Isabelle starts her day with a yoga session.
Healthy breakfast, with only fruits and fruit juices.
The district where we live is rather quiet but is very typical; we can see the daily life of the locals, which takes place mainly outside, in the streets: people doing their stretching exercises in the street, birds cage hanging, clothes drying on electrical cables, people playing games in the street, life (tiny) restaurants and bars… It’s very interesting to witness this side of the city.
This morning, we want to go to market of birds and insects (which are, with flowers and fish, the favourite pastime of the Beijiners). It’s quite far away, West of the city. Unfortunately, the market apparently no longer exists (as per what we could understand from the locals). There is only one small stand with some crickets.
We take the metro to the opposite side of the city, to Beijing CBD (Central Business District) where we want to see the 230m-high CCTV Headquarters building (designed by architects Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren, and completed in 2012), which is shaped like an enormous pair of trousers. It is an architectural fantasy (and a remarkable feat of engineering) that appears to defy gravity. It is by far the most distinctive of the CBD’s many weird and wonderful structures. But it seems as if China’s flirtation with foreign-designed, cutting-edge architecture may be over: in 2016 the Chinese government banned any further “oversized, xenocentric and weird” construction projects, perhaps reflecting President Xi Jingping’s own conservative beliefs.
We grab a Subway sandwich in a super chic mall, with fancy restaurants, rather empty (it’s 3pm). We also take healthy juices in a nice shop.
We walk in BCD. It’s another world; everything is different: the buildings of course but also the people, their clothes, the cars…
Nice ice cream at Häagen Dazs; one of the first good ice creams since the beginning of our trips (which is not very surprising since the 3 countries we’ve visited so far are not known for their ice creams…)
We go to an electronics “mall” to please the girls (they are looking for power banks and cases).
We tried to visit a temple nearby but it’s already closed.
We walk to Sanlitun, the most famous nightlife district in Beijing.
We take a drink at the Migas bar, on a cool terrace with a nice view on the city. We then go and eat excellent pizzas (apparently the best in town) at Bottega.
Sanlitun is full of bars (many with pole dancers) but we go back home to put the kids to bed…
We try to take a taxi but they don’t want to take us because we are 5 (max is 4). This city is a bit complicated… We thus take the metro (in fact 3 different ones to reach our destination).