New chapter | Living in China

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4 COVID tests done in 4 consecutive days, in 2 different countries (while just transiting them), only to get permission to board the plane to China. Arriving in Beijing, 1 more test at the airport, followed by 1 night in the hotel, pursued by another 4 nights in the hospital due to the positive test result at the airport. After 3 negative COVID tests in the hospital, another 8 nights in the hotel and 3 nights of isolation in my new home. Took me almost 3 weeks to finally see a Chinese person without a white costume. Desired so bad to live in Asia, and China surprises me with such a “warm welcome” 😊

Why China?

Why not? Just look at this views:

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Despite the entire funny arriving experience, I love it here.

Starting with the size of the airport, must admit that Beijing is very impressive. When being around here, is worth visiting the Great Wall of China, the Emperor’s Palace, the Temple of Heaven, ride a bike, walk through the wholesale markets.

May advice you few malls that I find impressive and few rooftop restaurants I like the most:

Solana Mall – a huge and my most loved shopping mall in Beijing, also a popular entertainment and leisure destination, as well as a dining center that gathers world cuisine.

Sanlitun is a fashion center gathering many shopping malls, bars, restaurants, cinemas, and arts stores, etc., located near the embassies area, quite popular among young people. It is especially lively at night and a good place for nightlife.

China World Shopping Mall – an outstanding shopping mall with huge spaces, situated in a particularly advantageous location, Guomao district. When you step into the mall, you may feel like you are entering a gorgeous labyrinth, it will take a long time to complete your visit. A few times I went there to find a specific shop, and each time I got completely lost, so be ready to spend at least an hour looking for your way out in the same place you entered. Also noticed that most luxury brands are in this mall, of course in many other parts of the city, but according to my early understanding, this place has the most of them located in one place all together.

Migas Mercado – Spanish influenced restaurant and cocktail bar, is located on the 7th floor of the large shopping center China World Mall. There is both – indoor seating and a great rooftop terrace offering fantastic views over the Beijing iconic landmarks, with the CCTV Headquarters as a main focal point.

The Lounge (restaurant) and Atmosphere (bar) – located high above the city on level 80 with an extraordinary and sophisticated view of Beijing, spectacular venue, comprehensive selections of food and drinks. Basically, they share a floor, half for the Lounge and half for the Atmosphere, sometimes met by live music. I met my 30-ties literally on the top of the world!

By time I will find more must-see places, at this point, less than 3 months living here, these are my recommendations, just for now.

Funny thing is that it’s been 2 months since I’m in here and still have no idea how Chinese RMB look like. The reason is that China is so advanced in digitalization, that owning a mobile phone is all you need. Their favorite payment systems are the local applications “Wechat” and “Alipay “. Everyone pays through them. It happens like: you download the application to your phone, add a bank card, then when buying anything, you either scan the seller’s QR code or show yours.

Using such an application is very convenient. Even a street seller doesn’t think about exchanging money or a payment terminal. Everyone has a mobile phone, so this payment method is suitable for everyone. Buuut, only a Chinese bank card can be linked to “Wechat”, so this method of payment will not work for foreign tourists. For foreign cards “Alipay” is the only option. Make sure you add your card in both payments’ methods, to pay and to be able the seller to scan your card from the app. Please note that not all restaurants will accept your Visa or MasterCard.

What else I would highlight right now, China is not a cheap country to live in. Naturally, it all depends on the city, on your profession and the terms of the work contract, lifestyle and needs. But it is worth understanding – in China to live comfortably is expensive.

Another thing that makes me wonder is the variation of food in different parts of China and the sharpness of the dishes, starting from insanely spicy to normal. If you are able to handle chilly food – I absolutely recommend eating in local Chinese restaurants. European restaurants often lag in the quality of food and raise prices very much.

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New chapter | Living in China