Thursday, May 19, 2011


Now to relive our time in Beijing!

We arrived in Beijing and managed to find our little hutong hotel (which was not an easy feat as it was tucked away in the maze of hutongs that makes up Beijing).  Hutongs are the old streets and alleys filled with courtyard style homes made of an open courtyard surrounded by rooms.  It was a fun place to stay, although the design made for rooms that were not the most private and sound-proof.

Our view of the courtyard.  In the mornings, they served light breakfast in here.

Andy standing in the doorway of our room.

Our first day in Beijing was full of sightseeing.  We visited Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City
This is the building where Mao's body is on display.  If you look closely, you can see thousands of people lined up to get a glimpse of the Chairman.   We opted not to wait in line....the line stretched all around Tiananmen Square, it was crazy!

Chinese doing what they do best...the Asian squat

Now on to the Forbidden City.  The place is massive!

River running through the Forbidden City

The basketball court of the emperors.  Andy mentioned that nylon had not been invented yet so they didn't use nets.

Entrance to Forbidden City - lots of people!

After a morning of walking around the Forbidden City, we moved on to Beihai park:

The white dome is called the White Dagoba.  What is a Dagoba?  I have no sounds suspiciously like a dyslexic version of Pagoda...maybe they just had a bad spell checker when they named it...
Us in front of the Five Dragon Pavilions in Beihai Park

A view of one of the Dragon Pavilions and the White Dagoba across the lake

The next day we set out early for...some more sightseeing!  We went to the Temple of Heaven park

An old man writing calligraphy on the sidewalk with water.

Temple of Heaven's most famous sight - the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest.  Apparently this was constructed without a single nail, using wood joints instead.  Those smart Chinese!

The Confucius Temple:

This little kid stood there "unprompted" for about 5 minutes while his mother unsuccessfully tried to get a good iphone picture of him

Andy taking his place amongst the wise men lineup at the Confucius Temple.  I had to make him squat because he was about a foot taller than all of them...

Then we trekked north to the Olympic Park. 

Jumping in front of the Bird's Nest

No Beijing experience would be complete without some Peking Duck! Here's the duck master in action:

Our yummy dinner

On our third day, I started the day off with a migraine.  But, by lunchtime I was feeling much better so we had a nice lunch and then went to the Summer Palace



The highlight of our trip was definitely our last day in the Beijing area.  We hired a driver to take us out to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall.  We spent the afternoon hiking the wall - and boy was it a hike!  We climbed the whole section of the wall and even explored a little bit of the "wild wall" which is basically unrestored.

I was originally just taking a picture of Andy, but a vendor nearby shoved these hats on our heads and made us take this picture.  She kept saying "no money, no money" and told us to salute Mao.

There's a....donkey....on the wall!  One of the vendors probably used the donkey to haul up his stuff...and the poor donkey has to stand around all day until he's done selling.  I couldn't resist taking a picture with the donkey.


The Great Wall.  See that long section of stairs at the end - that was brutal!  When we got to the top of that, there was a cheering committee to welcome us.

This is me after climbing that ridiculously long section - I was so happy I busted out a dance move.

Andy's thinking, "Boy it's a long way back to the start...."
Climbing to the top wasn't enough, we had to go out a little further and get a glimpse of the unrestored sections of the wall.  Some spots were a little scary, just a narrow crumbling path with no side railings.  After awhile, I had had enough (plus it was beginning to rain) and we made our way back.  That night we splurged and spent a night by the Great Wall at the Brickyard Inn.  It's an eco hotel with rooms that have great views of the countryside.  One wall of the room was a two-story window so you could lie in bed and just gaze out to the mountains.  Pretty neat.

Window wall

View from our patio

It was definitely a fun trip and especially meaningful because it was like a trip to the motherland for me.  My grandparents were born in China, but had my parents in Taiwan so I had never been to China before, only Taiwan.  It was definitely interesting to see the cultural differences over there.  Another awesome chapter in the Adventures of Jennie and Andy.


  1. Jenny, great job. I did climb this great wall 7 years ago, going up is ok but after i came down, i had problem to climb up our bus. Ha, Ha.

    Aunt Terri

  2. Aunt Terri - I'm impressed that you climbed it! It took us about 3 hours to get to the end and 1 to come back. I was so tired I could barely eat dinner and just collapsed on the bed after.