A Travellerspoint blog

November 2015

Dim sum, Lama Temple, Hutongs

My host Pam had to get up in the morning and go to work, so I found one of the biggest dim sum places and sat down with a pu'er tea. I got a text from Jo about joining me for breakfast, and it was snowing pretty hard outside, so I just stayed there until she came.

We got some more dim sum when Jo got there and then picked our way through the puddles to the Lama Temple. I think it was a good choice, because it wasn't too crowded. I think normally this place is swamped. The giant gold statue of Maitreya is there, and it's something really amazing to behold. You couldn't even see the top of it, because his head was in the rafters.

Then, we went on down to do the hutong tour in the Lonely Planet. We tried to stay dry in the slush, but it was impossible. Halfway through the tour, we were supposed to stop for beers at Great Leap Brewing but it was closed, so we went all the way to the end of the tour and then had to come back. We got quite lost, but when we finally found our way back the pub was open. It was great to drink some fancy beers like "Chai Masala Stout", "Banana Wheat" and pumpkin somethingorother.

We stayed there all night and then I walked home and got completely lost. I had a few hours of sleep at Pam's house and went to the Brazil embassy in the morning to drop off my paperwork for the visa that I need for the end of January. Crossing my fingers!

Me vs. dim sum

Me vs. dim sum


Lama temple

Lama temple


Lama temple

Lama temple


Hutongs

Hutongs


Hutongs

Hutongs


Drum tower

Drum tower


Bell tower

Bell tower


Drum tower

Drum tower


Me vs. chai masala stout

Me vs. chai masala stout

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

I met a crazy lady at the Beijing Police Museum

When I got to Beijing it was still dark. The rain was drizzling and it seemed like it would be a terrible day. I walked around near Tiananmen square in the former legation area. I came upon St. Michael's church at about 7 a.m. People were going inside so I assumed they were having mass. I stayed to listen and enjoy the warmth of the early 20th century building. It was nice to have a familiar routine of church, even though it's in a strange language, it was simple to follow along with the whole ritual aspect of the thing.

From there I went to Jingshan park, to overlook the Forbidden palace. One of my students had given me a giant sack of sunflower seeds, so I munched on them all day as I ambled about at a leisurely pace.

My feet stayed relatively dry, surprisingly under the circumstances but I felt like going inside to a museum somewhere. I went to the National Art Museum of China, which was a lot better than I was expecting. I love 1950s era propaganda, and there was a healthy dose of it inside. There was also an exhibit opening that day, so I watched the reporters in their crazy art scrum and then went back outside.

I was still cold, so I walked down to the Beijing Police Museum, on my way I stopped at St. Joseph's Church, which was locked, and then the foreign language book store to see if they had a book that Dave wanted. They didn't have it, so I went back outside. I realized I had dropped my map somewhere along the way, so I had to retrace my steps. I found it but it was completely obliterated. After drying my tears, and shoving the pages into my notebook carefully to dry, I continued on to the museum.

At the police museum, there was some really bad grammar on the signs and they artfully avoided anything about attacking protesters and innocent civilians, so it was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon. As I was leaving the museum, I met a nice lady named Jo who worked at Reuters. She was hilarious and we went out for another Peking duck dinner Li Qun duck restaurant. It was nice, but still not as nice as that first one last month.

St. Michael's Church

St. Michael's Church


St. Michael's Church

St. Michael's Church


Hart Street

Hart Street


Forbidden Palace moat

Forbidden Palace moat


Jingshan park

Jingshan park


Jingshan park

Jingshan park


Jingshan park

Jingshan park


Last emperor hanged himself here

Last emperor hanged himself here


Art gallery of China

Art gallery of China


Crazy art scrum

Crazy art scrum


St. Joseph's Church

St. Joseph's Church


Jo at duck dinner

Jo at duck dinner

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

Wandering around the city

Dave and I got some of the famous zhajiang noodles, but they were too salty and I didn't like them. I put a bunch of pickled stuff on them to make them palatable.

Our hostel was in a really central location, so we only had to walk a few minutes to Mao's mausoleum. At the beginning of the enormous line, a man in a dirty jacket tried to take money from me because I had a water bottle with me. He said I had to check it before going inside. I ran away from him and checked it myself.

Then, when I got to the end of the line, they saw my camera and told me I had to check it too. So, I went all the way back and checked it along with my water bottle. The coat check lady said that she had to take my papers and maps as well. Why? Who knows.

Dave decided to go to the National Museum instead. He was supposed to meet his friend Angelica there soon. Fine.

