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problem with guide Robinson Li in Beijing

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problem with guide Robinson Li in Beijing

Old Sep 20th, 2005, 12:19 PM
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problem with guide Robinson Li in Beijing

Just wanted to warn others that problems continue with Robinson Li substituting other drivers for himself. Several Fodorites had warned that his drivers' English is not good, so when I emailed him about availability, I made a point of saying what I had heard and that I wanted him to guarantee that he would take us to the Great Wall himself. Silly me. When the day came, a driver with very poor English showed up and all I could understand was that Mr. Li had gotten "busy." He had pulled this on at least one other who reported it on fodors. After several extensive conversations from the hotel lobby by phone, he agreed to send along someone else. Steve, who is a student, spoke great English so we ultimately had what we wanted --someone to have informal conversations with and to ask questions of.Still, I felt I had to warn others to beware of Mr. Li and his promises to show up himself.
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Old Sep 21st, 2005, 03:34 AM
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sylvester,
Have you returned from China?Did you have a good time at China?i am a chinese.and i think your problem is very common in China now for your foreigors.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2005, 09:45 AM
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Yes, I've returned after being in China 2 weeks. There were some highlights, such as Great Wall and Terra Cotta warriors, and lots of "challenges" that made the trip less enjoyable. My husband and I never travel with group tours, but in hindsight, that might have made this trip less "work." Despite the many warnings on Fodors about the scams, I was amazed when we kept encountering them and I did not like to feel suspicious all the time.
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Old Nov 30th, 2005, 10:25 AM
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Hi. I just wanted to add a comment about my experience with Mr. Li's service. We reserved him for a tour to the Summer Palace and Great Wall in Nov. 2005. We did not specify who would show up and we agreed to pay the quoted $125, which was also what was quoted on his website (www.beijingtaxi.com). I did assume it would be Mr. Li himself, but it turned out to be Steve, along with a driver, in a nice SUV. We were quite happy with Steve as a guide. He also got us acrobat tickets and arranged a hutong tour for the following day that came with a guide who also spoke very good English. He and the driver returned to our hotel to take us to the acrobats that evening for no additional charge. They did get a bit lost on the way to the Great Wall (on the way out of Beijing and when detouring around Mutianyu because of some roadwork), but that doesn't bother me because I did not feel that our time was limited at all. The place we ate lunch was next to a Cloisnee factory, and Steve asked us when we wanted to eat and if we wanted to see the factory before we went in. The food was great (huge meal and best we had in China for only 45 RMB pp), and although the salesperson in the factory was pushy, we didn't buy much and it was our choice to go in. Hope that's helpful.
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Old Feb 26th, 2006, 05:25 PM
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Thanks for the update on Mr Li. I am looking to book him for my great wall trip in the next 2 days. I am glad to know he will most likely not show up himself and can ask for Steve. sounds like everyone was happy with steve as a backup.

Quick question about payment. did you pay ahead of time or did you pay once the driver arrived to pick you up at the hotel? Does mr li take CC at all or is it cash only?

Any other recommendations for drives instead of Mr Li by chance?
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Old Mar 31st, 2006, 01:43 AM
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Just got back from China 3/25/06 after 10 days (Shanghai, Beijing, Xian). Also used Robinson Li but Steve showed up. Steve was great. No complaints at all. If you can't get Robinson then I would definitely request Steve. We will use him again. Airport pick-up then dropped bags at hotel. On to Tienneman square and Forbidden City (Yes the hawkers are agressive but it get to be a game after a while. Best trick is to ignore and don't look and don't say anything if not interested Not even no thank you. Saying anything at all encourages them.) Both sites are amazing and any trip to China would be incomplete without a visit.

Went to dinner at a Chinese restaurant for Peking Duck. Only Chinese patrons and staff only spoke chinese so Steve translated and helped out order etc. Great food. Watch out for the Kung Po Chicken Very spicy.

Next day to Great Wall at Mutianyu. Amazing. Steve drove the van without problem getting there. The hawkers are very agressive here but use above suggestion if not interested. But the prices at the bottom of the hill are half of the prices quoted at the top. so be patient. Seemed to be the cheapest kitsch of our trip though so a good place to buy souvenirs.

He came back and took us to the airport to Xian the next day where he had arranged for another guide, Raphael who was very good also. Xian is not to be missed. But we only were there for only 10 hours. I would have loved to stay longer. The Terracotta Warriors are really fascinating and another highlight of the trip. Best meal in China was in this small restaurant in the Muslim section. Great shishkebobs and Chinese/muslim food.

Ask for Steve. Wont be disappointed.
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Old Apr 1st, 2006, 11:37 AM
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I too had problems with Robinson substituting a driver that did not speak English well. i wish we had known about Steve. It would have made our trip tp the Great Wall better. We had so many questions about daily life in Beijing that would have made a great question and answer session on our drive to the Wall.

We should have been more vocal about not having a driver that spoke English well.
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