Hankering for a holiday but can't find the time? Try a beach bar in the city where you can relax with a cocktail, enjoy the breeze and wiggle your toes in the sand. Wang Wen shows the way.
It's a hot and parched summer. The bosses have been extraordinarily long-winded and you need a real respite from all the office chatter. It's time to head up to some cool wines, balmy breezes and some beachside fun - on a rooftop bar.
That's right. An innovative entrepreneur has decided to create a unique scenario of sand, swaying palms and exotic cocktails all on the roof of a city center building.
"Everyone loves the beach but there isn't one in Beijing," says Ivan Maksimovic, a partner of the Beach Lounge Bar. "So we moved the beach to the city."
Certainly there is a lot of sand, soft and inviting. Four red sofas are placed in the center of the lounge right on top of sand scattered five centimeters deep. Footprints trail across the "beach".
There is no sea, but shower stalls imitate those by the water with blue bathroom tiles on the wall and beach towels to boot. The bar counter is shaded by a colorful canopy. Clients prop up the bar, nursing equally colorful cocktails. Most are expatriates seeking shelter from the summer heat.
The Beach Bar Lounge is not exactly on top of a skyscraper, but it does command a good view of Chaoyang Park, one of Beijing's largest green spaces, through its glass walls. Be sure to check the weather, though, even if you do have the choice of moving down to the indoor bar a floor below.
Another beach-themed bar is the KOKOMO, one of the oldest bars along the Sanlitun backstreet. But it's more like a deck than an actual beach.
You go up through narrow iron stairs to the 200-square meter bar on the rooftop. White canvas covers the bar, an unadorned dcor that conjures images of rough and ready seamen ready for their tot of rum.
The bar has been in operation since 2005 when it was the lone outlet in the area. It originally occupied the third floor but when the fourth floor rooftop became available, the owners placed some deck chairs on top and it became unexpectedly popular with guests escaping the stodgy indoors.
The bar is open in all weather, leaving customers to duck under the canvas or brave the rain showers. In winter, a glass roof provides shelter and warm sunshine filters through - fuelling the illusion of a beach in the city as you lounge in the deck chairs.
In Pudong visitors can revisit the mighty fleet of 14th century Admiral Zheng He or witness the fight against modern-day Somali pirates. Wu Yiyao reports.
Fighting pirates, commanding a fleet, and sailing around the globe - those are common childhood fantasies. Few will actually realize those young aspirations, but now everyone has a chance to live out their dreams vicariously at the China Maritime Museum.
Anchored at Lingang New City next to the sea, the white canvas-covered museum is the largest of its kind in the world. The museum boasts more than 10,000 collections, many of which are cultural relics including objects that trace the evolution of boats from canoe to aircraft carrier.
The replica of a gigantic Ming dynasty boat displayed on the ground floor is so overwhelming that visitors have to lean back to be able to see the tip of the mast. They can also get on board for an experience of life as ancient sailors. The original was the flagship of Admiral Zheng He, the great emissary of the Ming dynasty whose fleet sailed to the shores of Southeast Asia, India and Africa.
The interactive installations in the museum are quite appealing.
"I've been singing Yellow Submarine since I was 10, but I've never been inside one before," says Lu Qinghua, a 21-year-old student who got to do so at the museum.
The model submarine offers visitors a chance to learn more about life under the sea. For those who would like to sail on the waves instead, a 4-D cinema will be open to the public from early September, giving visitors the visual experience of sailing in a perfect storm.
Children, especially, will love the exhibition showing the fight against Somali pirates. Actual objects, pictures and captain's logs give details of how the sailors defeated pirates with the help of Molotov cocktails made of beer bottles.
Visitors can also try their hand a making sailor's knots like the double knot, overhand loop and cloven hitch.