The Next Best 7 Wonders of Beijing

This post is in response to the article on the 7 Wonders of Beijing.

Blue sky days, Mc Donalds delivery, Taobao and Ayis, are few of the seven wonders that the author mentions in his article on thebeijinger. Well, here is the list of the next best 7 Wonders of Beijing.

1. Pyro Pizza

Like all good things, this amazing pizza place, is located in the Wudaokuo district. Offering the most amazing pepperoni pizza, and the most exciting menu, Pyro also delivers right to your door step. Celebrations or no celebrations, good times call for some Pyro!

2. BLCU/BFSU

These two universities are among the most famous universities for foreigners. Located in the Haidian district, majority of foreigners that come to Beijing to study get enrolled here for their bachelors and even language courses. Having studied in BLCU, I have got to say, the sort of university life I’ve enjoyed for one year- learning mandarin, travelling around China, meeting new people and making new friends in addition to my favorite – numerous conversations with the taxi drivers, the ride has been amazing.

3. National Holidays

The Chinese work hard, play harder. The few days they get off they spend travelling around and even out of the country. Unfortunately, I had to travel these national holidays and had the (unlucky) chance to be one of the millions travelling around the same time. For more on that, click here.

4. CCTV 6

The first day I moved in Chaoyang, I happened to browse through the Chinese channels and TO MY SURPRISE, I bumped into CCTV 6 playing “Kites”, a Bollywood movie featuring Hrithik Roshan. CCTV 6, the movies channel does rescue you sometimes even if it’s with some funny and interesting Chinese movies.

5. Roller-blades

Trolling around the city, I have come across people on roller-blades more than once. Enjoying the wind and the crowd behind you, roller-blades are not a bad idea moving through this busy city.

6. The Alien Market, Russian District

After moving to the Chaoyang district, here in Chaoyangmen, I live 5 minutes away from The Alien Market a.k.a The Russian district. Along with the huge shopping malls, there are a bunch of posh Russian restaurants also located here.

7. Thebeijinger

This is one website that might as well be introduced to you as soon as you land Beijing. Including everything from housing, personals, jobs, etc., under classifieds, it offers very interesting blogs as well as the most happening events around the city along with reviews of all the top restaurants the city has to offer.

Beijing Fragrant Hills Park (香山) & Cloud Temple in Pictures (2011)

Studying in Beijing also comes with travelling in Beijing and most of us have been to the hills near-by. The Fragrant Hills are one of them. Located around an hour away from the city, you can travel there by bus or even a taxi.

  • fragrant hill beijing

My experience teaching and modelling in Beijing, China 2013

To an ‘alien’ familiar with China, it is of no secret that working as a part time teacher and getting acting/modelling assignments are great ways to earn money. In the past decade, the need for English teachers in China has increased by a tremendous amount, and even more so for native English teachers. There are several advertisements, numerous agencies providing work visas, a salary from anywhere between RMB 10k to 20k, along with several other benefits.

My first photoshoot

In 2012, it was just another ordinary day as I was walking out my dorm in BLCU, Wudaokou, when a woman came up to me, took me to meet a group of quiet people she was with a few feet away and told me she wanted me to let her take pictures of my face. She added – If they needed someone with ‘my look’ they would get in touch. I let them take pictures, never actually thinking that a few days later I would be getting a call.  Phone calls and emails later, next thing I know I’m getting my make-up done for a pharmaceutical photo-shoot. I had a set of foreigners with me – this being a new experience for some. But for 12 hours we were in it together and it was tiring but I have to say – pretty amazing. To be honest, now that I’m back in the city, I do feel like going for more photo-shoots. It was about 1300 RMB for 12 hours and a few days later around 500 RMB for 4 hours.

prachi tyagi

I was so unsure of getting into a van in a foreign city with a bunch people I didn’t even know. I remember telling my bestie to call the police if I didn’t pick up her calls or reply to her texts! I reckon we left around 7 in the morning and came back around dinner time, around 8 PM which is when we also got paid and signed consent forms. My make up lady was great, the shoot team were polite and respectful, and very professional, I must say.

Teaching kiddos

Another experience I had was that of teaching English which was completely new to me. The following are a bunch of my personal experiences. I want to be able to share these with others in my shoes, living and earning on this side, here in China.

One bright morning, I went to the Sino education office located about 35-40 minutes away from my brother’s university BFSU. I reached on time and found out that I needed to wait out ten or fifteen minutes for the kid to arrive for her class. This cute girl was nicely carried in by her mom. I didn’t think much of this then but I’m beginning to understand why I’m bringing this into light now. A room full of funny looking chairs and props were kept for kids to play around with. The Kid’s mom was… oddly older for a child around 4 or 5? She had the skin of a 50’s lady –dark spots and no glow, absolutely. But, anyway, enough with how much noticing I took interest in. I was introduced to Angel, her name was the only anything angel about her though. Angel wore a nice bow around the head, would not sit still for even a second. But somehow, even I don’t know how, we got from A to well M as far as alphabets are concerned. Her mom, and another office member and I spent about more than half an hour trying for her to stick to her seat and interact with me. The only thing she was concerned with was A. freedom to jump around, B. that her mommy stay in the room. How this delightful session ended was with Angel crying her throat out behind the comical chair she sat/hide behind, and this is after her mom left the room for the student-teacher interaction to take place. I was not going to move my ass. I know better than to run around a spoilt princess crying for attention. I might not be painting a pretty patient picture of myself here but the truth is if you were there, you’d agree with me. Later, after the duo left, the office assistant Alice told me that because Angel’s mom already had a 18 year old son, she was the more focused on and therefore loved more. No wonder.

Meeting Irene

I met Irene through my sister. My first impression of her is my last impression of her. She is a professional, smart and polite Chinese lady who runs her own chain of English teaching classes around Beijing. She also gave us a good teaching rate per hour unlike other agencies that make it an almost never ending process for you to get to the point where you start earning what you well deserve. I don’t think I can forget how she always somehow manages to bring in “I see’, or ‘we’ll see’ in a conversation.

Two-day trip to Datong, Shanxi Province, China (2012)

So we finally went on our much delayed trip, Datong is a quiet city, such a contrast to Beijing.

  • datong china

We left shortly after classes and reached this city which lies in Shanxi province after a 6 hour train ride with the locals who could not stop talking to us. I have never seen more curious people almost too fascinated with foreign skin. We reached at night and roamed the city streets after checking in a recently opened hotel. We managed to find a restaurant open and ate whatever we could find normal on the menu which was quite a task.
The next day, we started our journey early morning and took a taxi to The Hanging Monastery located outside the city. This amazing temple happens to be lodged on a cliff-face with rooms linked by mid-air walkways. Just the feel of standing in the middle of mountains was enough to take my breath away.

After this we head towards our next destination – The 1500-year-old Yúngāng Grottoes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These mountain-side caves and recesses are filled with 51,000 Buddhist statues – the largest being a 56-foot Seated Buddha while the smallest is only a few centimetres tall. The thought of how such accurate and precise buddha statues were made back in the ancient times is bound to cross your mind several times. I cannot question enough how people then could carve through stone and make such gigantic statues. We saw the Nine Dragon screen next located in the middle of the city, followed by fortification ruins which was just huge and beautiful!

Later we also made a visit to a local noodle shop but I ate KFC instead [no judgement please] because i don’t like noodles thankyouverymuch. Got back to Beijing the next day which felt great. Out of all the other cities in China this city is home to me. And it feels great to be back here each time.