I found myself in line behind an older Californian. He was friendly and funny, so we agreed to wander around together for a bit. He also wanted to go to the National Museum, so we went there next and quickly became engrossed in an exhibit of about 600 gifts Chairman Mao and others received from visiting dignitaries. Most of it was decadent, useless crap, but just seeing it all amassed there in one room really showed how much conspicuous consumption and how ridiculously wasteful these awful people are. That was exhausting, but there was still a lot more museum to go.

We headed down to the basement, where we took a whirlwind tour of Chinese history and went back out into the sunshine. From there, we went to the Silk Street Market, where my new friend Brian bought a beautiful blue silk scarf for his wife, probably at an inflated price. There were all kinds of cool tailor made shops, which got me thinking about getting something made for myself before I leave, like I did in Vietnam.

Brian loves architecture, and I had zero plans for the day, so we went to look at some of the modern buildings around town, like the world trade centre and the CCTV building aka "Big Underpants".

Then I was hungry, so we went to Quanjude restaurant, the original Peking duck place, but it couldn't surpass the night before. Even more disappointing, it was twice as expensive. Oh well. Brian was nice enough to pay for most of the meal, and I apologized for bringing him there. He even walked my back to my hostel, where I could pick up my bag and venture over to Pamela's house for the night. I was completely wiped.

Pamela had to work late, so I didn't get over there until 8 p.m. We had a little chat, but she still hadn't had dinner, so she cooked while I passed out on the couch. Oops.

I woke up early, before Pamela had woken up, and went for breakfast down the street: wonton soup and hot soy milk in a bowl. Love it. A man sat down beside me and told mehe was a former police officer and that I could call him whenever I needed help. He paid for mybreakfast and left as mysteriously as he had arrived. I picked up some orgasmic pastries for the train and went home.

zhajiang noodles

zhajiang noodles


Finally, it's all in one place

Finally, it's all in one place


Nice statue

Nice statue


Some of the gifts

Some of the gifts


Mini terracotta warriors

Mini terracotta warriors


Acupuncture model

Acupuncture model


National Museum of China

National Museum of China


Silk scarves

Silk scarves


Silk Street Market

Silk Street Market


world trade centre

world trade centre


Big Underpants

Big Underpants


I'm on the big screen

I'm on the big screen


Presentation is good, food is bad

Presentation is good, food is bad


Me and Brian in the subway

Me and Brian in the subway

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)

Great Wall finally!

Dave and I arrived in Beijing early Saturday morning. I felt reasonably well rested, because this time, I had a nice sleep on a bunk bed. It made a huge difference.

We went straight for breakfast and our hostel, except we walked right by it and ended up really far away. Breakfast was good, there were a lot of different pickled things for my noodles, which I was impressed by.

Eventually, we found our hostel and dropped our bags off in the storage closet. We took the bus out to Mutianyu and two other foreigners were also on the same bus as us. They agreed to take a taxi with us to the wall after we got to the bus stop.

I was sleepy though, so I read the wrong thing in the guide book and we ended up getting into a taxi that was too expensive. The other two took a cable car to the top, but the hill wasn't much higher than the one in Jiaozuo, so we climbed to the top and left them behind.

It ended up being really easy, so we had enough energy to climb from end to end of this part of the wall. The newfallen snow made the craggy mountains glisten and highlighted the crevices in white. The steps were slippery with a thin layer of ice and the wind was often quite chilly. We noticed there were hardly any Chinese people out there that day. They were probably all hiding from the cold. Maybe they were the smart ones. It ended up being a nice day anyway.

When we finally came down, we were starving, but could only see two restaurants. One was Chinese and way too busy, the other was Western and really expensive. We had no choice but to eat there. Fish and chips for $10, scandalous! The salad was great though. I couldn't remember the last time I had one, it was kind of awesome.

We took the shuttle down the hill, but it was a bad idea, because it was only about five minutes long. Then, there were a bunch of taxi drivers harassing us and Dave found out there was a way to take the bus back to Beijing. I really didn't want another stupid taxi, especially not another one harassing me. I just sat down at the bus stop and refused to get up. Finally, the bus came and we made it back to town. I fell right asleep and Dave woke me up to eat some duck. It was great, best duck ever. My Beijing experience is now complete.

Picklessssss

Picklessssss


Noodlessssssssss

Noodlessssssssss


Mutianyu

Mutianyu


Mutianyu

Mutianyu


Mutianyu

Mutianyu


Mutianyu

Mutianyu


Mutianyu

Mutianyu


Mutianyu

Mutianyu


Mutianyu

Mutianyu


Mutianyu

Mutianyu


Mutianyu

Mutianyu


Mutianyu

Mutianyu


Mutianyu

Mutianyu


Duck

Duck


Duck

Duck

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in China Comments (0)