For travelers coming from other parts of Asia, Beijing can feel unaccommodating even if you happen to speak Mandarin Chinese. In a city which lacks resources for everyone, classist attitudes are pervasive as the young, upcoming wealthy assert how different they are than the impoverished. You’ll see migrant workers living in their construction vehicles, and if you say Ni Hao to one you’ll have said more than any Beijinger has.
The people are fervent supporters of their police state’s government policies, and conversations can leave one with the realization just how potent complete control over media and education systems can be. It’s true that Beijingers are friendly once you win their trust, but just don’t expect to come to a level of mutual understanding.
People in Beijing are curious and very few people have ever left their country. Most hold wild misconceptions about the world, but can be very appreciative of even small gestures. Social gatherings consist of groups circled around restaurant tables, sharing dishes, and singing karaoke at KTV is very popular.
Beijing is a very different city than Shanghai or Hong Kong. Where these other Chinese cities carry a modern, international vibe, people in Beijing have a more serious mien. Fashion hasn’t hit Beijing, displaying clothing with western logos is as far as it’s really gotten.