Thursday, January 12, 2006

travelogue - Beijing

Tiananmen Square
07/02/05 – Midnight flight
Whew…can’t sleep. Really packed flight! People going back for CNY
Arrived at 6am. It just snowed last night ! Cars covered with snow!
Head straight for breakfast at Sai La Ma Canting Restaurant – daily ritual. All the restaurants are closed for CNY. Lesson learnt – DON’T go to China during CNY season
Got to catch some 40 winks – ah, luxurious bed. Staying at Landmark Hotel.
Roaring to go at noon. Doesn’t look like noon – very somber
First destination – Tiananmen Square. The road leading to the square is largest in Asia – 10 lanes !!! Imagine that !!
Brrr…really cold. My lips are freezing and my fingers are numbed! Oooh, but always a smile for the camera – no matter what temperature ;) We have a camera girl with us
Got a really nice and cheap doll on the way back to the bus.
Lunch is always good – always no less than 7 course meal.
Pray at oldest mosque in Beijing

Oldest mosque in Beijing

Next is Beijing Underground City- what a labyrinth !! Tunnels interconnected to hospitals, schools, etc – to hide from the Japs during the WWII
Our rich Kelantanese gang had to buy all the silk bedsheets they can get here.
A demo down here on how to get silk, starting from the silkworm
Some really nice hot sweet potato whipped up our appetite
Dinner is always welcomed. Sounds familiar ? What do you expect from a food lover ?
Close the night with an Acrobatic Show – sweet !

Acrobatic Show

Forbidden City

08/02/05 – Tuesday
Forbidden City – Palace with 9999.5 rooms. Yes there is ½ a room here, although we never found it
Frozen river surrounding. Today is extremely cold ! Can’t open mouth- i.e. can’t talk much, guess it’s a good thing
Modern toilets here, at the entrance. Automatic push button cubicles
Neat garden with quirky looking tree branches
Ah, lunch + belly dancing. Cun girls
Traditional medicine factory afterwards. One of the sinseh can speak Kelantanese Malay! He’s from Kota Bharu. The sinsehs just hold & take a look at your palms and tell you your health concerns with recommendations for their medicine. Obviously I didn’t buy any, I just kept the prescription. But the Kelantanese ( see day before) did – all of the prescriptions !
Medicine factory is followed by silk factory
We finish early today because it’s CNY eve ! Our tour guide who speaks Malay throughout reckons us to watch CCTV 1 – mom looking forward to Andy Lau
For the “youths”, we feel it’s still early. We’ll venture out yeah. Er, Starbucks is closed.
Take a walk around the city then, in the freezing temperature, hoping to get a glimpse of fireworks. Not much though. One triggered a car alarm. Not neat.
Stop by at McD to have hot chocolate and apple pie, although we’re still very full. Even have a picture taken with the staff. Poor kids, can’t get off for CNY eve.
Hey, found another chain of 1001 Nights restaurant, but marred by the car alarm and an intoxicated guy urinating a tree. Eeeww. Next stop at Hard Rock Café Beijing, just browsing & snapping pics.

Great Wall of China
09/02/05 – Happy Chinese New Year
A sunny day today. We’re heading to the Great Wall of China. Great!!
But before that, mandatory stop at a factory. This time a jade factory. Got this cool white jade pendant together with Nurul.
Next is already lunch. Can’t believe it! At a huge restaurant, with a shopping mall on the ground floor. Bought a nice bracelet here. They even have a surau here.
Yesss…the moment we’re waiting for – Great Wall of China!! What giant steps they’ve made. It’s really nothing when you go up. Once descending, vertigo sets in ! Hold on to the railings !! If I’ve climbed further, I could have gotten the “I’ve been here Certificate”. Too bad. They have these padlocks at the start of the wall – believed to find love – if you can unlock it. The keys are somewhere there, I think
Then we have the Ski Resort. The kids went for sliding. I’ll pass. Just happily snapping pictures of the background and people burning firecrackers – the more you burn, the more luck. We see our driver, Mr Pang and tour guide, Mr Anwar Lee burning them. Dozens of them !!

Ski Resort

Next factory is crystal factory. They also have silk fabric and clothes here.
Yet to another factory – "koyok" factory. Should have just stayed in the bus and watch the video of us at Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City.
Dinner at Little Penang. Disappointing curry though

Summer Palace

10/02/05 – Thursday
Surprisingly cold today. Start the morning at Summer Palace. Winter Palace more likely. We’re all draped in thick clothing. The lake is frozen.
I have a neat picture of Chinese calligraphy with medium water on concrete. Yup, that’s right! It’ll disappear once it dries. But I didn’t get them to write down my name in Chinese. Su did!
Since everyone is freezing, we quickly ended our tour of Summer Palace. I’m sure it’ll be beautiful during the summer.
Next stop is another factory – pearl factory. Arrrghhh cringe !!
They show you how to get the pearls, complete with the oysters and asking us to guess how many pearls are there in one of the oysters. Mak Su guessed right, and gets to keep the very tiny pearls. Of course the shop will give the most tiniest ones !
They also have pearl cream.… I’ll pass. Got a cheap on sale pearl bracelet though.
We all dread the factory trips in fear of the “rich Kelantanese gang” spending too much time spending their non stop money flow. 3 agonizing hours to wait for the Kelantan Madame’s custom made pearl necklace. With no apologies offered.
Lesson Learnt : Always ask first if there’s any rich persons joining your tour. If yes, do not proceed.
Long wait for lunch as well.
Rejoice in the afternoon for finally we get to go for proper shopping at Ya Show Shopping Mall. 5 floors, I think. You can find cheap clothes, shoes, souvenirs, watches, household items like bedsheet, bracelets, rings, pendants, jade, crystal etc
A visit to China wouldn’t be complete without a Tea Ceremony. Yes, another factory – tea factory. I wonder just how much these factories pay the tour agents to bring gullible tourists here, haha. But this tea ceremony is enjoyable. Love the “little naughty boy indicator” which “urinates” when tea is hot. It doesn’t urinate, it just sprays water.

Streets of Beijing

11/02/05 – Last Day
Continue shopping at Ya Show today. Everyone agrees that shopping should have started on the very first day, instead of going to some of the unnecessary factories.
Oh well, I got some souvenirs here, 2 black watches, one fancy, one Rolex (but it is later discovered that one is already faulty by the end of 2005- they’re cheap anyway)
Noon have lunch at a restaurant, and then it’s time to go home.Sweet memories of Beijing. Arrived KL 10pm. Less passenger going back.



Post a Comment

<< Home