Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Beijing - 北京

25th September - 4th October

We ended our Trans-Siberian route in Beijing, a city of grand (and at the same time--infinitely small detail) scale from architecture to landscape to people and, of course, food. This city is ALIVE beyond anything we have seen so far and the streets are surprisingly safe at night. We found the 'adapting to changes' in the category of food relatively easy after Mongolia's culinary delights of boiled mutton and (yak and goat) dairy products (no offense to Mongolia). We made our temporary home in the Dashilar district down the colorful and bustling hutong (narrow alleyway that create a circuit of never-ending streets and one-storey ramshackle dwellings and courtyards) off Quianmen Dajie.

The Forbidden City, the palace where the Ming and Qing dynasty resided (and forbade everyone else to visit or live alongside--hence the name) contains 800 buildings and 900 rooms. Unfortunately, the main ceremonial building was under construction (SHOCKER!!!) so Zhenia took it upon herself to pout away...

Buddists have their own way of 'acting' Buddists, hence the happy touching of the knobs of the front gate of the Forbidden City.

These glass sculpted ornaments were all over the place; we're talking doors, wall ornaments and garbage cans.

Behai Park is situated around the Beihai Lake and offers a splendid and serene atmosphere of a park with a lake. Here it is peaceful and relaxing...but don't forget the fierce salsa couples doin' their thing in the middle of the park.
The While Dagoba, built in 1651 for a visit by the Dailai Lama, sits splendidly in the background.

The Temple of the Heaven is a 267 hectare park which contains the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest whose temple's wooden pillars support the ceiling without a single nail!!
Here Tom (as always) appreciates a finely-trimmed lawn at the Temple of Heaven Park.
We rented bicycles one morning and decided to see Beijing ourselves. To our suprise, the roads were really safe since bicyclists have their own lane and everyone rides like a buddist.We could not show our face again if we did not visit The Great Wall while in China...so, here it is. Tom, Miguel (from Argentina) and Vit (from L.A. via Czech Republic) act natural while climbing the steep hill that took us up to the Wall.
View from top.
After 2 hours of walking on the wall, Zhenia gives Tom (the photographer) a sexy pose as a testament of conquering the damn thing.
There was no end to the celebrating in Beijing and since the food was so good, Tom decided to risk a little (with Vit's help) and try the fried chicken head (in which he proceeded to suck out the brain in one quick inhale), the fried sparrow (several babies on a stick) and other kosher goodies.
Here, Tom's chicken head fights back for dear life.


Anonymous said...

Guys, you are so silllly!!! Your pictures bring out your personalities for sure. I love you guys, soo wonderful to be with you on this amazing trip...AMAZING! The great wall of china for god's sakes. I can't wait to see you guys. It's makes my heart smile reading your updates (and all the history is really interesting!!) Did you read mishka's comment? He's such a doll. Kisses from both of us, and hugs that make your homesickness dissappear (for a moment at least)
love you always, sasha
p.s. my sister can make anything look sexy, even climbing the great wall...of course

Anonymous said...

looking good with the chickens head Tom. Lovin these adventures....keep up the easy work....while I am sitting at me desk (can you hear the violin). Leeds are still crap and currently without management, it can only get better. Love to the both of ya, rick XX

nalz said...

wow.. fried chicken head and perfect lawns. what more can u ask for!? u guys are the best lol.

Anonymous said...

love the chicken. and zhenia... very sexy! i'll tell you the truth, i am kind of tired of always commenting on your trip! i'm not there! so instead i will tell you what wonderful things are happening back home. we have a very exciting senate race which i have not been paying any attention to. toured NYC with pasha this weekend. yeah, it was just us...pasha, sasha, & misha. had a good time. and now i am waiting on your darling sister for our 6 month anniversary ( kind of ) at least 6 months ago to the minute we were hanging out at your mom's house and i was anxious to leave for some reason. you kept me there with your charm and i got to meet my love. thanks. i made a good dinner and she'll be home any minute.

p.s. its your 6 month traveling anniversary!!!!!!!!!!! congrats

Anonymous said...

Darling, I loved your email and will write a long update soon. That's right! My first six months anniversary (don't laugh)...it was wonderful, just like my baby. I miss you greatly. Mom has just received a package from you the other day and I'm going upstairs to check it out. Thank you for the postcard, I loved it. You are wonderful my sis...you and Tom are so lucky to have each other, you guys are true soul-mates. I understand now:)

Anonymous said...

that chickenhead picture made me crack up.i wait for and read your travel missives v. eagerly and they never disappoint. zhenia, super sexy shot on the great wall! have fun and be well and keep brightening up our days with your adventures! btw, it's 50 degrees here. grrr. love, yasmin