In fact it is. Based on what my expat friends said, and the Korean music that was being played inside, cafe/bakery chain “Tous Les Jours” is in fact a Korean-owned business. The bakery section resembles the self-service places that you find in Hong Kong, and to a certain extent, Chinatowns around the world. The branch that I went to was outside the Wudaokou subway stop on the 13 (the stop you use to get to Tsinghua and Peking U), where there is also a relatively large population of Korean students.
It is basically a cafe like would find in Asia. They serve you sandwich which bread is sub-par for the tastes of a Montrealer (it’s like sliced bread, but slightly sweet), but which fillings are familiar (ham and cheese) yet exotic (something else that tasted kind of sweet). It’s a little pricey for the average Beijinger, but totally affordable for the visiting Canadian (32 RMB for a lunch).
The interesting anecdote with Tous Les Jours, was that protesters against France’s stance on China and the Olympics, who protested in front of the many French businesses in China like supermarket Carrefour, were also seen in front of the Wudaokou branch of TLJ, as testified by one Beijing expat blogger, and another satirical blogger (who had a picture – which indeed shows the plaza facing Wudaokou station, where Tous Les Jours is, with full of people on the street + security guards).
One of the bizarre things with the Beijing Subway‘s interchange stations, like Xizhimen (西直门) in the northwest of central Beijing, is that you need to walk an incredible distance between the stations on both connected lines. Xizhimen is the station that connects Beijing’s original circular line, Line 2, or the Blue Line, with its new Line 13, or the Yellow Line, which is a city rail line that takes more than an hour to semicircle to Dongzhimen (东直门), its terminus near the East corner of Line 2 (also future hub for the Airport Express to be inaugurated in June 2008). This previous photo shows the station at rush hour, on a Thursday evening at around 5:30 PM.
The Line 13 and Line 2 stations of Xizhimen are actually separate stations. From the newer (inaugurated 2002-03) Line 13 station, you have to walk a good 10 minutes to get to the Line 2 station. below a shopping mall, outside through path like you find at amusement parks). If it’s rush hour, they would also make you walk outside, across the Xizhimen interchange/overpass to get to the subway stop’s opposite eastern exit.
If you don’t have to walk across the overpass, like I did on Wednesday, you then go through tunnels that seem to belong to an old or undeveloped interchange station. These are a little eerie, and may’ve been useful in case of a nuclear war. In fact, whereas the new subway lines make you feel like if you were in Hong Kong, the old ones (especially Line 2) definitely make you feel like if you were back in the Cold War era.
Two Chinese-Canadian Montrealers visiting Beijing… who were big enough fans of the Montreal Canadiens to carry their jerseys with them across the world!
A new residential area old of 3-4 years built near Chongwenmen station on Line 2.
We had two beautiful blue sky days on Tuesday and Wednesday, after two days of rain. A quick look now indicates that the haze is starting to come back.
A friend living here says that Beijingers love it when it rains, because it usually means that a strong wind on the next few days would carry away the pollution. Pure blue skies are a rarity in modern-day Beijing, for entirely different reasons than Hong Kong.
Yes, we won! 5-0 in Game 7.
I am in Beijing right now. They are honking outside the apartment, but I doubt that it is for the Habs. 🙂
There may not be a part two to this post… I have been following hockey from Beijing as well. On Sunday morning, I watched Game 6, with a distant relative, also a Canadian-born Chinese from Montreal, and another Quebecer expat. It was pretty awesome, even though it was slo-mo at times, and even sound-less in the last part of the third period, when the Canadiens lost their grip on the game.
Tomorrow morning, I will be watching Game 7 of the Bruins-Canadiens series.
I was told that the Rickshaw bar is open 24/7 and might be willing to switch you to a channel showing hockey. But, unverified info, and I am not going to verify it tomorrow morning.