Beijing Part 2 - 9th June 2008 @ 2:55 pm «   »

Location: Beijing Municipality, China : Beijing Part 2

Day 2 started early-ish at the Beijing Zoo because we specifically wanted to see the Panda’s that were moved from the earthquake Chengdu area to Beijing for the Olympics. Of course we picked the wrong day as it was Saturday morning and the news of the Panda’s arrival was all over the media. We felt like we were in a loose scrum trying to get to the front to see anything.

Even though the Chinese are relatively small, they have no concept of queing and can be quiet visious. Jan had to activate the image stabiliser on the camera just to get a few good shots of the bears (while Marizanne was pushing small people out of the way). We only spent a total of 1 hour in the Zoo and then moved on to the Summer Palace in the north-west of the city.
The Summer Palace is a serious of temples and Imperial buildings in an enourmous plot of land with a massive lake. First on the list was a themed traditional Chinese village built on the water edge with all sorts of arts and crafts shops and little restaurants. From there the stair climbing began as you accended up the hill towards ever more impressive sights and buildings. Expecting great views from the top, but unfortunately we had to again contend with serious pollution visibility issues.

It was absolutely stunning however and we ended up spending most of the day there.

Late afternoon we tried to get as close to the Olympic Park as we could, but that seemed an impossible task and after having spent 10 hours on foot already, we didn’t have the strength to walk around the massive enclosure (looking for access points).

We ended the day with a bowl of beef noodles at Mr Lee’s – a local Chinese fast food place just around the corner from the hostel.

Day 3 we planned on getting up a little later than usual, but that turned into a serious of snoozing the alarm clock and dozing off for a little longer. We had plenty to organise in terms of onward train tickets, trip to the Wall and other admin and in the end we only left the hostel at 2pm. We managed to buy our train tickets to Tianjin with little trouble (we must be getting very good in hand sign language).

We also found out that a big part of our trip which takes us past Jiuzhaigou, Chengdu, Leshan and Chongqing (all part of the earthquake zone) is now inaccesable, which is costing us quiet a large chunk of our inland travel through China. We still have to decide exactly how we’re going to spend the extra time, but we expect to add some bits in the south-west of China instead.

After all the admin stuff, we started at Tiananmen Square, the largest public square in the world. Getting off the Metro right next to the square leaves you thinking you’re there, but you have to traverse many underground pedestrian walkways and undergo random security checks before setting foot onto the square. We spent a bit of time people-watching and taking a few photos before heading to Beihai Park, just north-west of the Forbidden City.

The park is much like the Summer Palace, but on a slightly smaller scale. Saying that, it is still enourmous and took us a good few hours just to see the tip of the iceberg. There were lots of Chinese families having picnics on the grass next to the lake and we spotted a few old men practising water-based ancient Chinese caligraphy on the pavement. It was another beautiful day – it has been very hot and humid (around 30 degrees).

On the way back, we swung passed the Drum and Bell Tower and strolled through Beijing’s Hutong area – famous for it’s alley ways and little restaurants and shops.

Like most things in China, food is also relatively cheap compared to Europe and we’ve dined out every night so far – even though perhaps not in very fancy restaurants. We found a very nice chain restaurant close to the hostel and had an unusually nice meal for about 4 GBP in total.

If you can’t see the slideshow above click here.

3 Responses to “Beijing Part 2”  
Brutus Says:

sounds lovely and very interesting for photos. dare you to shout “someting wrong” and see who turns around. might help in the photo scrums. glad you chaps having fun. looking forward to seeing the photos.
HH to you both

jan Says:

Hi Brett,

We have just uploaded a massive batch of photos and loaded slide-shows in some of the old posts. Here’s one we think you’ll enjoy especially: Chinese Poses. We’ll publish more as we get them.

Cheers, j&m

Brutus Says:

OH BEAUTIFUL! LOL, love these posing shots and could be a whole topic in itself.
have been going through the flickr albums with piclens, you getting some great shots. Hard to believe you guys have been away for so long already. keep the updates rolling in and travel safe.