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I want my guests to taste real Beijing life


Maria Popescu-Butucea

07.08.2008
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Oraşul forfoteşte de pregătiri.

Z.J. este un locuitor al Beijing-ului, unul din cei 598 de "Olympic Home-stay Families". El declară că doreşte să ofere oaspeţilor confortul de acasă. Wang Zi Qian, ghidul meu, mă întreabă cum se spune "feel at home" în româneşte. Îi răspund: "Simte-te ca acasă!" Acum repetă mereu, cu o pronunţie uimitor de bună: "Simte-te ca acasă!"

Domnul Z.J. şi-a propus să îi facă pe oaspeţi săi să guste viaţa Beijing-ului, aşa cum este ea. Studenta mea, Gua Li a cules informaţiile următoare despre el şi familia lui.

"Z.J. daily routine includes sipping tea at a stone table and practicing calligraphy with a huge brush on the ground of his courtyard.

Z.J and his sister paste paper-cuttings as window decorations for their home.

Their family has been selected as one of the households to host foreign guests during the upcoming Olympic Games.

Now, he and his wife are preparing to open the siheyuan (courtyard house) he inherited from father to foreign Olympic guests to help them understand Beijing life.

The couple is among the 598 "Olympic Home-stay Families" carefully selected from more than 1,100 applicants according to the conditions of their houses and foreign-language skills.

During the Games, overseas visitors can choose to live with such host families rather than in the city's hotels.

The host families will offer a total of 726 rooms for at least 1,000 Olympic visitors. A retired accountant, Z.J. has prepared four guestrooms in his 508-sq-m, 14-room courtyard home near Shichahai, the most popular area for experiencing "Old Beijing".

They have a room with separate beds for elderly couples and another room for newlyweds decorated in the traditional way for the wedding night.

They have also equipped every guestroom with an air conditioner, TV and clean sheets.

They didn't decorate the rooms to look like hotel rooms, but he painted the walls and cleaned it up. Z.J: wants his guests to both feel at home and taste real Beijing life. To help his guests make the most of their Beijing experience, he plans to take them for morning strolls around Shichahai, during which he would share with them the history of the lake - once the starting point of the ancient Beijing-Hangzhou canal".

(Translated and adapted by Gua Li)

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