Thursday, September 30, 2010

Give Gaobedian a miss

BEIJING – If you’re in Beijing, give Gaobedian a miss unless you’re into expensive classical furniture.

I had heard about Gaobedian in east Beijing which was described as an ancient village and Beijing’s version of Cuandixia. I’ve been to Cuandixia twice on earlier trips and really loved it. It’s a 500-year-old village in the mountains about 90k from Beijing.

So one day on our recent trip to Beijing we set off to go to Gaobedian. It was a long trip, starting with a bus ride to the ditie as the subway station is known in China. We then took three different subway lines, with all changes involving going up and down dozens of stairs, to get there. We left the subway station at Gaobedian and followed the signs for a 10-15 minute walk – in the rain no less. What we found when we got there were numerous new buildings constructed in an old style. It looked more like a shopping mall than an ancient cultural street. Modern as it was, it didn’t have a Starbucks (they’re all over Beijing) where we could get something warm to drink.

Gaobedian, as it is now, is essentially a place to buy classical Chinese furniture, and shops had some very nice pieces, but I didn’t go there to look at furniture. It was a big disappointment for me.

The day, as well as the weather, did improve. From Gaobedian we took the subway back to central Beijing and then changed to another subway which took us out to TianTanYuan where we had a very lovely lunch with our friends. The menu included Peking duck (my fav!), chunks of sweet potato dipped in a sweet syrup and then rolled in corn kernels and deep fried, pumpkin sticks and quail eggs pictured above. I wasn’t adventuresome enough to try the eggs, but Jon said they were good.

Going to China?

If you’re planning a trip to China, check out my website, or you can email me if you have questions about travel in China, especially Beijing.

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