Saturday, February 11, 2006

China Trip II - Beijing

Pictures from the first weekend in Beijing:


A map of Beijing at a road side stop on the Jingjintang Highway (marked in yellow) from Tianjin. As you can see, there's six ring roads around Beijing (the 1st Ring Road is not shown). Our hotel, The Kerry Centre, is near the 3rd Ring Road. The airport is NE of the city.


A watermelon martini at the Aria bar in the China World Hotel. Yes, I love them martinis.


Lily, from Mongolia, who we met in a bar. And no, me holding my money clip doesnt mean what you're probably thinking. Not all beautiful girls in Beijing are working girls. Picture was taken at about 6 am at The Den, a 24 hr pizza place. Pizza always tastes good after a night out.


High flying kite over the city. Notice the "clear" blue skiies. The air is not bad at all. Some colleagues have complained about asthma attacks and what not due to the air pollution. It's just like any other big city.


Some sort of medical inocculation going on. Maybe for bird flu?


Pearl Market, another knock-off shopping mall which sits right above a fish market. Horrible experience. I prefer the Silk Street shopping mall.


Brian, looking at some pearls. We were gauranteed that the pearls were real, unlike everything else in the mall.


Pawel, bargaining with some store girls about a cashmere sweater.


Maredsous, some good Belgian beer at The Tree. Note the Hoegaarden (who garden) beer on the left.


A North Korean Tourism poster. Who knows what it's like...


Partying at Vic's, a totally hip night club, blasting the latest hip hop. It was next to an Outback Steakhouse.


Good ol' Mc D's - can be found anywhere in the world.


Our hotel, The Kerry Centre


Front facade. Note the crane and construction going on in the reflection.


Chicken satay at the Thai restaurant - Serve the people, near the embassies.


Yellow curry with veggies and a beef dish


Pad Thai


A Chang Jiang 750 motorcycle.



A little motorcycle history:
This is the Chinese version of a pre-WWII (1938) BMW R71. After WWI, Germany was banned from making any military vehicles, including large engine motorcycles and sidecars. So, to continue production BMW sold the license to a Russian company: Uralmoto Zavod, who continued to make the R71 with sidecar. After the WWII surrender, Russia took the blueprints for all of BMW's motorcycles, including the R75, which was used by Germany during the war. From these blueprints came the Ural and Dnepr models.

In the 50's, the Chinese People's Liberation Army was looking for a reliable motorcycle for the field. By this time, the R71 was obsolete in Russia, so they gave them the production line in form of state aid to a fellow communist country. The Chinese renamed the bike to Chang Jiang and because of the robust design and charm, it is the only vintage motorcycle with sidecar still in production today.

I believe it's really difficult to get a new foreign bike registered in China. But, it's very easy for Chinese made bikes. So, expats looking for some displacement are getting their hands on the Chang Jiang. I wouldn't mind one, but that sidecar would have to go. Charm aside, it would change the motorcycling experience. But glad to see that this ancient BMW still lives on.

And you wonder, why I'm a devout fan of the Bavarian company.

Click here for source.

2 comments:

phiri50 said...

oye thambi u are balding. ha ha

Jammin said...

I'm not balding. It's just the lighting.

Whateva...