Blogs from Beijing, China, Asia - page 13

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Asia » China » Beijing July 16th 2013

We woke up just before seven,when the attendant bought us the tea and coffee we had ordered the night before. We got ready, used the shared amenities and arrived right on time at 8 am. We were met by Dingyi who escorted us to our car and driver and we planned our day. First we went to Badong museum. This is a 6000 year old village that has been discovered and excavated. It was very interesting but very hot and humid. There were also a lot of Chinese tourists and the heat in the hall with the excavations was almost overwhelming. We then headed to the Terracottoa Warriors. The drive out was interesting but the views were disappointing because it was very hazy again. When we got to the Terracotta site our driver took us to ... read more
Excavations of Badong hut
Lunch - delicious
Terracotta warriors

Asia » China » Beijing » Great Wall of China July 15th 2013

The adventure has begun! Boarded our flight with no problems. China Air was fine, usual slightly cramped economy seats, but it was all Ok. The flight was 11 and half hours and we got a little bit of sleep (I watched three movies). Our driver met us as we exited the customs area, even though we had told him to meet us about an hour later. He was a little confused when we tried to leave our big suitcases at the airport but after a quick phone all to his boss it was all sorted. The trip to the Great Wall took about an hour. Weather was warm but very hazy. When we arrived at the car park we couldn't see the wall because of the haze. We bought tickets for the cable car up and ... read more
Road trip!
A toast to farewell Australia
A hazy arrival in China

Asia » China » Beijing » Great Wall of China July 14th 2013

After my short visit to Mongolia in June 2012 en route to Singapore, I decided to stay a night in Beijing. I have been to Beijing many times before for business trip and regretted that I never took the time off to visit the city as a tourist. I am lucky to have a colleague who is able to help me arranging a transportation picking me up from the airport and sent me to the Commune by the Great Wall (www.communebythegreatwall.com/en). I had read about this uniquely designed hotel situated next to the Great Wall. Its website describes: it is a collection of a private collection of contemporary architecture designed by 12 Asian architects. Some of the unique designs were Bamboo Wall, Suitcase House and Cantilever House. Upon checked in, I got a wow feeling just ... read more
The Commune
Pathways to the villas
One of the villas

Asia » China » Beijing July 4th 2013

Apparently the Summer Palace expects 60,000 visitors per day, in contrast to the Forbidden City' 100,000, and it felt much more relaxed, covering a much larger area so everyone is more spread out around the park. My favourite part was Dowager Empress Cixi's Opera House, a tiered open-air theatre reminiscent of The Globe, where I could well imagine her in her private throne watching the operas (they had a few short traditional performances going on whilst we were there). We also hired a pedalo to explore the lake, giving us a bit of respite from the airless heat on land. The Summer Palace as a whole is another of those places where you can understand why there was eventually a revolution - it is ludicrously extravagant, especially considering it was supposedly built with the country's naval ... read more
Typical painted decoration on ceiling
View over the lake
Buddhist temple from the lake

Asia » China » Beijing July 4th 2013

Well, I've now passed the four month mark here in Beijing, and have just about got acquainted with the basics of this vast city - at least the 10% of it I've explored. Time has flown by, and while I feel I've adapted to the Chinese lifestyle quite well, I've also started missing many aspects of England. So, in no particular order, here are 8 things I miss about my home country: 1. Football. I'll be frank - this has come as a huge surprise to me. I've never been much of a football fan - I don't even have a team. But of late, I've started to crave the beautiful game like never before. If I happen to see a match on the TV in my local restaurant, I'm glued; if I hear one of ... read more

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Asia » China » Beijing July 1st 2013

Most tourists in Beijing are Chinese, and they swarmed all over the Forbidden City, a reminder of how huge the country is. According to a sign at the entrance, they were anticipating 100000 visitors on the days I was there (I went twice in the 2 weeks I was in Beijing, with two different friends) and I would estimate only 1-2% were Western. Some of the tourists from other, more provincial parts of China have apparently not seen Westerners before, so we had a number of polite requests for photos, something I had not experienced since I was in Egypt. As is often the case with major tourist attractions, the Forbidden City is hard work - it is so busy it is almost a crush to get through the opening gates, crowds everywhere, and quiet or ... read more

Asia » China » Beijing June 30th 2013

I spent most of today trying to acclimatise to the heat and humidity in Beijing. The temperature is in the mid-thirties and the air is thick and heavy. I spent the morning at the Olympic Park, mostly because it was an easy excursion - very simple to get to, and easy to wander around. By lunchtime I was exhausted. The Olympic Park was not that interesting, aside from having the opportunity to compare it to London's, and (unsurprisingly) it was very similar, though Beijing has the more interesting stadium (the Bird's Nest) but doesn't make such good use of green spaces as London. I was surprised by how busy it was - it is still popular as a tourist destination with Chinese tourists (I doubt the London site is visited by many English tourists), and the ... read more
Water cube

Asia » China » Beijing June 30th 2013

In the early 1600s Jesuit missionaries arrived in China from mainland Europe, bringing with them Enlightenment-era knowledge of astronomy. The Qing rulers put them in charge of the Emperor's Observatory and commissioned Ferdinand Verbiest, a missionary and particularly brilliant astronomer from Flanders, to design a number of instruments (though only after Verbiest had survived not only the dangerous journey from Europe and then imprisonment and exile in China due to his faith, but also a public test, set by the Emperor, against his Chinese counterpart, to decide whether Chinese or European astronomy was superior). The result was a set of beautifully-designed bronze astronomical instruments that are still preserved today on the original observatory platform - as much effort was put into the aesthetics as it was into the mechanics of the instrument design. Pre-telescopes, it was ... read more
Sextant
Altazimuth
Celestial globe

Asia » China » Beijing June 30th 2013

Black Bamboo Park is one of the less touristy parks in Beijing and is used by the locals for an amazing range of activities. During my walk around I saw a group of older people ballroom dancing, another more conventional exercise class, a meditation group, countless pairs playing badminton (or a popular game I have seen a lot in Beijing, where groups of two or three play keepie-uppie with a football-sized shuttlecock), various individuals in more secluded areas practising traditional Chinese string and wind instruments, one drummer and one singer, and, of course, plenty of joggers. Despite all this activity the park felt quiet and the heavy smog made the park feel eerie and creepy, like the setting of a Victorian ghost story (though probably shouldn't romanticise environmental disaster too much). In the morning I had ... read more
Black Bamboo Park
Black Bamboo Park
Black Bamboo Park

Asia » China » Beijing June 30th 2013

I am staying, as a lot of tourists do, in a hostel in one of Beijing's hutongs. These are networks of old-style avenues of low grey buildings, and have much more character than the rest of the city, which is mostly made up of anonymous high-rises. The hutongs are very distinctive: all the buildings are painted grey, with the gables and windowframes dark red. The streets are narrow but bustling, and not so narrow that the Beijingers are dissuaded from attempting to drive cars down them, and bicycles and scooters hurtle down them with horns pipping and bells ringing furiously. I also often see sellers driving scooters with trailers or carts on the back, shouting as they go along, publicising their wares. Despite all the activity the hutongs are relaxing and refreshing to walk through compared ... read more
Street sign
Hutong home
Hutong transport




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