Gayjing: China’s Cool Capital


A Hot Italian Ass At The Opposite House

A Guide To Gai Fun In Beijing

Despite all the media exposure given to China, it is still something of an exotic place for a gaycation.  It shouldn’t be; Beijing is one of the most exciting cities on the planet, and though the gay scene is nothing like Berlin or San Francisco, the fact that there is a gay scene at all comes as a surprise to many of us who have the impression that China is all work and no play.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  Chinese people are among the friendliest in the world and have a good sense of humour.  Much like the Scandinavians, the Chinese appreciate subtle humour and ‘get it’ when sarcasm is used.  Obviously, then, gay men are considered very funny.

A veritable costume party at Panjiayuan Market

Destination is the only full-time gay club in Beijing, and it is THE place to go on a Saturday night, when the bold and the beautiful are out on the town and in party mode in the club’s many rooms and on the dancefloor.  Perhaps they are still in a good mood from the previous Thursday, when the nights are very social at The Opposite House’s Mesh Bar, where the young and beautiful, both Chinese and international, come for a drink and a wink in an attitude-free zone where the vibe is highly positive.  The Opposite House’s Director of Guest Experience is a handsome guy named Enwei who is a master worker of the room; he ensures visitors to his domain are all maximally happy. 

Beijing Art Museum Gallery Buddhas

Happy seems to be the state of mind of the staff as well as the guests.  Mesh has become a hotspot for The Beautiful People of Beijing, and from the looks of the faces and curves of the asses seen last week, they are Beautiful, indeed.  Unlike the pretension dished out with the peanuts at gay bars in many other places, the vibe at Mesh is friendly and welcoming, and saying hello to someone standing alone in the corner does not mean you want to go to bed with him, it just means you are given the chance to get to know someone new.  One thing’s for sure; foreign residents of Beijing are anything but boring and it seems everyone is doing something interesting, whether studying Mandarin or designing the shops showing off the latest fashions.  One gay man from New York visiting Beijing on business was seething; his friend back home, evidently a self-appointed arbiter of good taste and omniscient travel advisor, had "never heard of The Opposite House" and recommended our traveling executive stay elsewhere, leaving him disappointed but happy to be able to visit in the evenings after his meetings.

Classic China At The Beijing Art Museum Gallery

The Opposite House is a simply beautiful hotel, which also happens to be one of the hippest social gathering places in town.  Japanese starchitect Kengo Kuma juxtaposes natural materials such as wood, stone, and space with Asian sensibility for art and design, resulting in an exquisite property that would not look out of place in Stockholm or Copenhagen.  A member of Preferred Hotels, The Opposite House is thoroughly modern, yet it shelters a bit of history under its soaring ceiling.  In traditional Beijing courtyard homes, there was always a guesthouse to north of the main house; this was known as the opposite house, which is the perfect name for this outstanding property to the north of the courtyard formed by the surrounding Village at Sanlitun, Beijing’s latest hotspot for the ultracool. 

Gay Man’s Reaction To Brown Shoes With Gray Pants

The Opposite House treats its guests very well, with spacious rooms and the attentive service that comes from running a small property with great care.  The style and glamour of the place extends to its transportation, and the gorgeous Maserati Quattroporte can be sent to pick you up from the airport and take you wherever you may wish to go.  Come nighttime, forget chocolates on the pillow; at The Opposite House, the artistic touch comes with historic postcards and Chinese-motif bookmarks. 

There is enough in Beijing to keep visitors busy for weeks.  In fact, there is enough for a lifetime; don’t be surprised by the number of Westerners who have made Beijing their home.  Many of them speak fluent Mandarin and enjoy a privileged lifestyle far removed from the everyday life they would have at home.  Where to start?  The Forbidden City, of course.  Bigger than a porn star and very impressive, this private city within a city was the home of Chinese emperors for nearly five hundred years and now houses The Palace Museum.  This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the largest collection of ancient wooden structures in the world.

Modern And Traditional Side By Side At Panjiayuan Market

From the magnificent Summer Palace in the city’s northwest to the shopping palaces at China Central Place, there is no shortage of luxury in the capital of communism.  The many temples around town are quite interesting and range from Yonghe Lamasery in the northeast of the city to the Temple Of Heaven in the southern part of Beijing.  My favourite, though, is Dongyue Temple, where grotesque statues meant to protect the ghosts of the afterlife loom in displays along the courtyard perimeter.  Some of the faces are scarier than an online hook-up who doesn’t quite look like his profile page.

Ironic, To Say The Least. Mao And The Forbidden City As Seen From A Rolls-Royce

The many of us interested in the arts and shopping will both be pleased to visit the enormous Pan Jia Yuan Market, where all sorts of items from silly trinkets to valuable works of art are sold in a lively atmosphere.  The arts in China are very well respected and have played an important role in Chinese history.  The various stone carvings, calligraphy brushes, ink drawings, and gorgeous furniture are witness to the continued appreciation of traditional arts in modern culture.  The professional antique dealers are here at 4:30 in the morning, flashlights in hand, to get a jump on their competitors to find the best items early.  Why not join them right from the club to the market?  If a more reasonable hour seems appealing, the market is open until the later afternoon. 

One Of Beijing’s Mod Shopping Malls

Saturdays and Sundays are best for seeing the biggest variety of works as well as the many ethnic groups from Chinas provinces, who come here to sell their wares—and to shop.  There is a very active theatre scene in Beijing, ranging from the shrieks of Chinese Opera to the hard bodies of Kung Fu at Red Theatre.  The National Center For The Performing Arts is an architectural masterpiece; designed by Frenchman Paul Andreu, it is known locally as The Egg.  The Opera Hall, Music Hall, and Theatre Hall together have more than five thousand seats.  There are occasional English-language performances in small venues around the city; the publications Agenda and The Beijinger are the city’s best guides to what’s on around town.  If you want to connect with expatriates, visit The Bookworm, which is something of an institution in Beijing.  A cross between a bookshop, a library, a café, and a venue for events, The Bookworm is a great place to spend a rainy afternoon.  It’s only a block and a half away from The Opposite House.

Packing The Dancefloor At Destination

The site for last year’s Olympic Games still draws visitors curious to see the structures there; this can be done from above thanks to a recently opened Ferris wheel next door.  And let’s not forget that The Great Wall Of China is an easy daytrip from the Chinese capital.

To get around town to see all that Beijing offers, taxis are ubiquitous and very cheap by Western standards.  The drivers are honest (there is a meter that issues a receipt) and never try to take you for a ride in the figurative sense.  If you want to see the sights in the company of a young, English-speaking guide, contact Jet of ChinaMango at jetchina0602@hotmail.com.  Jet can tailor tours of Beijing to your exact specifications and can buy tickets to performances before you arrive in town—a great help in getting tickets to sold-out shows.

For more gay information about Beijing, visit Utopia Asia’s Beijing pages and Fridae.

images:  Robert La Bua

Panjiayuan Market Attracts Men From All Over China
The Opposite House’s Jade Exterior Bodes Well For the Superstitious
Welcome To China, Where Kitsch Is Venerated In Style
You Look Different In Daylight

 

Source = WoRLdviews: R.L.B
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