Monday, April 27, 2009

China recap--segment 5 and final (Summer Palace, Acrobats and Misc.)

Here is a typical lunch for us. Notice the sweet and sour pork that I had to order with just about every meal--just so that I had "something" that I could for sure stomach. To be totally honest--most of the things that I did taste were pretty decent tasting. It all just LOOKS so unappetizing. The soup was actually called, "balls in broth". Jeff just had to get it to taste. Can you see the fork? After fumbling around quite a bit with my chopsticks the waitresses took pity on me (after having a good laugh) and brought me out a fork. I'm still not very good with the chopsticks.

We had our rickshaw driver take this picture of us during our tour of the hutong area. These guys are RELENTLESS. At one point on his "tour" he stopped and told us to go into a little hutong house that was to show us tourists what the inside of the hutong houses were like. Of course it was for an extra fee. Jeff and I didn't neccessarily feel the need to do this so we said "no thank you". He did not take no for an answer. We literally argued about it for about 5 minutes with us saying, "no, no thank you" and he replying, "no, really, you should go in. You will like it." I finally realized that it wasn't worth it to resist anymore. He wasn't about to let us get out of there without going inside--otherwise he wouldn't get his kickback. Good thing we were on a bicycle and not in a car cause he was drunk as a skunk too.

This is the Drum and Bell towers. The Bell tower is on the left and the Drum tower is on the right.

We made it to the Temple of Heaven late in the evening and just missed being able to go inside. We had been too busy haggling over all of the treasures at the silk market.

This is at the Ming Tombs. It is called the Hall of Eminent Favor. 13 of the 16 Ming dynasty emperors were buried here.

Anyone know what these buildings are????

I can't quite remember which building this is. I think it was one of the little temples interspersed within Bei Hai park.

Maybe I should have put this picture with the last post when I explained how backwards they still are with regards to utilizing technology to make life easier.

This is the White Dagoba Temple. It is on an island in the middle of Bei Hai park. It was built to honor the visit of the 5th Dalai Lama in 1651.

All of the little pagoda's everywhere are pretty cool. The colors have all been recently repainted and were vibrant and pretty. the only thing is that they were all pretty much the same--same colors, same designs--same styles with minor variations. Not a lot in the way of variety.

This is called the Nine Dragon Screen. It is an 89 foot long free standing wall made of colorful glazed ceramic tiles and depicting nine intertwined dragons. The dragon is supposed to be symbolic for protection and good luck. The wall was designed to obstruct the pasage of evil spirits who are only able to travel in straight lines.

This is at the Chinese grocery store. Hungry anyone?

One of my favorite places that we visited was the Summer Palace. It was built as an imperial retreat from the stifling humidity and heat in the Forbidden City.

This is the very picturesque "Seventeen-arch Bridge".

Click on the picture to reveal what the sign says. (The English translations were often pretty funny.)

We took a fun dragon boat across the lake to get to the Summer Palace.

I don't remeber the name of this bridge. I just thought it was very pretty. You can see that the visability wasn't that great on this day. The bridge wasn't actually that far away and it wasn't foggy out but that really is what the air quality was like.

It cracks me up the lengths they go to "preserve the relics". I guess the railing just weren't enough. They had to wrap the entire piece in chicken wire too.

These are the steps on the way UP to the Temple part of the Summer Palace. The views from the top were worth the climb up.

The worshippers at the Lama Temple. All of the smoke that you see here is from the incense that they burn. Each time they say a prayer at one of the Budha idols they light an incense and let it burn in one of the big ol' incense burners that they have sitting just outside the alters. (And there are A LOT of different idols in each of the buildings all around each of the 5 different main buildings and courtyars.) This adds up to a bunch of freakin' incense.

This is what I call the "Mother of all Buddha's". This is the idol that stands in the 5th and final building of the Lama Temple complex. It is 80 feet high and is made out of a single piece of sandalwood. It is crazy huge. I think the building had to be constructed around the statue. I wasn't supposed to take any pictures plus I couldn't get it all in one shot anyway so I sneakily took a little video instead.

Did anyone ever see the you tube video of the time that George Bush tried to walk through a door and couldn't figure out how to get through it. That video took place during a news conference in Beijing at the same hotel that we stayed at. This is the actual scene of the crime and these are the very doors that caused all of the trouble. Here is Jeff doing his best GW.

We went to a super fun acrobat show one night. They did some amazing stunts. I didn't get all of it video'd but here are just a few little snippets to give you a general idea of some of the tricks that they did.

Well------There you have it. I hope you enjoyed the posts of our trip. It was a great experience and I can't wait for the next one.

1 comment:

Sabrina said...

Our son, Cameron has some amazing stories about the food he ate while serving his mission in Hong Kong. Some of it was just disgusting to hear him describe, but he still came home with a love of authentic Chinese food.
Our family has really enjoyed your posts on China. Thanks for sharing!