I used to live in the great city of Chicago. I loved it there. It was bustling with activity, easy to get around, and fun. I worked with people who lived in the suburbs, and their lives seemed so…suburban. Now I’m in another big city (okay, so the size of Chicago doesn’t exactly compare to that of Beijing), this time with school-aged children, and I find myself to be a Beijing suburbanite in Shunyi.
Being labeled as such never dawns on me until I hear the city dwellers talk about how far away I live, or how they plan way ahead of time for a trip to Shunyi. I furrow my brow in disbelief, as it’s really not that far away.
The newest, easiest way to get here is Subway Line 15. It connects with Line 13 in Wangjing, and there are several stations to choose from for disembarking (Maquanying by Beijing Riviera; Sunhe on Jingshun Lu; or the International Exposition Center which is closest to Pinnacle Plaza). At RMB 2 a ride, it’s also the cheapest; although getting around after that is less convenient without wheels.
Driving here is easy, too. From Airport Expressway, the Lido area is exit number two, right? Shunyi is exit number four(Jingmi Highway). Yes, number four…not that much further along the highway. This exit will get you to the south side of Shunyi where you’ll find WAB, and the villas of Grand Hills or Beijing Riviera. The main road is Jingshun Lu, and with the many traffic lights, it can be crammed with traffic during peak hours. There are also camera operated speed traps along this road, which is why taxi drivers don’t like to use this exit.
Or, you could travel further on the Airport Express to exit seven (Yanglin). That puts you closer to Dulwich College and the compounds of Legend Garden or Rits Garden. Both exits have a toll booth that costs you RMB 5, both are approximate half way points to the Pinnacle Plaza/Euro Plaza areas, and both are easy to get to.
Sure traffic can make the trip all the way out to Shunyi a nuisance, just as a trip to the city can be for those of us out here. However, here we do have plenty of restaurants to try, shopping, and several indoor and outdoor activities. Many suburbanites don’t even go to the city much. If you have children in school out here, those children are busy – schoolwork, outside activities, friends, birthday parties, you name it. There’s plenty to do, plus you don’t have to worry about the driving and parking nightmares of the city.
Yep, I’ve become a suburbanite. I still go to the city for a change of scenery, but the ‘burbs suit our needs just fine.