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Best Pick for Beijing?

Best Pick for Beijing?

Old Aug 29, 06, 12:24 pm
  #16  
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Originally Posted by Peter N-H
You can drink the tap water, but you will get sick unless you boil it thoroughly first. No one on a brief visit from overseas should even consider brushing his or her teeth with tap water unless spending three days deciding which end of the body to apply to the lavatory first appeals.

In Beijing people at a foreign company responsible for water treatment tell me that after they've finished with it, the water is indeed drinkable. But unfortunately it then has to run through pipes that add lots of contaminents back in. In the overwhelming majority of China it gets no where near potable standards to start with, and certain nothing that a delicate Western stomach can deal with.

You will rarely see Chinese drinking unboiled tap water. This is no time to be macho. This is the time to be sensible. Bottled water (although not itself 100% reliable) is available on every street corner.

Peter N-H

Hey Peter!

Thanks VERY MUCH for the warning about tap water...that's exactly the kind of advice that I need. ^ This will be my first time actually exploring a destination beyond the routine of airport to hotel to business meeting then directly back to airport...I generally don't even get the chance to drink tap water - but for my upcoming trip during which I plan to explore the city - well, drinking water would have come up and without your warning I'd have been stupid and gotten sick.

Thanks again! I can't believe the awesome quality of wisdom I gleen from these posts. ^ I'm hooked on Flyertalk!

Best regards,

Barry
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Old Aug 29, 06, 1:49 pm
  #17  
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What about ice?

I would imagine ice has the same type of contaminents as tap water.
Must say I have ordered a lot of cocktails in China " jia bing". Never
have gotten sick from them...might be that alchohol kills whatever
makes you sick. Definately would be sick if I didn't have a few cocktails
to mellow out the frenetic vibe while visiting China.
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Old Aug 29, 06, 2:14 pm
  #18  
 
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Originally Posted by anacapamalibu
I would imagine ice has the same type of contaminents as tap water.
Must say I have ordered a lot of cocktails in China " jia bing". Never
have gotten sick from them...might be that alchohol kills whatever
makes you sick.
Or perhaps it might be the less metaphysical explanation that any establishment knowing what a cocktail is and serving it to Westerners knows perfectly well to boil its water before making it into ice?

Ice is perfectly safe in upmarket establishments in China, including all the hotels discussed above, in McDonald's, etc.

Originally Posted by Northbrook60065
well, drinking water would have come up and without your warning I'd have been stupid and gotten sick.
This is hardly profound advice or inside knowledge, and one of the first things a traveller considers when going anywhere, surely. Any guide book can tell you this and much other basic advice, which is not of 'awesome quality'. But if it truly seems so, the 'stupid' thing, as you put it, would be not to do some reading before travel.

Peter N-H
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Old Aug 29, 06, 2:47 pm
  #19  
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Originally Posted by gregorygrady
I think your biggest problem will be customs. Rumor has is that you can bring back one pirate type of each item (ie, one purse, one watch, one DVD, etc). But I'm not sure if that's an FT rumor or what. There was a thread going around here awhile back about what is okay to bring back. I normally bring back ~75 DVDs, 5 purses, 5 watches, and a few pairs of jeans, ties, shoes, and sunglasses. FWIW, I try to distribute my knockoffs into my 3 separate checked bags and even some small stuff into my carryon so Customs doesn't open one bag and see all of the above in it. They have checked my bags 2 or 3 out of the 4 or 5 times I've returned from China, but the only thing they ever confiscated was an apple (yeah, the fruit) that I forgot I had in my bag. So who knows.......but I surely wouldn't claim the stuff and pay duty on it, that's just asking for it!!!
This isn't offered as legal advice, just commentary.

The U.S. Customs website has some information on this. I recall seeing the, "one knock-off for personal use in each category" rule there. I'd also observe that, when I bring this stuff back, I always declare it. Of course, I don't say, "1 Knock-off DVD," but rather something like, "videos and music CDs," and declare the purchase price (I also usually have purchased some genuine goods in this category). The reason for this is that failure to declare a purchase is, in itself, a violation of law and can result in some rather stiff penalties. Particularly, if you're bringing in 75 counterfeit DVDs and don't declare them, you may be running the risk of being deemed a smuggler of contraband, which can have very serious repercussions.

YMMV, but I always declare everything I bought, genuine or not, even to the point of preparing an Excel spread sheet print-out that lists the items (generally described as above), their cost in local currency, the equivalent value in U.S. dollars and the exchange rate that I applied. Since I started doing this about 10 years ago, I've never had my bags inspected, and the Customs officers have been exceptionally appreciative and cooperative (and usually amused), e.g. going through my list to exclude all the non-dutiable articles and even simply waiving any duty that would otherwise be required.

