FC: BEIJING CHINA March 1-10 2 0 1 3
1: The natural BEAUTY of southern Thailand was stunning. | China in Transition In the past seven centuries, Beijing has survived dynastic collapses, rebellions, colonial incursions, world wars, warlords, revolutions and transitions in and out of communism. As a result of its complex political history, the Chinese capital is now home to world-class monuments. The Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace, endowed by both the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties are some of the world's most splendid historical sites. They are a pleasant interlude amongst the matrix of city streets, and have recently been joined by new impressive sites such as Chairman Mao's Mausoleum and the main venue of the 2008 Olympics, China's National Stadium, or the Bird's Nest. But it is often the small details, not the marquee attractions that reveal the human side of Beijing history: the name of a city gate that recalls an imperial ritual, the recipe originating in the palace kitchen that has been passed from chef to chef for generations, and the faded Maoist slogan still detectable on the wall of a chic new art gallery are all delicate reminders of Beijing's past echoing in the city's future. But contemporary city life has an equal appeal. After cycles of destruction and reconstruction, Beijing's mix of new and old is truly unique. Ancient hutong lanes and traditional courtyard homes are sewn neatly between the web of bold skyscrapers and vast avenues paving their way into the city. Against the backdrop of frenetic development, in a cit of grid-like design, native Beijingers brush shoulders with ambitious migrants from around the country. Students, teachers, businessmen and artists come to Beijing from around the world, pedaling their skills and hoping to make their mark. But historical sites pepper the city with scenes from the past: they offer calm in the face of a competitive new socity. These architectural and social juxtapositions create a complexity unique among Chinese cities, giving Beijing a flavor that is distinctly its own. ---Wild China
3: The natural BEAUTY of southern Thailand was stunning. | Beijing China Trip February 28 to March10, 2013 Day 1: Fly from Cleveland to Chicago and then direct to Beijing (13 hr flight). Day 2: Arrive in Beijing. We are picked up by our guides and taken to a Peking Duck restaurant. Crispy duck skin with sugar is delicious. After dinner we check into our hotel-Novotel. Day 3: Visit to Tiananimen Square and the Forbidden City in the morning. After a lunch downtown we went to the Old Summer Palace (destroyed in 1860) and went through the gardens, ruins and maze. During dinner we had 2 members of the Peking Opera come and show us their makeup, costumes and a short bit of the opera. Day 4: On Sunday we took a pedicab ride through the hutong (narrow alleys laid out during the Yuan dynasty (1268-1364) with traditional courtyard homes) and along Houhai Lake. We had lessons in paper cutting, knot tying and yu-yu . Then we had lunch made by some local women and ate lunch in their home. After lunch we went to the Llama temple and then to the Confucius Temple where examinations for Imperial positions were sat. After dinner we learned how to ride the subway. Day 5: We cut out from the rest of the group and took the subway to the Olympic Park. The weather was perfect. Ate lunch at McDonalds and then rode the subway to the Silk Market. Bargained through 5 floors of shopping. For dinner we decided we wanted American food and found a restaurant with very good steak.
4: Day 6: Drove about 80 miles through the countryside to the Great Wall at Jinshanling Pass. Walked about 1 mile uphill to the base of the wall and climbed a lot of steps to the top of the wall. Beautiful views of the mountains. We then went to stay at a homestead in Hexi Village. The owner taught us how to make dumplings and we had them for dinner. We stayed in the village overnight and learned about living in the country. Day 7: After a great breakfast we headed back to Beijing. We stopped at the zoo and saw some Pandas. After another great lunch we went shopping at the Pearl Market. Day 8: Today the air quality was not very good so our guides gave us masks to wear. We learned about Eastern medicine this morning. We had lunch at a French Fusion restaurant. After lunch we had a cooking lesson. The chef cooked 2 dishes and gave us the recipes. The students attended a lecture and Matt, Rose and I walked around. Found an adult playground and tried out some of the exercise equipment. Dinner was at a Mongolian style Hot Pot restaurant. Day 9: Visited the caves where Peking Man (Homoerectus) was found. Lunch at McDonalds and then a stop at a grocery store. From there we went to the Beijing Center, a Jesuit run university. Had dinner at a Dim Sum restaurant. We had a dessert called Snow Mountain. Looked different but tasted good.
5: The natural BEAUTY of southern Thailand was stunning. | Day 10: This morning we met with an expert on the environment. We discussed the pollution problems in China. While we were at our meeting a sandstorm came in and we had to use our masks. In the afternoon we went to the 798 Contemporary Art Center. These are different art galleries set up in an old factory. Some very different and interesting work. Dinner was a another great meal. We then attended a Chinese acrobat show. Very exciting. Day 11: This morning we woke to a beautiful, clear blue sky. Matt, Rose and I took the subway back to the zoo. The subway is always crowded but very clean and efficient. Part of the way was above ground. We enjoyed the zoo. Saw birds, monkeys, zebras and giraffes. The people there bring vegetables to feed the animals (even though the signs say 'Don't Feed the Animals'). Then back to the hotel for a quick lunch and check out. Took bus to airport and checked our luggage. Next was security-they checked our passport and took our picture twice, Then we had all our carry on checked. Off to the gate and then another security check before we got on the plane. Thirteen hour trip back to Chicago-I slept about 6 hours of the trip. Then we picked up our luggage, went through customs, dropped the luggage back off and got on the plane for Cleveland. Very nice trip, I learned a lot about China. Different and much nicer than I thought it would be. People were very nice and friendly. I would definitely go back for another visit.
7: The architecture of Beijing is a story of CONTRASTS The old juxtaposed next to the new.
8: | Tiananmen Square | Parliment Building
9: Mao's Tomb | City Gate
10: | The Forbidden City
12: Llama Temple | Confucius Temple
13: | TEMPLES | Llama Temple
14: | FOOD OF CHINA | Peking Duck
15: We ate food from many different regions of China including Hunan, Szechwan, Cantonese, and Mongologian | Snow Mountain | Peking Duck | Dim Sum | Mongolian Hot Pot
16: "The Great Wall is over 500 miles long and looks like a snake crawling along the back of the mountains.
17: | THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA
18: Pandas and Magpies Most of the animals we saw were in the Beijing Zoo but there were many Eurasian Magpies building nests in town.
19: | NATURE - BIRDS AND ANIMALS
20: |LESSONS IN THE HUTONG
21: We learned many crafts including paper cutting, knot tying, yu-yu spinning and even had cooking lessons.
22: Shopping in Beijing
23: The Pearl Market (left page) and The Silk Market
24: | ENTERTAINMENT | Peking Opera
25: We enjoyed many different kinds of entertainment. | Acrobats | Pedicab | Yu-Yu Lessons | Maze | Adult Playground
26: | Olympic Park
28: |798 CONTEMPORARY ART DISTRICT
30: | Peking Man Site
31: Beijing Zoo
32: More pictures from Beijing. | Abraham, Rose, Matt, Steven
33: Squat Toilet | Subway