Beijing


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Long Tan Park

The first day in Beijing, we arrive somewhere in the afternoon. No one in the group has been able to sleep in the plane, so the best thing to do is to catch some sleep.

Well, not me! You can always sleep later, and the Long Tan Park just around the corner looks very interesting. And it is! On a Sunday afternoon the park is very much alive with activity. You see people doing tai qi, dancing, playing croquet or some other game, or just having a stroll.

Long Tan Park

Fishing for Goldfish

Lasergame shooting

On the pictures above two activities in the park: on the left some children trying to catch goldfish with a net, on the right a laser game. Never seen that played outside before. And after such a long flight, probably the best place in the park is the teahouse next to the lake. This is better and even more relaxing than sleeping in the hotel .
Long Corridor

The second palace is completely different, and  has buildings and gardens with those creative Chinese names like Hall of Benevolence and Longevity or Garden of Joy and Harmony. Funny thing, the original names in Chinese are much shorter: Renshou Dian and Xiequ Yuan.

Very crowded with Chinese tourists

Summer Palace

The Summer Palace (Yuanming Yuan) is a very large complex. Originally it was built as the Chinese version of Versailles. This first palace however was destroyed by the British in 1860, who had a little disagreement with the Chinese government regarding opium (the British wanted to be drugs dealers in China, and the Chinese thought that was a bad idea).

Chinese woman resting

You can't miss the Long Corridor (Changlang). With its 784 meters this is the longest pergola in the world. Very interesting are the painted decorations from Chinese history and mythology.

The Pagoda of the Incense of the Buddha I think is the most beautiful construction in the palace complex. It rests on a hill, so you'll have to climb a lot of stairs to see it.

Roof with thingumies

Hutongs

Before there were ring roads and skyscrapers, the people in Beijing lived in hutongs. Small courtyards, with a few trees and four houses, all linked together by small alleyways. And a wall around it, of course. Many hutongs disappeared to make room for modern buildings, but there are still a few left.

Bell tower

Tea ceremony

Riksja A Smart Car ?

Tianmen Square and the Forbidden City

When you're in Beijing, of course you'll visit the Tianmen Square and the Forbidden City. Everybody does. And as a result, it's so crowded that you can't see a thing.

Anyway, when you're standing here, you can't help to feel very impressed by the power of the Chinese emperors who have resided here for 500 years. The Imperial Palace has more than 8000 rooms and it's really massive. More than 4 times as big as the Imperial Palace we saw last year, in Hué, Vietnam.

Mao

Impreial Palace
Boots

Temple of Heaven

Fu Manchu

Temple of Heaven

One of the things in Beijing I enjoyed the most, was the Temple of Heaven (Tiantan), ore more exactly: the park around the temple. The Long Tan Park of our first day was cool, but compared to the Tiantan Park it's just boring .

Yes, this is where it all happens. Men playing with diabolos, old women with large swords, young women with their feet in their necks, dancing lessons, people singing Chinese Opera, and so on, and so on. And everywhere you look, you'll see strangely dressed people, maybe even Fu Manchu himself.

The Wall

WOW

The Great Wall

Close to Beijing there are three places where you can see the Great Wall. This is Mutianyu, 80 km North of Beijing, where you can see a very impressive piece of the Wall. And because we were early, I had the Wall just for myself for a few minutes. Wow!

Standing on the Great Wall

Back in the hotel, I was confronted with the other Great Wall of China, the so-called Great Firewall. Many internet sites, like www.hyves.nl or www.bamjam.net are not available in China. Grrrr. Bastards.


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