My feeling is that, given the particular political climate, it doesn't make sense to try to put one over on customs, when it's only a couple of dollars of duty (frequently waived) that's at stake.
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Old Aug 29, 06, 2:57 pm
  #20  
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Originally Posted by phillipas
You can drink the tap water - but bottled stuff (available everywhere) tastes better.
You shouldn't drink the tap water in China -- even the Chinese avoid it if possible, and though Beijing water might, in theory, be potable, there are a number of cities where the water is not. Upscale hotels will provide bottled water in the rooms. Less expensive hotels and those catering to Chinese will provide thermoses of boiled water. In restaurants, drink bottled water, use the provided thermoses or, better still, drink tea like everyone else. Ice (for cocktails) should be okay in all but really cheap bars, and will be fine in any hotel bar. I'd avoid using ice to chill western drinks (Coke, e.g.) in less upscale restaurants not specifically intended for foreigners.
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Old Aug 29, 06, 3:32 pm
  #21  
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Originally Posted by Peter N-H
Or perhaps it might be the less metaphysical explanation that any establishment knowing what a cocktail is and serving it to Westerners knows perfectly well to boil its water before making it into ice?
Peter N-H
Maybe you can get a decent drink at a 5 star western hotel or ex-pat bar.
But more than a few times I have shown the bartender how to make a drink,
Which they seemed to enjoy the advice. I often noticed how they measured
out the ( imported) liquor with the preciseness of a scientist. Hope it actually
was imported..good chance it was bootleg.

Here's list of drinks translated...courtesy of John at sinosplice.com

Absolut 瑞典伏特加 ru diǎn f t jiā
Angel's Kiss 天使之吻 tiān shǐ zhī wěn
Asahi 朝日 zhāo r
B-52 轰炸机 hōng zh jī
Bacardi 白家得 bi jiā d
Bailey's 百利甜酒 bǎi l tin jiǔ
Beck's 贝克 bi k
Beefeater's 必发达金 b fā d jīn
BEER 啤酒 p jiǔ
Black Russian 黑色俄罗斯 hēi s lu sī
Bloody Mary 血腥玛丽 xu xīng mǎ l
Bourbon 波本 bō běn
Brandy 白兰地 bi ln d
Budweiser 百威 bǎi wēi
Bud Ice 百威冰啤 bǎi wēi bīng p
Canadian Club 加拿大俱乐部 jiā n d j l b
Captain Morgan's 摩根船长 m gēn chun zhǎng
Carlsberg 嘉士伯 jiā sh b
Champagne 香槟酒 xiāng bīn jiǔ
Chivas Regal 芝华士 zhī hu sh
Cocktail 鸡尾酒 jī wěi jiǔ
Cognac 干邑白兰地 gān y bi ln d
Corona 科罗娜 kē lu n
Cutty Sark 顺风威士忌 shn fēng wēi sh j
Daiquiri 黛克瑞 di k ru
Draught beer 生啤,扎啤 shēng p, zhā p
Finlandia 芬兰伏特加 fēn ln f t jiā
Gin 金酒 jīn jiǔ
Gin and tonic 金汤力 jīn tāng l
Gordon's 哥顿金 gē dn jīn
Grant's 格兰金 g ln jīn
Guinness 健力士 jin l sh
Heineken 喜力 xǐ l
J&B 珍宝 zhēn bǎo
Jack Daniels 杰克丹尼 ji k dān n
Jameson 占美臣 zhn měi chn
Jim Beam 占边 zhn biān
Johnny Walker Red 红方 hng fāng
Johnny Walker Black 黑方 hēi fāng
Jose Cuervo 银快活 yn kui huo
Kahlua (甘露) 咖啡甜酒 (gān l)kā fēi tin jiǔ
Kamikaze 日本武士 r běn wǔ sh
Kilkenny 奇健尼 q jin n
Kirin 麒麟 q ln
LIQUOR 烈酒 li jiǔ
Long Island Iced Tea 长岛冰茶 chng dǎo bīng ch
Malibu 椰子酒 yē zi jiǔ
Manhattan 曼哈顿 mn hā dn
Margarita 玛格丽特 mǎ g l t
Martini Dry 辛辣马丁尼 xīn l mǎ dīng n
Pabst Blue Ribbon 蓝带 ln di
Pina Colada 椰林风光 yē ln fēng guāng
Red wine 红(葡萄)酒 hng (p tao) jiǔ
Remy Martin 人头马 rn tu mǎ
Rum 朗姆酒 lǎng mǔ jiǔ
Rum and Coke 朗姆酒加可乐 lǎng mǔ jiā kě l
Scotch 苏格兰威士忌 sū g ln wēi sh j
Screwdriver 螺丝刀 sī dāo
Sex on the Beach 性感沙滩 xng gǎn shā tān
Smirnoff 皇冠 hung guān
Snowball 雪球 xuě qi
Steinlager 世好 sh hǎo
Stolichnaya 苏联红牌 sū lin hng pi
Suntory 三得利 sān d l
Tequila 特基拉 t jī lā
Tequila Sunrise 日升龙舌兰 r shēng lng sh ln
Tiger 虎牌 hǔ pi
Tsingtao 青岛 qīng dǎo
Vodka 伏特加 f t jiā
Vodka Red Bull 伏特加红牛 f t jiā jiā hng ni
Whiskey 威士忌 wēi sh j
Whiskey Sour 威士忌酸 wēi sh j suān
White wine 白葡萄酒 bi p tao jiǔ
WINE 葡萄酒 p tao jiǔ
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Old Aug 29, 06, 3:43 pm
  #22  
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US Immigration/Customs Declaration card number

