The consulates, trading firms, and homes built by foreign powers after the Yantai Agreement of 1876 can still be seen in Beihai's old town around Zhuhai Lu and Zhongshan Lu. Three long blocks south of Zhongshan Lu on Jiefang Lu is the former German Consulate, a two-story yellow structure with graceful arches, now on the grounds of the Nanzhu Binguan. Across the road is the old British Consulate, which has fallen into a state of disrepair and is now part of a local school.

Beihai now has two aquariums. The original down in the waterfront park next to the Shangri-La Hotel is old and dated, while there is a new center up on Sichuan Nan Lu Zhong Duan (tel. 0779/320-2238). Ticket prices are a stiff ¥98 ($13/£6.40) for adults and ¥58 ($7.55/£3.75) for children, but I was much more curious to have a look around the warehouse across the street, whose sign announced that it was a wholesale outlet for "Fisherman's Pyrotechnic Supplies."

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