Ask Beijing Today is our weekly attempt to make life in China less confusing. Whether it’s tracking down the papers to apply for a Chinese green card, dealing with KTV-crazy neighbors or finding the best buy on saffron, we are happy to help.
Q. Can you recommend any furniture stores that sell sofa-beds or futons?
A. You can make a trip to the IKEA up on the north end of East Fourth Ring Road. It has a wide selection of sofa-beds and different mattresses to suit the needs of your physique and purse. Check the IKEA China website before you head out so you can have some idea of what to expect.
Q. I like shooting pictures but don’t really know how to get the most out of my DSLR cameras and processing software. I bought a Canon DS50. Do you know a school or a private instructor who can help me to learn this camera?
A. There are many photography training schools in Beijing, such as Xin Dongfang. We recommend the Heiguang Training School. The school has been around for 23 years and has many professional and responsible teachers.
In addition to training schools, the Beijing Film Academy and Central Academy of Fine Arts have excellent photography departments where you might find students or teachers who are willing to tutor you.
Q. I have a friend visiting for a few days and want to show him Chinese culture. Do you have any recommendations for a weekend trip outside Beijing? I am looking for something that would only be a 2- to 4-hour commute by public transportation.
A. Thanks to the new high-speed rails, there are many interesting sites within that reach. You can easily make it to Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi province, and from it head to Pingyao, an old county with more than 2,700 years of history. It has many well-preserved buildings from the Ming and Qing dynasties and great local cuisine.
Q. Hello, I’m looking for a gymnastics gym. Somewhere that has a trampoline or no foam pit. Can you help me?
A. You might want to look at Aibengke, a first trampoline sports club in Beijing. Their facilities offer three parts: a family amusement trampoline, fun trampolines and fitness trampolines.
The professional coached will help you to correct your movements and learn more about the trampoline. It is located near the Xihongmen Subway Station on Line 4.
Q. What are a few decent health and travel insurance providers here in Beijing?
A. This is a big question and one for which we don’t really want to be liable. If you have WeChat, try contacting the user “Abacare.” It is the account of a man named Imad who is a professional insurance broker.