Only two days until the Olympic games start in Beijing … if you plan a last minute trip there, it is time to prepare! By the way, the reason for the Olympics starting on 08/08/2008 is the meaning of the number 8. It is a lucky number in China. 8 is pronounced „ba“ in Chinese. So, if you chat on the Internet with a Chinese it is useful to know that „88“ is pronounced „ba-ba“ which sounds like bye-bye, and is used in this way.
The same way the people like the number 8, they dislike the number 4. This number spoken sounds like „death“. These two numbers have quite a economic impact. License plates for your car or cell phone numbers cost more when they have many 8s and are cheaper with more 4s. Some hotels even does not have a fourth floor. Thus, if your hotel is offering you a room on the fourth floor, better make sure, if it really exists. However, this could also be a possibility to save money on your hotel room during the games. If license plates and phone numbers are cheaper, why shouldn’t it be cheaper to stay on the fourth floor? If a hotel room is still too expensive for you, maybe going to one of the hutongs and find a private accommodation there might be a good idea. Hutongs are the traditional one-story houses where people used to live. Many of them where destroyed and replaced with large high-rises by the government. However, since the remaining hutongs developed as a kind of tourist attraction, they where left standing and sometimes were even nicely renovated.
Finally, one of the most important part of a „China experience“ is the food. If you are really tough try one of the „specialties“ (scorpion skewers, etc.) at the stalls near Wangfujing Street. Another option would be to enjoy a delicious „Beijing Duck“, at the place that serves it since 1864. You will find branches of the Quanjude Roast Duck restaurant all over Beijing.