Speaking Spanish in Beijing

Beijing Travel Blog

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The raised Chinese flag

So we’ve noticed a few things in China. It’s extremely cold here – colder than it was in Japan. I am not enjoying the cold weather. I absolutely detest it!!!

Another one of our observations is that the locals here are definitely pushier, more aggressive and less respectful (if it can get any worse) of personal space than all other people I’ve come to contact with. Yesterday, we observed a tourist at a shop asking the prices of scarves, and the saleslady was trying to convince her to purchase one. The tourist decided not to purchase the scarf, and the saleslady grabbed her by the arm and followed her out of the store, then when the tourist asked the saleslady not to touch her, the saleslady called the tourist stupid.

In many of the shops and tourist attractions, there are Chinese people typically trying to start a conversation with you by saying, “Hello.

In front of the Forbidden City's entrance
Where are you from?” If you even respond in English, then they follow you the rest of the way. It’s obnoxious. If you say no, they don’t understand.

On Thursday, we first ventured out to the Forbidden City. We wanted to learn how to use the subway in this city, so we caught the subway to Tian’an Men Square and walked from there. The subway was easy to figure out and use, though it was not as clean as the subway in Tokyo. There were so many people at the Forbidden City. It was amazing. I felt like the entire city of Beijing was there. Just the amounts of people you see everywhere alone are overwhelming. That could be because I’m from a smaller town, I guess, but it’s just insane.

So of course, Larry and I stick out like sore thumbs.

The entire world knows we’re tourists so everywhere we go, we hear people following us saying, “Hello. Where are you from?” So we tried just ignoring them the first few times we heard this. But then Larry came up with a wonderful strategy.

A man came up to us and asked us where we were from. Larry looked at him and said in Spanish, “No hablo ingles.” It was perfect! The man had no clue what to make of it. He turned away immediately. I looked at Larry and said, “Check you out. You speak Spanish!” He asked me, “Ok – it’s obvious many of the locals know a few key phrases in English, but I doubt as many know Spanish.”

Spanish is my first language, and for the last few years, my family and I have taught Larry how to say some things in Spanish.

He’s also worked on his Spanish using Rosetta Stone, so he understands a lot and can say a few things in Spanish very well. So all of a sudden, my husband was speaking Spanish to me left and right. It was the best idea he had. From there on the rest of the day, anytime people would come near us, he’d speak in Spanish to me and no one would even approach us or if they asked us, “Where are you from?”, one of us would immediately respond “No hablo ingles.” It worked like a charm!

We continued through the Forbidden City, seeing all the pagodas and structures and taking pictures at a leisure pace. It was relaxing. Then we ended at the North end of the Forbidden City and we crossed the street and entered Jing Shan Gongyuan Park (a.k.a Jing Shan Park) on North end of the Forbidden City. This park is large and offers amazing aerial views over the Forbidden City.

It looks awesome because you see a sea of red roofs. The Forbidden City looks like it takes up half the city from the top of that park.

After walking through the park for a while, we walked a bit back to the subway station, then took the subway back to near our hotel. We walked around the hotel area and had lunch at one of the restaurants in the New World Shopping Plaza. It was a good lunch. It was more like a late lunch and early dinner, since it was already 4 pm when we were done eating.

After relaxing for a bit, we headed back out to visit the night markets near the Oriental Mall. There were night markets we had seen when driving back from our Great Wall tour, where the street vendors line up to sell foods and souvenirs. We mostly wanted to just see all of it, as we were not hungry.

I did find a few souvenirs. We also saw booths selling fried scorpions, crickets and silkworms, as well as chicken hearts, on sticks. It was so disgusting. There were kebabs of octopus, and other foods that did not look appetizing to me at all.

From there we went back to our hotel and enjoyed dessert from 85 degrees (the place our tour guide had recommended for breakfast and desserts) in our room.

Tomorrow, the goal is to see the Lama Temple and the Summer Palace.

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The raised Chinese flag
The raised Chinese flag
In front of the Forbidden Citys e…
In front of the Forbidden City's …
Inside the Forbidden City
Inside the Forbidden City
I was trying to show how cold it w…
I was trying to show how cold it …
Can you tell Im cold?
Can you tell I'm cold?
Larry finally decides to put his g…
Larry finally decides to put his …
At the park across from the North …
At the park across from the North…
View of the Forbidden City from th…
View of the Forbidden City from t…
photo by: Deats