Tiananmen, a giant shopping mall, the metro and an odd health check

Beijing Travel Blog

 › entry 4 of 79 › view all entries

I'm grouping yesterday and today together just because I can.  Tuesday night I found out that the HR orientation that I was told was canceled was still happening, so I didn't get to sleep in yesterday morning like I thought I would.  I went to the EF school by the Oriental Plaza in Wangfujing.  At least I had the directions emailed to me.  Anyway, after breakfast and getting ready, I left an hour early (I had to be there at 10:30), and I'm so glad I did! 

Now, the metro wasn't nearly as traumatic as I thought it would be since the signs were in English too.  So after handing over 3rmb for a ticket (since I haven't gotten the part of my Welcome pack that includes a subway card), I gave the ticket to the woman at the ticket check and went down the stairs.

  And from here, it was like Madrid.  I just looked for the transfer station that was the next stop from Chaoyangmen, switched over there and went the 2 stops to Wangfujing.  I went up one set of escalators only to see a DQ and a Starbucks (the DQ I knew was there from my directions).  Yeah, I was happy.  Then after another set of escalators, I realized I had no idea what I was in for.  This mall is a shopper's wet dream.  Huge doesn't even begin to cover it!  I didn't get to look around much as I didn't have time and I still had to find my way out of that rat maze and to the school.  Well, it looked like I took a wrong turn somewhere b/c I ended up at the end of the mall where there was no Haagen Daz to the left!  So I turned around and walked the other way, finding some help in the form of two locals who pointed me in the right direction as we talked.
  Well, I found the school on time and the orientation began. 

As a side note, I'm not the only New Englander in EF in Beijing, there's a woman from MA at that school.

Today was the health check, which wasn't traumatic, just weird.  I met Josie (a local girl who works for EF) at the Chaoyangmen station, and we took a cab to a hospital.  After getting 8 passport-type pics taken (40rmb) later, we were on our way up to the fourth floor.  There I had to fill out a form, pay them 644rmb (the school gave that money to me) and first got my blood drawn.  Yeah...whoever she was, she couldn't find a vein on either she took the blood from the back of my right hand.

  Oookay.....  From there, I went to have the physical check up, which consisted of height/weight, blood pressure (normal), breathing/heartbeat and he asked if I wore glasses.

Then was the *long* line for the ECG...once in there, I lied down on the bed and she attached some electrodes to me...then disconnected them, said everything was normal and I was on my merry way downstairs for a chest X-ray.  And once that was done, Josie and I went to the desk, handed in my paper, I handed him another 30rmb from the school money, and we were on our way.

At the hotel, I got online and saw a response from someone I'd emailed about an apartment.  So I gave her a call, made an appointment, and decided to head to Tiananmen.  The metro ride wasn't too bad since I know now what I'm doing.

  There were *tons* of people there when I emerged from the metro, which wasn't a surprise since it is a tourist spot.  As I walked, I got approached by people asking if I needed a tour guide, and after a few people, I opted to not speak English at all... so I claimed to only speak German and looked at them quizzically when they continued in English.  It worked in Madrid when I was at the Parque Buen Retiro... not so well here.  I guess it was b/c being alone in Madrid only speaking German isn't so weird, but being alone in Beijing only speaking German is something entirely different.  I didn't go any further than the Square since I was hot and borderline cranky.  I did get to snap a few shots though.  Next time, I'm looking into an organized tour group.

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photo by: Deats