Why there is no Beijingist.

I guess most foreigners and / or english-speaking chinese know great Shanghai resource Shanghaiist from the Gothamist network. I always wondered why there is no Beijing version of that website, why there is no Beijingist. Now I know why, having been in the capitol of China for a couple of days. But let’s not begin this entry with bitching about the missing nightlife and fun-areas in Beijing, let’s begin at the very first point: the airport. Okay, so imagine I am a german tourist in Beijing for the olympics 2008. I got a flight from Frankfurt to Shanghai, checked that city out, and now I fly to Beijing. The first impression I get is: Where the f*ck is my luggage? There were 16 or more of these turning luggage-counters, where you can grab your stuff after it arrived. Problem is, which one is it? There was a beautiful flat-screen monitor with all the flights that arrived – but all the flights that arrived two hours ago. Nice! So you should probably ask somebody from the airport which spindle has your luggage, right? Great idea, if there would only be somebody. It may be exaggerating to write about a small f*ckup so extensively, but hey, should this be the first impression you get after arriving in the capitol of China? Maybe they should take some of the RMB they are currently spending to make up the city and use it for real testing or something. But, oh well, nobody is perfect.

Next: get a taxi. Nice to see that Beijingnese behave as crappy as Shanghainese when it comes to stand in queue at the taxi-waiting line. Jumping the line is as normal as in Shanghai here. Great. Also nice of the people to take the modern taxis so the foreigners have to take the old taxis. There was a chinese couple in front of us, and when it was their turn to take a taxi, they took the new modern one behind the first one so that we had to take that half-alive Peugeot that seemed to be from the cultural revolution. F*cking A.

We’re here for a big exhibition, so when it was noon, we went to eat some of the famous Beijing noodles that cost only 8 kuai and are supposed to be delicious. I tried them later, and they taste pretty good indeed, but they are cold. Anyway, in our first attempt to eat them, we sat for 40 f*cking minutes in the burning sun waiting for our three ordered dishes. Normal? I would have thought so, but a woman cam and sat her ass down next to us, ordered, and had her noodles within five minutes, why we were still waiting. Why were we waiting? When I finally stood up and made a scene that these f*cking idiots should bring me my f*cking noodles first because I was waiting about 40 minutes longer for them than that woman, these stupid monkeys finally activated their brain-cells and realized that there was something wrong with our order and the kitchen forgot to cook our shit. So we sit there for 40 minutes, these zombie waiters bring everyone their food but us and don’t realize that we’re waiting, too? Luckily there was a KFC nearby.

Why am I using the f-word so much? Because I’m f*cking angry! In Shanghai, maybe people try to cheat you, they maybe try to sell you shit at the double price, they might even steal from you – but at least they have brains! If I sit in a restaurant in Shanghai and order I know my damn food will be on the table in the next fifteen minutes. Everyone seems to be running on some energy saving mode in the head. F*ck the tranquility and calm way of live outside of Shanghai, if the cost for that is being surrounded by monkeys, I gladly take back the ultra-hectic Shanghai life.

When we took the subway this morning, we had another great encounter: there was a dude walking through the subway after passing the railway station selling a fake newspaper! A f*cking fake newspaper! He screamed “Andy Lau was shot dead in Hongkong yesterday” in chinese and people started buying the fake newspaper with a big Andy Lau image on the front page like he was giving away money or something. Nice to see that in Beijing even chinese people from the countryside or whatever get cheated.

Before I loose myself in too many small details that make me literally hate Beijing – I could write another 5.000 words about the f*cked up dry air here – let me tell you what’s going on in the streets after nine in the evening: nothing! You barely see any people, you see very few cars (at day, you spend at least half an hour in a traffic jam, no matter how far or near your destination), and bars and coffee places? No, sir. For sure there are some places, Xintiandi-style, but in Shanghai, you should be able to find some kind of chill out place within 15 minutes walking of wherever you are. Here you have to drive at least 15 minutes from wherever you are to find something at all. Sure, all my rants could be a series of unfortunate events and simply bad luck, but so many? There is culture in Beijing, no question, they have the great wall, the summer palace and all that one-time places, but living here?

I miss you, Shanghai.

About the author

Jakob Montrasio

Moved to Shanghai in 2k5. Opened a company, wrote film scripts, shot first feature. Now in Germany with wife and daughter.

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5 thoughts on “Why there is no Beijingist.

  1. Sorry for that.
    I must be sensitivity, sorry.

    I thought the life in China is far from “being enjoyed”.
    Do not touch the cheap food in the street, God knows what it made from.
    Today’s China is not the country in game civilization series, Manchu cut us from our history. It looks like CCP will do the same thing.

    I knew what is HDR in details , I am studying in computer Graphics, especially real-time 3D rendering with openGL under linux. But I have no idea about photography.

  2. longGI, I was not bashing the people, but the service there! Don’t misunderstand, in total, I love China and I really enjoy living here, but every once in a while I experience some really strange shit that I want to blog about – like this. Again, nothing personal.

    I shoot my pictures with a ordinary Nikon D50, then edit them with ‘Photomatix’. This art or technology is called HDR, high definition range. Google it, you’ll find lots of tutorials!

  3. First, DO NOT call anybody monkey, OKay. Check what f*ucking were you man doing 400 years ago.

    ======= cool down ========
    About restaurant in China, I would say that noodles in beijing are nasty. There are thousand kinds of noodles in China, and noodles in North China are awesome. I will not touch any. You really ate it, do you?
    Different dishes in China always require different time to cook. And you might not know that there are many kinds of cold noodles in China. We call them ?? or ??. This kind of noodles always need some more time to cool the hot noodles down. Don’t take it personally.

    I think you should better adjust your thought in China. We all know China is not a first world country, and will not be in that list for a longer time. And people in China had a different tradition from you. DO NOT use your tradition as standard to judge us. If you spend 80 yuan in restaurant in China, I think you will get the service just like in your homeland. If you spend a dollar in German, what kind of food you can get? DO NOT ask the service you have not paid for.

    You thought that jumping queue is not right, so do I. If the people who jumped queue was paid 500 dollars a week, I do not think he or she will do it any more. It is not eazy to fight for bread in China, but we are improving, in many places.

    Are the photoes of Shang Hai modified with computer, or you use any filters on your camera?

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