Monday, September 15, 2008

Beijing Trip - Beijing Day 3

Today's schedule was a trip to the Forbidden City and Beihai Park. We started the morning with a short visit to DreamArts for 9:00am for worship and devotion. Afterward, the staff showed us the art center, which is on the 19th floor of a large building.

On the way to the art center, we passed by a sad looking building. The sign outside said "Beijing Electrical Engineering School."

View out the 19th floor art center towards the airport

Piano room (Casio digital keyboards)

Art room

We hung out at the art center until 11:30am waiting for a couple of us to be registered with the local police station. The staff took my passport to the PSB since we were not staying at a hotel. I'm supposed to do this each time I stay in Chengdu but have not bother to do so yet. After we were all properly registered, we went to lunch at the local McDonalds. I had a Big Mac combo for RMB21 or US$3, which is cheaper than the same combo back at home. It tasted exactly the same. Other stuff on the menu were China-only though: spicy McNuggets and cup of corn.

This McDonalds was open 24 hours. Most of us stood there looking at the menu (it's not that different than the US) while the cashiers kept asking us to order. They weren't rude but not exactly friendly either.

Lunch... no refill on drinks

After lunch, we took three taxis to Tiananmen Square. We tried to make sure each group had someone who spoke Chinese and had a cell phone. Out of the 10 of us, there are 5 Chinese people, one Indonesian Chinese, and 4 Koreans. It felt a bit like the Amazing Race. Two groups met up in Tiananmen Square while the last team was dropped off at the Tiananmen gate, below Mao's portrait.

On the way there, we passed by the new CCTV building.

Closer view. Much larger than I though it would be.

Some monument for heros of something in the middle of the square

There were some booths and flower displays in the square as part of the Paralympics

Security cameras everywhere

Part of our trip included a day trip in the Forbidden City. The entrance fee was RMB60 per person. It was a pretty hot and humid day yet there were still lots of people. I went through the Forbidden City during my last trip to Beijing. Since there were only two of us last time, we end up seeing a lot more. This time, we went around the edges of the area and took lots photos.

Mao's portrait on Tiananmen

Inside the Forbidden City (familiar from many movie scenes)

Modern Beijing skyline peeking over the walls of the Forbidden City

Emperor's throne (I think)

Back gate of the Forbidden City. The sign says Palace Museum, the same as the museum in Taipei. Not sure if the sign was there 10 years ago.

After spending several hours in the Forbidden City and coming out of the rear gate, we walked to Beihai Park. It was a pretty long walk and my leg/ankle was starting to hurt again. At the park, we did get to rest for awhile and debrief.

Some people playing Chinese chess outside the park entrance

Rental boats on Beihai (lake)

Lotus plants on the lake

Sun setting over rows of rental boats

The three girls on our NewSong NOC China team

On the way back to the guest house, our taxi drove along 4th Ring Road and past the "dragon" building near Olympic park.

Special menu at our favorite restaurant. The Engrish is awesome, "Does the pot to do the cauliflower" for RMB22.

Sept 14th is Mid-Autumn Festival or Moon Cake Day when the moon is at the fullest.

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