I'm swamped with work, so I'll keep this short. Just a summary of my recent Beijing trip so that I won't forget. Will write more stories and helpful information in my travel blog soon. Promise. And soon means June because July to December will extremely be busy for me.
We started at noon on our first day. Our first stop: The Tiananmen Square.
The place has changed a lot since the last time I visited.
I think they added a few things here for the Olympics. Like those huge tv screens in the picture.
And because the Forbidden City is just across the street north of Tiananmen Square, we went there next.
So much history here. Fascinating. And it's so grand, a day is never enough, at least for me.
This is the Donghuamen Night Food Market. They sell interesting food items here like, uhm, sheep testicles.
Live skewered scorpions, anyone?
And no, I didn't try it. I can't. And my heart broke for those poor seahorses.
That night at Wangfujing, Nikko and I bought Panda hats.
I think everyone should have at least one crazy/mad hat in their lifetime
and pose with sculptures like this. :)
Shopping is on our itinerary, of course. I have shoppers for friends. This was shopping #1. We had four.
This was at the Panjiayuan Flea Market. While I scoured for all things vintage, they shopped for *gasp* paintings.
They bought a lot.
The Beihai Park is one of the most authentically preserved imperial gardens in China.
It is huge (about 70 hectares) with charming corners and beautiful structures.
I was totally impressed with the Summer Palace. The gardens, the lake, the structures all spell magic.
I could imagine what it looked like when the Emperor and the Empress lived there.
This is the Temple of Heaven. Every color, every structure has meaning (like all their palaces and temples).
The entire entrance was lined with big roses of different colors. Just incredibly beautiful.
Of course, we did not miss the Olympic Village. I was in awe. This was my first Olympic venue visit.
We took a rickshaw to go to old streets/alleys (hutong) formed by lines of houses with courtyards.
One resident opened his home to us. Then we headed off to another shopping district.
We visited the Lama Temple. I couldn't remember how many buddhas I saw that day.
This one is the Statue of Maitreya, carved out of a single white sandalwood tree.
It is 26 meters high. A Guinness Book of Records holder.
We were not allowed to take pictures, but I did. Maitreya was too beautiful, I wasn't able to resist.
I am not going to hell for this, am I?
We watched an acrobat show, too. I've seen more impressive ones, but this was good entertainment.
A good break from all the walking, too.
And then there's the Great Wall. We went up on a two-seater cable and went down on a sled (Toboggan).
Took that picture of the Toboggan while I was on the cable. Oh, I have an unforgettable experience here. :D
Silliness at 798 Art District.
This place has many galleries, cafes, and pretty little boutiques.
When I visit Beijing again one day, I will spend more time here. Inspiring.
Here, our shopping and bargaining skills were put to the test.
Good thing, our friend Chris taught us well. :D
We ended the trip here -- another shopping district near the Tiananmen Square.
Old buildings turned into high-end boutiques. Quite charming.