dasar Kolam

    Travel Notes
    Di Tanah Kering Bebatuan
    The Moon Over Alton
    The Way To Travel
    A Rainy Day in Ambon
    The Irish Experience
    Bukan Hantu
    Kota Bata Merah
    Tentang Penyu
    Kampungku Indah
    Persembahan Untuk Para Sahabat
    Lawang Sewu dan Fullerton, Semarang dan Malaka
    Plesiran Tempo Doeloe
    Mandi Ditemani Pelangi
    Kalau Ingin Menyepi...
    Coretan Musim Semi: 10. Akhir
    Coretan Musim Semi: 9. Menang
    Coretan Musim Semi: 8. Romansa
    Coretan Musim Semi: 7. Hantu
    Coretan Musim Semi: 6. Sacre Triduum
    Coretan Musim Semi: 5. Granit
    Coretan Musim Semi: 4. Pulau
    Coretan Musim Semi: 3. Matahari
    Coretan Musim Semi: 2. Hujan
    Coretan Musim Semi: 1. Semi
    Monument Valley
    Grand Canyon
    Kisah Musim Dingin: 11. Business Class
    Kisah Musim Dingin: 10. London
    Kisah Musim Dingin: 9. York
    Kisah Musim Dingin: 8. Salju
    Kisah Musim Dingin: 7. Aberdeen lagi
    Kisah Musim Dingin: 6. Edinburgh
    Kisah Musim Dingin: 5. Aberdeen
    Kisah Musim Dingin: 4. Ke Utara
    Kisah Musim Dingin: 3. The Field Trip
    Kisah Musim Dingin: 2. Derbyshire
    Kisah Musim Dingin: 1. London
    from the Peninsula: 17. An enlightening trip
    from the Peninsula: 16. War and other things
    from the Peninsula: 15. Back in Singapore
    from the Peninsula: 14. A night on the bus
    from the Peninsula: 13. Back to Malaysia
    from the Peninsula: 12. The City of Angels
    from the Peninsula: 11. Palaces & Dead Soldiers
    from the Peninsula: 10. the train journey
    from the Peninsula: 9. About Penang
    from the Peninsula: 8. The Drive around Penang
    from the Peninsula: 7. About KL
    from the Peninsula: 6. About Malaka
    from the Peninsula: 5. in old Malaka
    from the Peninsula: 4. Green Singapore
    from the Peninsula: 3. About Museums
    from the Peninsula: 2. the amazing Singapore
    from the Peninsula: 1. my 1st trip abroad
    White beaches, Coconut trees, Gorgeous sunset
    Wild Whirling Wet WhiteWater Adventure!
    Gunung Gede

    Book and Film Reviews
    What The [Bleep] Was That?
    Joining The Throng - The Book Baton
    Manusia Kesepian
    Mencari Tuhan
    The Last Samurai
    Coretan Musim Semi 7: Hantu

    Kisah-Kisah Bumi
    Negeri Bencana
    Dongeng Tukang Akik Tentang Gempa
    Bukan Supranatural
    Bumi Berguncang Lagi
    Sekilas Tentang Gempa dan Tsunami

    About Dogs and Puppies
    Home is Where the Heart is
    The Hunter
    The Little Dog and The Sea
    No Puppies for Chocolate
    All Dogs Go to Heaven
    Aku Jatuh Cinta

    16 Besar
    Bola Lagi
    The Underdog
    Euro 2004: Lebih baik menyerang
    Euro 2004: Non Partisan
    Euro 2004: Bukan Dongeng Yunani
    Euro 2004: Kursi Panas

    Tentang Perempuan
    Hari Perempuan
    Katakan Aku Cantik
    Dark Energy
    Oret-Oret Seputaran Valentine
    Masih Banyak Lagi
    Lagi-Lagi Tentang Diskriminasi
    Perempuan dan Lelaki
    Bahagia Menurut Para Ilmuwan
    Si Lajang
    The Last Samurai
    My Frist Shalwar Khameez

