Beijing, 2011

Nov 29, 2011 in , ,

My recap of the trip to Beijing is finally (and I do mean finally) here! Hope you enjoy following me through the journey.


Day One

Had the earliest start to the day at around 6, went to the airport, checked in, and the rest of the usual drill. In the plane, I watched Monte Carlo, which I loved, and Marley And Me again, just because. The ride to the hotel was nice because it's easiest to see the city that way. A quick rest and an hour's wait for a taxi later, we went for dinner with my dad's friend. We ate at Quanjude, and had, drum roll, please, Peking duck. The same duck my friend kept telling me about, hehe. There was other food too, not just the duck, though there were other duck parts.



Day Two


Hello, Forbidden City! We went to the Tiananmen Square first, which we had drove past the previous day, before going in. If there's one word that can sum it all up, it's this one: massive. It's so easy to get lost there (and someone lost their "old person," according to the announcement… Hopefully they found them), and what's even easier to do is get overwhelmed by the sheer scale of it all. Being there was just such an amazing feeling, because honestly, it hadn't really crossed my mind before that I would ever go there. Halfway through, I remembered these couple of paragraphs I read in one of the His Dark Materials books by Philip Pullman. The character was talking about China (though probably more metaphorically then about the actual country), and how she would never go there. And there I was, in its very heart, where the Emperor once lived, along with the approximate 9,000 other people who lived to serve him.



That night, we went to Wangfujing, which is famous for its (strange and wacky) food. My dad ate a silk worm… How brave of him.



I stuck to barbecues, tofu, and other relatively tame stuff, haha. Though, I did eat a scorpion tail… It doesn't taste bad, actually. Just super crunchy and a bit salty from whatever they cooked it in. I have a bunch of other pictures of insects on sticks, but I'll spare you the sight. If you really want to see them, Google is only a click away.

I had tanghulu too... My mom said that I looked the happiest in this picture HAHA. Probably something to do with the lighting. And the sugar too, quite possibly.





Day Three


We visited the Prince Gong mansion on this day. He wasn't really a prince - he was a very high official whom the emperor favored so much that he even allowed him to do and have certain things that only the emperor and his palace could have. When he fell out of favor with the new emperor, however, most of his things - gold, along with those items commoners weren't allowed to have - were confiscated, and he was eventually executed. The great thing about places like the Forbidden City and the Prince Gong mansion is that where there are descriptions (usually the important or interesting places), they are written in both Chinese and English.


It might not look like it from this one shot, but the place is huge.

Later, we went to Shichahai, and just wandered around for a while. It was pretty…



For dinner, we found a local restaurant nearby, and had Yunan food, which was yummy. They had this jasmine-egg stir-fry, which was interesting. It's just egg, cooked with the buds of jasmine flowers, and the flowers pretty much taste how you think that they would.


Day Four aka The Day We Conquered The Great Wall

In the morning we went to Changling, one of the thirteen Ming tombs. It wasn't my favorite place, but it was okay. The creepy part was that the soldiers who went in never came out because they were killed to "accompany" the emperor…

Then, the Great Wall! It was and is as magnificent as one pictures it to be, perhaps more. The one thing you probably wouldn't expect though, is the amount of people there are. There isn't much more to say about it, I suppose, so I'll just let the pictures do the talking.

Taken from inside the cable car during the ride up

Just in case you were wondering, we went to the Badaling section, and despite the cable car, it is not wheelchair friendly. Still had a good time up there, though.

We went to Wangfujing again that night, but a different part of it instead. Spot anything familiar in this picture below?


Day Five

We visited the Summer Palace there, and it was one of my favorite spots (partially because the ground was nice and smooth, but that's another story). It was just gorgeous, and so scenic, even though it was slightly cloudy.



On the last full day there, we visited my dad's friend, who is a really nice man. He's an economic advisor, and you can follow him here. :)

The next day, we woke up late, and took a taxi through the rain, to the airport. It was a nice ride there… In the plane, I decided to watch The Smurfs (cute tiny blue people who add "smurf" to everything), and The Kings Speech. I didn't think I would like it but gave it a shot because of all its awards, and I must say I was surprised. It wasn't very lively story-wise, but the characters were crafted very well, and so was their progress throughout the movie. It was definitely worth watching.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip! Beijing is quite different from Shanghai in many ways. Both are moving forward, but Beijing is definitely the one that has the best combination of both old, and new. If there's one word that can sum up China, it's this: massive. Everything is done in gigantic proportions, and it's hard not to gasp at times. But it really is no wonder, considering their population. To put that into some perspective, in the tourist spots, there hardly are the kinds of tourists we expect, namely Europeans and Americans. Most of them are Chinese themselves, but from other provinces.