A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about china

Jade Factory

How to spot a fake.

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As a part of each tour day, the government arranged for tours of different factories so that the visitors could see how different products were made by artisans Translation: Go see our factory and buy our goods! We were a “captive” audience. I didn’t mind the stops to see the factories. Dan was very annoyed as he does not like to buy souvenirs.
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At the Jade Factory they taught us how to determine if Jade is real or fake, a piece of information I found to be useful. After they taught us how to determine real from faux, we were set loose in the gift shop and mobbed by salesgirls. I tried on a jade bangle, which was very pretty and very expensive. I finally decided to purchase a pendant with my zodiac animal, the goat.
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After making our purchases, the group went upstairs for lunch at a government restaurant. The food was pretty simple and the dishes were just ok. The highlights of the meal were the eggplant and the conversation with our fellow tourists.

Posted by SusanConradWang 05:06 Archived in China Tagged china beijing jade Comments (0)

A Bit About Toilets in China

We aren't in Kansas anymore, Toto.

sunny 78 °F

Toilets in China are interesting to say the least. The modern hotels have regular bathrooms with all of the modern accouterments. Outside of the modern hotels it is a real crapshoot as to what you will get. The Tourist Board rates some of the restrooms at the main sites. I giggled at the plaque outside of the toilets at the Ming Tomb, but as the trip progressed I was longing for a 3 star toilet. My initial impression of the three star facility was not great, but I quickly lowered my expectations for the toilet situation and began to look and pray for the tourist board rated bathrooms. Unfortunately, most of the bathrooms did not rate.
So what is the big deal? A typical public restroom in Beijing was a stall with a squat toilet. A squat toilet is just what it sounds like- a toilet over which you squat. How is this possible? First, it does not look like a Western toilet. Get the image of the toilet in your home out of your head. Imagine an oval shaped hole in the ground. The hole in te ground has a basin made of either porcelain or stainless steel and it has a grooved area on either side for your feet. Second, one does not put toilet paper into the toilet. There is a waste bin for that. Third, toilet paper is not available at most public restrooms and if it is, it is not in the stall. It is located as you enter the restroom much like a paper towel dispenser. Fourth, the smell is indescribable in most of the restrooms. I will be having nightmares for sure.

Posted by SusanConradWang 05:04 Archived in China Tagged china beijing restroom squat_toilet Comments (2)

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