There's no such thing as Nanhai! There's Nothing Disgusting Here to See At All !
27.10.2012 22 °C
Was concerned about he hazy condition when we arrived in Beijing in the afternoon. We were assured by James, a Singaporean, who has been working in Beijing for almost 13 years that the low visibility was an exception than the rule.
The low visibility did clear up today (my bride t the man upstairs obviously worked).
I asked the taxi driver to drop us off at Nanhai (南海="Southern Sea"). The idea was to work our way northwards to Zhonghai (中海="Middle Sea"), and then eventually to Beihai (北海="Northern Sea"). Sounds logical. The cabbie didn't understand when I said "Nanhai". I repeated a couple of times, and he still couldn't get it. I was puzzled as I knew for a fact that I pronounced it correctly, and there's nothing tricky about this pronouncing "Nanhai". Very straight forward. I decided to change tact and said, "Beihai, Zhonghai, Nanhai."
"You mean Behai", he said.
"I wanted to go to Nanhai", I said.
"There's no such place as Nanhai", he grunted. This is my 1st encounter of the Beijing stressful, agro cabbie.
I must have read different Beijing maps more than a dozen times online for my research, and I knew I read it correctly. If you click this google map link, you will see that "Southern Sea" (南海) is shown clearly on the map (bottom, middle). I thought to myself, am I so forgetful? And who am I to argue with a Beijing cabbie about local geography?
I relented, and said, "Ok, take me to Beihai".
"There's no such place as Nanhai", he repeated just in case I didn't get it.
While I was driven to the Beihai, I put my brain into a self-diagnostics mode just to check for any loose screws. It was clean, and operational normal. And then a lightbulb lit up above my head. I heard about Zhongnanhai (中南海). This is Chinese government administration area, and it's off limit to the public as you can imagine. It never occurred to me until then that Zhongnanhai is a short hand for Zhonghai and Nanhai. This 2 lakes are usual spoken in 1 breath. Still, to say Nanhai doesn't exist is plain silly.
We were dropped off at the South Gate of Beihai Park.
The park was relatively quiet considering that it was a wonderfully nice and sunny with a temperature that's perfect for a stroll in the park. In addition to the fine weather, this was also a weekend. I suspect that this relative low crowd turn-out was because of the 8 days holiday break that Beijingers had just a fortnight ago. So mostly local, and foreign tourists were around while the inter-provincial mob was small. Of course, I'm still talking about thousands of tourists, but not in the ten or hundred of thousands, which could easily happen in peak season.
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