    Tentang Bangsaku
    Negeri Bencana
    Jakarta, The Next Atlantis
    Natal Di Kampungku
    Berebut Cepu
    Milik Siapa?
    Indo? Indon? Indonesa? Indonesia?
    Anak Yang Hilang
    A Dark Cloud Over Bali
    Manusia Kesepian
    Bukan Anak-Anak Yang Salah
    Masih tentang Sopan Santun
    Sopan Santun
    Lampu Hazard
    Kampungku Indah
    A Thirst for Knowledge
    Berita dari Aceh
    Bumi Berguncang Lagi
    Ini Bagian dari Kita Juga
    Persembahan untuk Para Sahabat
    Lawang Sewu dan Fullerton, Semarang dan Malaka
    Tanah dan Air
    Pemilu di Kampungku
    TKI vs TKF
    Pemilu yang Membingungkan
    Plesiran Tempo Doeloe
    Orang Indonesia belum layak punya kebun binatang!
    Kalau Ingin Menyepi....
    Sekali Lagi....
    Dunia Yang Marah

    Work Work Work
    Belajar Sabar
    Thank you, SQ
    The Way To Travel
    Topi Sombrero
    A Block in The Blog
    Anak Yang Hilang
    To Jump or Not To Jump
    Mencari Tantangan
    A Thirst For Knowledge
    A Prison In the Middle of The Sea
    Lagi-lagi Tentang Diskriminasi
    Tentang Kerja Fisik
    Graveyard Shift
    Tentang Ruang Pribadi
    Tanah dan Air
    Perempuan dan Lelaki
    My Frist Shalwar Khameez
    Mandi Ditemani Pelangi
    One Usual Grey Afternoon
    Yang Terbaik
    Comfortable With Uncertainty
    Sunsparc or Sunflower
    Sudah Tertawa Lagi
    Masih Tentang Kehidupan di Rig
    Serba-serbi hidup di rig...
    Bad Day
    Sebelum drilling dimulai
    Pride Pennsylvania
    Pasca Kebakaran

    Home Away From Home
    Hot Whiskey
    Balada Si Dengkul
    Rumah Hantu
    Indo? Indon? Indonesa? Indonesia?
    A Block in The Blog
    The Kuatir
    Tidak Sendiri
    Bukan Hantu
    My First Shalwar Khameez
    Masih tentang Pakistan
    Sekelumit Tentang Pakistan dan Islamabad
    Assalamualaikum & Shukriya
    One year Flew By...
    Setahun Berlalu Bagai Angin....
    Hari Ini Dunia Tiba-Tiba Berwarna
    Dingin Tapi Sehat
    Hartland-Kilve Field Trip
    Masih Miskin, dan lain-lain
    Mahasiswa Miskin
    Jadi Mahasiswa Lagi
    Dari Kampus

    Family and Friends....
    Untuk Pak Ton
    Home is Where the Heart is
    Hot Whiskey
    All Dogs Go To Heaven
    Cinta Jilid 1
    Natal Di Kampungku
    Aku Jatuh Cinta
    Balada si Dengkul
    Rumah Hantu
    Tidak Sendiri
    Melindas (Flu) Burung
    Tanpa Listrik
    Dengkulku Somplak
    Dark Energy
    Oret-Oret Seputaran Valentine
    Masih Banyak Lagi
    Si Lajang
    Pemilu di Kampungku
    The Last Samurai
    Mandi Ditemani Pelangi
    Bukan Kacang....
    Setahun Berlalu Bagai Angin......
    One Usual Grey Afternoon
    Dunia Itu Memang Kadang Sempit
    Pagi Setelah Wanarek

  • 2000 Koeniel

    Contact Me

    If you want to be updated on this weblog Enter your email here:

    since 25 March 2006
    rss feed


    You can copy or forward these writings, but please mention the source and provide the link to this page

    Silakan mengkopi tulisan-tulisan ini tapi sertakan sumbernya dan link ke halaman ini

    Clip arts courtesy of Barb's Pic, Barry's Clipart and Microsoft Office Clipart Gallery

    My Favourite Films: