Monday, February 23, 2009

Beijing, China (II)

Destination #9: Beijing, China (II) [Quick Facts]

Year of Visit: 2006 (Before Beijing Olympic Games 2008)

In this second edition of my Beijing post, another historical marvel awaits.

On our third day in Beijing, we visited a jade factory in the outskirts of Beijing. As usual we were given a bilingual introductory briefing about jades and the various types of jades available in the market. We were then treated to a guided tour of the factory to witness for ourselves how jades are polished, treated and cut into shapes. Then of course, they will unveil to you the final product gleemingly displayed under the spot light and try to talk you into buying one.

After the jade factory, the bus took us further out from Beijing to the magnificent Great Wall of China (长城), the Badaling section. The walls were first built in circa 202 BC by the first Emperor of China Qin Shi Huang Ti.

It was used by the Chinese to protect their land, this section of the wall has had many guards to defend China’s capital Beijing. Made of stone and bricks from the hills, this portion of the Great Wall is 7.8 meters (25.6 ft) high and 5 meters (16.4 ft) wide.

The Great Wall was overflowing with tourists!

There were so many local Chinese tourists who came from all parts of China.

On our way up the wall, we came across this little corner off the Great Wall offering pony and camel rides, not up the Great Wall but within that encirclement.

The Great Wall of China that stretches over 6,400 km beyond sight.

If I remember correctly you will receive a certificate if you managed to walk on the Great Wall for a few kilometres to a checkpoint. Don't despair if you can't make it, you can always purchase the certificates at the souvenir shops at the foot of the hill.

The autumn wind was so strong and chilly especially when we you are at the Great Wall so I felt compelled to purchase a 'Great Wall of China' windbreaker for a bargain only to discover later that the pockets were filled with holes!

Boy meets girl, Oriental style.

and the dogs fell in love with one another first.

Modern China - another Starbucks Coffee seen at the vicinity of the Great Wall of China.

The buildings near the Great Wall were nicely refurbished.

There was a sense of accomplishment to have set foot on one of the most magnificent structures ever built by mankind. We then traveled back into the city centre for lunch. On our way back we passed by an eye-catching structure which looked like a Disneyland themepark sitting abandoned. Never mind for Beijing folks, they now have the Shijingshan Amusement Park.

Lunch in Beijing.

Be warned: Chinese dishes in China are generally more oily and salty compared to Chinese cuisine served outside China. You may instruct them to put less oil and salt or soy sauce in your food.

After lunch we proceeded to visit the Beijing Wax Museum of Ming Dynasty.

Apparently they now charge a fee for photo-taking. I don't remember paying a fee for photo-taking back in 2006. Anyway, here are some of the photos from the wax museum depicting some of the major events that happened during the Ming Dynasty.

An attack by a certain chieftain on Shanxi Province in the 1400s.

The palace guards look intimidating as if unhappy that their photos were taken.

A depiction of a banquet organised by the emperor to welcome a Mongolian tribe leader.

Just before sunset we were on our way to the Ming Tombs. It is a tomb cluster of the Ming Dynasty(明十三陵) (1368-1644), including thirteen emperor's mausoleums, seven tombs for concubines and one grave for eunuchs. 13 great Emperors of China were buried here. It is also a World Heritage Site. By now I have lost count of the number of World Heritage Sites in Beijing.

The carvings on the outer wall.

One of the Imperial China shoes worn by the Empress of China.

My great grandmother wore a similar miniature shoe just before she left China for Singapore.

A breathtaking view of the mountains visible from the Ming Tombs.

I thank God for the lovely autumn weather.

The day ended with a good dinner at this restaurant

The restaurants we go to only get better each time!

Watch this space for the third post of Beijing!

Related post: Beijing, China(I)


kyh on 24 February 2009 at 03:15 said...

Is the food good? I heard they don't really suit our tastebuds, do they? We have to wander to HK/Cantonese region for great food.

jlshyang on 24 February 2009 at 11:50 said...

kyh: It's terribly salty and oily but our tour leader was really experienced and efficient. He constantly reminded them to omit salt and oil (but still abit too oily for my liking). I cannot afford to be fussy though, I get hungry very quickly when in Beijing because of the chilly weather. I had a stopover in Hong Kong and had lunch there but I dislike how the char siew and siew yuk meat comes in large chunks on my rice. I still prefer Chinese food Malaysian style :D

kyh on 27 February 2009 at 10:54 said...

Haha... Malaysian food is really great in that it's a fusion of food cultures. And I'd die without cili padis. :P

The doggies r cute huh.

jlshyang on 27 February 2009 at 13:37 said...

kyh: Yea, what a blessing eh? Gotta look at the tiny little things to be proud of at this trying political and economical turmoil.

Guess what? The tour guide actually brought a box of 'sambal' to China just in case the food doesn't suit our tastebuds. LOL

Ah yea the dogs, I'm glad they're not for consumption. :D

Jolene on 2 March 2009 at 15:06 said...

wah, the dogs so cute... but i heard that china people eat dog meat cruel!!


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