Originally Posted by PTravel
I've never had my bags inspected, and the Customs officers have been exceptionally appreciative and cooperative (and usually amused), e.g. going through my list to exclude all the non-dutiable articles and even simply waiving any duty that would otherwise be required.
I noticed when you reach the US port of Entry the DHS officer writes
a number on your declaration card. Either 1, or 1 with a circle around it
or 2. I think 2 means automatically to secondary inspection, but I don't know
what if anything the 1 with circle differs from just a 1. Or if they have
other numbers besides 1 and 2?

I once asked a customs officer and they said don't ask this question again.
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Old Aug 29, 06, 3:46 pm
  #23  
 
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Originally Posted by PTravel
This isn't offered as legal advice, just commentary.
OK, I should probably clarify. I actually do declare stuff when I come back, however on the Customs form I lump it all into one category line:

Gifts/souveniers = USD $200

That way I figure I've covered my butt in case (or should I say "when") my bags gets searched. Customs doesn't seem to much care what I have in my bag, they can tell I'm not coming back to sell all the stuff, so I assume they just let it slide..............plus I do a pretty good job hiding most of it.
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Old Aug 29, 06, 3:49 pm
  #24  
 
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Originally Posted by anacapamalibu
I once asked a customs officer and they said don't ask this question again.
LOL, I'll watch for this on my next trip. I must have a sign on my forehead that screams "Inspect my bags", because over 50% of the time mine get inspected, even though they say they only pick 1 out of every 20 people to inspect their bags.
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Old Aug 29, 06, 3:57 pm
  #25  
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The one time I get flagged for secondary out of dozens of times entering the
US...what do I have in my one small bag...an opium pipe. Wow..that went over well. Customs Officer " Do you know what this is and what its used for?" Duh!
I think its a "antique Chinese artifact" . I made sure the thing was really cleaned as otherwise I'd probably be in jail for controlled substance trafficking and narcotics paraphenalia. Last time I'll bring back one of those kind of artifacts.
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Old Aug 29, 06, 4:03 pm
  #26  
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I've consumed the water...

...and I'm still alive.

What can I say, I avoid drinking that stuff like the plague, BUT on several occasions during the past decade, I've found myself thirsty at 3a without any other viable alternatives, so I've done the impossible.

While I certainly don't advise you guys to slurp the stuff, it worked for me in 1997, 2000, 2002, and 2003... so I think y'all would be better served by drinking it than dehydrating yourselves. Of course, given the abundence of bottled water in these parts, it should never come to that. But, if it does, have no fear!
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Old Aug 29, 06, 4:19 pm
  #27  
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Originally Posted by anacapamalibu
But more than a few times I have shown the bartender how to make a drink,
Which they seemed to enjoy the advice. I often noticed how they measured
out the ( imported) liquor with the preciseness of a scientist. Hope it actually was imported..good chance it was bootleg.
On my most recent trip to China, we were at the Sheraton in Xi'an. I caught a cold and wanted a Screwdriver with dinner for medicinal purposes. The staff in the very upscale restaurant had never heard of it. I had to give instructions, and they brought a separate glass with ice, a separate glass with vodka and a separate glass with orange juice and watched, fascinated, as I combined the three ingredients and enjoyed the result. Each time we dined at the restaurant thereafter, I was asked if I'd like my "special drink," and the same ritual was observed.

Re: bootleg, I once had some counterfeit Maotai. Ugh -- not a happy experience.
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Old Aug 29, 06, 4:34 pm
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Originally Posted by anacapamalibu
what do I have in my one small bag...an opium pipe. Wow..that went over well.
I have a small collection of these that I've brought back from my HKG trips (I think I also have one or two from SIN). I've never been searched, but one fellow I've purchased a couple from (store on Hollywood Rd) told me he once had a few confiscated by the police as they found traces of opium in them.
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Old Aug 29, 06, 4:54 pm
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Chapel Hill Guy
I have a small collection of these that I've brought back from my HKG trips (I think I also have one or two from SIN). I've never been searched, but one fellow I've purchased a couple from (store on Hollywood Rd) told me he once had a few confiscated by the police as they found traces of opium in them.

Before I brought them back I asked a cop and he said make sure to clean them with alchohol to get rid of any residue otherwise we'll bust you.
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Old Aug 29, 06, 6:22 pm
  #30  
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Originally Posted by gregorygrady
OK, I should probably clarify. I actually do declare stuff when I come back, however on the Customs form I lump it all into one category line:

Gifts/souveniers = USD $200
I do the same thing.

It depends on how your customs form is stamped by the
immigration officer. It will notify the the customs agent to
decide whether you should go through the screening or not.
These tips are discussed in other threads.
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