Fubar, the secret little bar

Finally discovered that little secret bar. You go down a staircase and a wooden wall gently slides away, giving you access. The bar is small, packed (mostly foreigners), noisy and smoky. Good ambiance and good beer, including some strange cocktails.
As the owner’s card says, “I’d tell you where FUBAR is… but, then I’d have to kill you. Cool!
Hint: visit www.fubarpeking.com

Could not resist the big cocktail just to take the container home.
Other hint: if you look for a great and cheap hotdog (with all the trimmings, 20 RMB), head for Stadium Dog, Workers Stadium door 10-11.
The bar is on my “OK” list, contrary to others.

The Place is my place

A bit confusing as a name… “The Place” (in Chinese: shi mao tian jie) is located next to CBD and on Dongdaqiao Lu, close to the famous Silk Market (or Silk Street if you prefer the old name).

My activities are often all in that area so I go there nearly daily: my gym (California Fitness, in The Place), our karaoke (SOHO Shangdu), my Chinese school (Hanwei Plaza) plus several massage place all in walking distance. In the area there are many (new) restaurants, including in The Place (with the biggest buffet in Asia, plus Indian, Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, …). Just discovered other ones in SOHO Shangdu and in Prosper Center (basement). Next door there is also a new movie theatre. So, enough choice.
The Place is now a popular tourist destination, many buses stop there for the tourist to look at the huge screen. While huge and impressive, it’s quality is rather soso (not a BARCO…). People all come to take some quick pictures. Not sure it brings money to the coffee shops (at least 3) and the mall.
The huge screen also serves as a roof for frequent entertainment and commercial activities: ice skating, pop groups, car exhibitions, 3G mobile promotion, etc.
The biggest problem there: no taxis during the week between 5 and 9pm. So I normally have to walk home or grab one of those pedicabs…

Snow and more snow in Beijing

For some of you, nothing to write about. But here in Beijing we had never so much snow as this winter. As a New Year gift we had the heaviest snow (and bitter cold – under 10C) since more than 50 years. Result: the usual chaos as Chinese drivers have no clue how to drive on snow or ice and are overall very poor drivers anyway; ever saw a Chinese trying to make a short U-turn? or parking in a small spot? or simply backing up? HILARIOUS!

See here some of my best pics (see the dates) of the snow in the past weeks.
Results was also, no taxis in the past days. They are afraid of the snow. So, I never walked that much as there was no other way to get to my gym, school or my depraved entertainment. No need to do more exercise in the gym. Just a good sauna.
I could sing another version of the song “Country Roads”: “Empty Roads”.
Trying to eat (again) some grandmother lamb, I created a gaping hole in one front tooth, on 2 January. No laughing matter (keep mouth shut!). But, this is Beijing. We braved the near 20 cm snow on 3 January, walked into the small Chinese hospital very close to us and – voila! A nice and talented lady dentist made it better than it was before. No waiting, great service and dearth cheap. Once you know how to, healthcare here is quite OK. But certainly not in some of those horrendously overprized (and sometimes incompetent) foreign clinics such as Family United Hospital.
Try this in Europe or USA.

Beijing: two different views from the top

All the blabla on the pollution here. Most of the time, pollution is pretty bad. What do you expect, with 4 million vehicles on the road, most driven by Chinese who mostly never respect rules and for whom “civility” is not in their vocabulary. The result: bad traffic, cars blocking each other on intersections and the usual chaos in peak hours.
But when there is a wind, the dirt is blown away and we discover there is actually a city below.
See here some pics on different days, some from the Capital Club – 50th floor and a great view to the East.
The others from Park Hyatt, top floor restaurant, a view on Jianguomenwai,  on the 66th floor.

All during November.

CCTV’s infamous hotel under repair

After months of debate it was decided to repair the infamous hotel building next to the iconic CCTV building.
The hotel burned like a torch (see my old posting) and we all thought the building was doomed. Engineers concluded the building could be saved as the core structure was still sound. While difficult at first to believe, the ongoing repair work does reveal the interior of the rooms relatively intact, see the pics. Some floors apparently burned out as the complete trove of new TV equipment was destroyed – delaying the operation of the CCTV tower.

Little is know about the real damage inside.
According to typical Chinese superstition, locals are likely to avoid the hotel once it reopens – “bad fengshui – bad luck”.