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Peking Duck

Written on: Thursday June 18th, 2009

A journal entry from: Oh, I am going to China

June 18. Though I am very fortunate to travel China, the weather has not treated me so well. Another day in Beijing, another rainy day in Beijing. Put that together with bad pollution it does not make for pretty skies. Anyhow I tried to make the best of it, and gosh did I ever. Went to the forbidden city first, the architecture is so ornate and the painting beautiful! Also, there had to have been at least 10,000 people within the inner city, so it felt pretty busy to me, our tour guide informed us that it was a "slow day" and that during the week of national holiday in 1999 150,000 were in it at once! Of course had to see Tianamen square in front with the Monument for the People afterwards. We proceeded in the afternoon to the Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall, really an architecture museum that included a 300 square m. model of beijing, absolutely fascinating! Ended by looking at the Temple of Heaven. Though it is hard because you can't go right inside, you can still peek in from a foot outside and good thing because the roof is its most beautiful feature. Rafter upon rafter going in a circle, all painted in green, red, blue and gold. There were musicians in the garden and people dancing on the grass. Another unforgettable memory.

June 19 There is so much to do in Beijing! Started off by going to the Summer Palace which will be one of the highlights of the trip for me. Though the pollution didn't make for great pictures across Kunming lake getting to be up close to the many buildings and going on the many paths made the trip beyond worth it. There was a staircase going off the side of the temple at the top of the hill that had been recently been repainted, each 6 foot portion had a different picture on the rafters, I could have stayed for hours looking at them! Will definitely post pictures on some site for people to see.

The Chinese are very friendly people I have come to find, much more personable than I had expected. Being white, or a "big nose" I have received many smiles, hello's, and strangely enough, picture requests. There are many chinese tourists from lesser known and far off western provinces that visit the larger cities having never or rarely seen a big nose, so I have had to become accustomed to the glances. All in all though very nice. While I was leaving the summer palace a little Chinese girl probably two years old was with her family and saw me and said hello, her family laughed and I said hello back. They motioned to their camera and I nodded in agreement and ended up being in a family portrait with the little girl and her mother, it is too cute!

Later in the afternoon I ventured to the Olympic park, as I walked out of the subway I was greeted by a clear blue sky!!! The first of my time here in Beijing. The birds nest is nice, but getting dirty already, was not able to see the race track inside as it was covered with turf and a stage was being built for a big concert at the end of the month. The water cube though, holy moly! Going inside is quite something as there is water running down the walls outside. The music even fit the "water" theme with many dreamlike piano and xylophone pieces playing on the loudspeakers. As I exited the building the sun was beginning to set and the reflection against the "bubble" wall was unlike anything I had ever seen.

Ended the evening with (another) excellent peking or shall I say Beijing duck meal with a friend from my tour group.

June 20 - Today is my last day here in Beijing and there is still alot that I want to see - the pearl market, a dead dictator (the mausoleum), the cctv building ... so I better end this and get out there, I don't have much time. Hopefully hit up a symphony concert tonight, going to check the schedule now, keeping my fingers crossed.