A Travellerspoint blog


China a Many Cultured Place

Yesterday was my last day in China.

First thing I did after taking a long walk was to go to the Chinese Ethnic Cultural Park. The park showed recreations of buildings of many different cultures in China, along with descriptions of religious practices, language, etc, of which there are 56. I learned that many have a different spoken language but the same written language as those city-dwellers. Some groups worship ancestors, others practice ghost worship. Some are quite primitive and still build straw huts-(that is what I got out of it). The park is huge, comprising two city blocks, and includes a bridge the goes between both blocks. Certain musical acts we're playing dances and singers relating to different nationalities. it was a fun time.IMG_1847.JPGIMG_1811.JPGIMG_1801.JPGIMG_1805.JPG
That took up most of the morning and afternoon. After that, i was debating weather to go back to the hostel and rest, but instead decided to go to the Temple of Heaven, which was a place for emperors to worship during the 17th century. The temple was closed by the time I got there-but that was ok. I sat on a bench and took a nap. Also walked around the temple, and it was quite beautiful.

After the temple, i got on the metro again and went to a big pedestrian street with big-name department stores, as well as stores like H&M and the Gap. There was a food street with lots of vendors. I had different types of food including lamb, something that looks like a crepe, oyster balls (I think-or something like), rice in a pipeapple, etc. And i found other food as well, which I didn't eat-like stingrays that we're still alive, lizards, etc. The lady had a sign asking for no pictures but I snuck one in.

Posted by DavidPearlman 15:37 Archived in China Comments (0)

China: Always Stuck in Second Gear

Yesterday, I started the day by going to the China Museum. The Museum was surprisingly interesting-I expected only the usual vases and ceramics, but there was a compelling display called "The Road to Rejuvenation", which was a display of ration cards, gifts from other countries, after World War II. There we're other cool displays such as small signs from companies like Texaco and other foreign companies during the period which China suffered the humiliation of being occupied by foreign powers, and nearly being a colony. i learned that the HSBC bank, which is a British Bank-was always a British Bank despite the name-(Hong Kong Shanghai Bank)-it was set up by Great Britain when China was nearly a colony.


The rest of the museum was the usual collection of vases and ceramics which i expected, but even that was rather interesting.

After that, I got on the metro about 6 stops, changed to another metro, took the metro one stop-walked for about 20 minutes to an office building, took the elevator to the 6th floor, and found Central Perk, which is world renowned. A while back, I mentioned how Friends is shown in just about every hostel, a show which is nice to see due to nostalgia, but i never particularly loved. Well this is a cafe dedicated to Friends. Friends is on tv all the time, and just like the cafe in the show, (with the same name), there is old, ratty, furniture. I ordered some type of fancy coffee drink and a banana nut muffin (supposedly that is what was ordered in the show). While i was there, the episode was on where an elderly hermit neighbor who complains that the Friends crowd was too noisy unexpectedly dies, and leaves them as benefactors in his will. Upon checking out his apartment, Chandler, who is worried about dying alone, learns that the he shared many of the same interests as the old neighbor-and therefore he might take the same course.


Sort of a stupid episode, like the Jump the Shark type that comes towards the end of a series-but due to the fact that Chandler and Monica weren't together yet (and the twin towers are featured in the lead-in shots), this was somewhat early in the show's run. As with many famous places, Central Perk was somewhat underwhelming.

Later I took the metro to the bell and drum towers, which also we're underwhelming, but it was a nice night, and I walked along.


Posted by DavidPearlman 15:44 Archived in China Comments (0)

China-allowed in the Forbidden City

Yesterday, I woke up early and went to the Forbidden City, one of the main attraction in Beijing. It is an entire part of town consisting of large temples, with names like the "Hall of Supreme Harmony, Hall of Central Harmony, etc. Each hall served a different purpose, such as one to entertain guests, one to hold court, etc from the years 1420-1912. It was nice, but the city was crowded, and I have been in China and Hong Kong for almost 6 weeks, and I have seen lots of Temples, Bell Towers, and Drum Towers. I am sort of burnt out on them. So all of this wonderous splendor that people come from everywhere to see was wasted on me.

After that, I walked across the street to a park called Jingshan park, where a giant Tower on the hill, where I got great views of the Forbidden City. The park also had some pretty gardens with lots of flowers. i walked around for a while, took pictures, and then walked out and enjoyed the nice spring weather.


After about 1/2 an hour of walking, I walked into a hutong. A hutong is a traditional neighborhood in Beijing, where people live in small houses with alleyways in between, and often on main streets nearby are plenty of shops and restaurants. i walked along one for a while looking at the various shops and having some cheap street food, which was good as always.


I walked along a little more for another half an hour. I wanted to find an English guide on Beijing, and online I saw there was an English bookstore-so I took the metro there-taking one line about 5 stops, and connecting to another line. The entire trip was roughly close to 40 minutes, and it was miserable because the pokey train stopped at a lot of stations and I had to stand the entire way. I got out of the metro at a neighborhood with a modern shopping mall, Intercontinental hotel, and office buildings. i found the bookstore-bought a small guide, and dreadfully spent another 40 minutes on the metro to head back to the hostel.

Posted by DavidPearlman 16:09 Archived in China Comments (0)

China: A Big Beautiful Wall

Yesterday, I left the hostel early after a full western breakfast, which was provided by the hostel and went to the wall with 5 others from the hostel.

After the van picked us up. we went for the 2 approximately 2 hour ride to the Chinese Wall, with the Chinese speaking driver, and then arrived at the cable cars which took us to the wall-it was an approximately 45 minute ride up to the wall. Once there, two options we're available: go in one direction, which was easily walkable with few steps, or the other which had huge steps. I made the decision to do the direction with the huge steps-which was right-it wasn't overcrowded with tourists. I walked up the steep steps to several towers, and enjoyed the weather-it was a beautiful day, just slightly cool, with temperatures in the 50's.


After approximately 1 and 1/2 hours on the wall walking in both directions, I slid down the hill in a bobsled like sled, which was tough, and met the others for lunch which was provided as well also. One of the folks lived in China, and was visiting Beijing with his parents. We discussed what it was like living in China, and some communist policies.

After that we returned back to the hostel, and I set back downtown. i wanted to buy a ticket to the Forbidden City, but it was harder then I thought, so I gave up-nobody would just sell me a plain ticket, so I figured I would take care of it at the hostel. i also needed a new shirt and pants (The shirt I bought at home at a thrift store was literally coming apart, and I left a pair of pants behind at a hostel somewhere), so I went shopping and found a new shirt and slacks for 50 Yuans each (around $7.50). I ate the various street foods, including lamb with spice and a bag of dried salty mushrooms. I kept walking around, and eventually found the metro and went back to the hostel. I had a beer and talked with some of the folks at the hostel, including one who was born in China, about how the new culture of China is displacing it's history.

Posted by DavidPearlman 15:34 Archived in China Comments (0)

Bejing King

Yesterday was my first day in Bejing. I got up early, and had trouble finding the Tennenman Square-where the protests we're held in 1989. (I remember that because that was the year of High School graduation, and it was in the validictorian's graduation speech. Otherwise, i don't remember much). It was tough to get around, because it was May day and it was crowded, and there we're security checks everywhere. it was a big square. I took a tour an an old building.


Afterwards, I had lunch at Pizza Hut, because i was in the mood for non-Chinese food, and then I walked around a shopping street for a new jacket. i found one, (because I left my beat up jacket on the bus from the cruise). And I Went back to the hostel, had a beer with others and feel asleep.

Not an exicting day.

Posted by DavidPearlman 15:14 Archived in China Comments (0)

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