08-06-2008 11:26

By Yin Chen

In all my years at Travelogue, part of filming has always meant the packing of suitcases, the thrill from zipping off to a completely exotic place, and gradually transforming it into something familiar. Well, filming the Beijing series broke all the rules. No overstuffed suitcase, no hotels, and after filming the city of my birth, and the city I currently reside in, I came to the startling realization that there was more and more I just didn’t know about Beijing.

Shichahai at sunset
Shichahai at sunset

My favorite place in Beijing would have to be Shichahai. There’s just something about the bodies of water and long hutongs that bring a certain charm to the city. Four years ago when I returned to Beijing, Houhai was one of the first places I quickly became familiar with. All foreigners might know it as a meeting point for a late night out. Rowdy or laid-back bars, the dreamy landscape, or romantic boatrides simply take their breath away. I am not a huge bar hopper myself, and sometimes find Houhai a bit too suffocating. However, it was this trip that I discovered the tranquil Xihai nearby. Only a handful of bars light up at night, and a few scattered people who seem like mysterious shadows walk in the dark. Xihai, feels completely yours. No doubt, the feeling of willow trees brushing against your cheek as you stroll alongside the waters on a lazy evening is irressitable. Whether it's a night of giggling and playing, or a heart to heart conversation between two close friends on a swing sofa facing the waters, Xihai is two thumbs up.

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