Author & Photographer : Alessandro Del Ben
I lived 3 years in Beijing, not in Hotel or big apartment but in a house with a chinese family in the heart of the old city. In addition to chinese language i also learned the culture and the customs of this wonderful city that few people really know.
Do you want to try the real Beijinger lifestyle?
Here 5 experiences let you live fantastic days in the China capital.
1 Try to catch the giants shells of Houhai lake in the heart of Beijing
Although to swim in Houhai lake is formally forbidden, all along groups of strong swimmers diving in its water from very early in the morning.
Swim in the ancient lake of Beijing tone up the spirit and this custom is seen like a tradition which only the brave can perform.
Join the swimmers and get the opposite river of Houhai lake. Take part in sonorous vocalisms which people make from a side to another. Moreover few persons know who on the bottom of Houhai lake of Beijing lives giants shells. I don’t want to say how to capture them, just let you find the way to do. 😉 An advice: they are delicious cooked into wok and adds to chinese noodles!
2 Wake up at six in the morning and have your breakfast in a traditional Chinese restaurant
Go in the restaurants were Chinese people use to have breakfast let you know much more about their daily habits since the morning. Between smells, tastes and voices repeat from ancient time in ordinary Peking tradition. To choose the best restaurant just look at the queue outside, long row means good food. As simple as true. You have no idea about menu? Just watch the other people and make your choice! Don’t miss the experience!
3 Go to Zhongguancun technological District
The Zhongguancun District is an example of China technological resources.
A crowd of young guys be able to make every digital equipment and computers starting from basic components and a lot of raw materials. Big complex of buildings connected each others with thousands of stores inside. A jump in the technology world. The Beijing subway stop just in the heart of this big technological district.
There is a reason why Apple produces in China and Lenovo is one of the biggest top brand. You will understand it in Zhongguancun district, a real temple for who loves the technology. An advice: get a map of the buildings or mind carefully the way inside if don’t want get lost!
4 join a Kung fu Master
Kung fu is China’s traditional martial art with thousands years of history. In Beijing early in the morning ( yes, chinese people use to wake up very early.;) go to Tian Tan Gong Yuan (The Temple of Heaven) in south side of Beijing, which is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The big park sourround the temples complex, in a beautiful atmosphere there are people who play traditional chinese music or do gymnastics.
Here you can find the real soul of traditional chinese gong fu and meet many masters of this great discipline.
The traditional chinese Kung fu is famous all around the world and training this art is very serious and difficult. Many weapons also used in Kung fu like sword (jian), Saber (dao), Stick (gun) and many many others!
So don’t be afraid and join chinese people in Kung fu training forms and exercises, they will happy to teach you! And maybe will start your passion in martial arts! An experience you will never forget.
5 Night Street Food in Hutong lanes
For those who loves the traditional food from six in the evenng in Beijing hutong old lanes people eat togheter on the streets.
This is an opportunity to taste the real street food of Beijing called “Xiao Chi” litterally ”little eat”.
In a colorful and animated atmosphere you can socialize with Chinese people and discover their social and friendly side.
Sitting on a little bench on the edge of the street eating traditional boiled peanuts and green beans, than sheep or pork meat cooked on a spit with Beijing trditional roasted bread (Man Tou).
Drinking beer and play some traditional game like Checkers or shangai. After this you even will be able to speak some Chinese 😉
As an alternative go to “ jiu men xiao chi “ that is the historical restaurant in Beijing where you can meet famous chefs from the capital and know the roots and the history through generations of the real Beijing traditional food.
Author & Photographer : Alessandro Del Ben