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Entrance to the Panjiayuan flea market. It enjoys a world-wide reputation so even if you are not an antiques fan it might be worth a visit. Its main entrance is called the North Gate (Beimen). There is no underground station nearby but there is a bus-stop called "Panjiayuan Qiaoxi" (for Bus No. 34 and 674) right in front of the entrance.

And these are among the various objects of art and antiques that make art-collectors come here from all over the world to buy or just to admire (the Chinese characters in the picture say that each object is sold for 30 yuan). From brass statues to all kinds of Mao Zedong objects - the list is too long to enumerate.

Daily briefings of workers in shops and restaurants are a common sight in Beijing. They are told to bow respectuously and to shout out a hearty welcome (Huan1 ying2 guang1 lin2) as each customer enters the restaurant.

Beijing too has its share of the poor, who survive by rummaging rubbish bins for discarded plastic bottles to be sold for recycling purposes. One such collector said that he is paid 7.50 yuan (about a dollar) for every hundred bottles.

There are over 20 bicycle rental shops in Beijing belonging to this company. This one is just at Exit B of the Gulou underground station and is conveniently situated to explore the Houhai and Qianhai lakes. You pay 20 yuan for a day or 70 yuan for a week but you have to give a cash deposit of 400 yuan (for a day) or 500 yuan (for a week). You will also be asked for your passport.

Hongqiau Pearl Market. THE place to go if you are shopping for pearls (but you will find clothing, digital equipment and suitcases as well). This place is much less intimidating than the Silk Street bazaar, where the salespeople can be very aggressive. It's near the underground station at Tiantan (Line 5) so you can combine it with a visit to the Temple of Heaven. Next page

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