Have you ever thought to yourself, “Hey I should Travel to Beijing”? Well I did and I do not regret it, in fact if I could I would live in this diverse and booming city for as long as possible. However, I don’t think one could see and experience all that Beijing has to offer in one life time. This being said there are a few must see places for those who only visit for even a week. First of all everyone should check out the numerous Beijing Tours because everyone’s taste buds for fun are different. But if you want to spend a day exploring on your own, Houhai Lake in the Gulou area of Beijing is the place to be even on Sundays. This district is constantly alive with the sound of music and laughter and if you like me love to be on boats you can rent electric boats, paddle boats and guided boats to see the district from the lake. It is about 120rmb for a six person boat and if you split the cost it is much cheaper and more fun than say the swan boats in the Boston commons. If you are more adventurous you can try one of the Dragon boats but it is quite tiring. If you do go out on the lake look out for the swimmers and fishers, I personally almost hit a few. The view from the lake is gorgeous in every direction and Is a great photo opportunity. Another word of caution though if you want to go under the bridge to the narrower part of the lake you might get caught in a traffic jam of boats trying to do the same thing. It is not an unpleasant experience in fact it is quite funny and everyone caught in the jams laughs and says high to each other. You might, like me, even end up reaching over your boat to shake hands with a complete stranger you have just bumped into.  In the winter I have been told that it is the primary place to go ice skating outdoors, now that I want to try.
If you are not into boating another option is to just walk around the street and see the shops and vendors running about. Or you can rent bikes which zoom all over the area. There are even tandem bikes large enough for three people. When I was there this past weekend a man selling erhus or Chinese violin as it is called by many foreign countries. When he came by my friend Ellen wanted to try to play one so he let her and even gave her some short instructions in broken English. However, when she started to play (terribly might I ad) tourists from all over the area began to flock around her and take pictures of her attempting to play this tricky instrument. I ended up buying one to play in my free time however my attempts to play made Ellen’s seem like sweet music and I was quickly asked to stop by my other friends.  After this riveting experience we went to get a frosty beverage and one of the many restaurants and bars on Houhai’s bar street. Many of these bars are very nice and often have rooftop seating for a great view of the lake or even comfy chairs right next to the lake. Most have amazing live music, hookahs and even karaoke which I must say I am quite bad at. My favorite of these bars is called Michele Jackson and it is completely decked out in pink chairs with rhinestones in them.  This is just one of the many places to visit on your China travel. If you have ever thought of going to China go, it is a place where everyone can find their own unique and fun experiences.

Jack Li
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