The Final Installment ~ Beijing & Tianjin Story Part III

The final installment of the Beijing trip !! Just gonna summarise everything into this post before embarking on the next journey coming in a week’s time !!.. yooohoooo…. So you can reckon this gonna be a pictures flooding post… do go and grab a cuppa of drink while waiting for the pictures to load yeah…need a little patience here !

The bird’s nest as they so-called is the Beijing icon during the Olympic games. Though I find that it’s nothing special or maybe our own Esplanade stands out better, they are the pride and glory of the local people where it attracts dozens of tourists everyday even way after the Olympic has ended.

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DSC_0730Make a guess what I am doing ?? Don’t be deceived by the bright sunny sun and deep blue skies… I was freezing like mad… and had to get some last minute masks to prevent myself from breathing in too much of the cold air.

And yes, I am flying kites !! A string of small kites… and imagine there’s still wind in that kind of weather… Gosh.. it’s not quite something that we Asians can bear !

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We proceeded to this place recommended by the tour guide.. a museum-alike place with some ancient calligraphy and painting works, followed by a huge panel of moving art works that depict the history of Beijing. Maybe I am not such a cultured person to appreciate all these artistic works… but the panel of moving arts does impress me to a certain extent.

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And so.. it’s food again ! What can be better than a pot of piping hot steamboat on a freezing day ?? Especially the 麻辣 one ! Whoosh, literally can feel the adrenaline driving up the nervous system, warming the body instantly.

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I like the way the slices of beef are being rolled up… But guess I am missing quite a number of pictures here for this steamboat meal… I must be too hungry !!!

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Tiananmen Square. It was a weekend when we went and the crowds of people were tremendous.

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Under such kind of extreme weather, having stood there motionlessly for a few hours. Will he turn into an iceberg ??? Opps… I am just so mean..

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In deep contrast !! Hahaha !

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A bird’s eye view from the top of Tiananmen Square.

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I guess I had abit too much of HK serials… They always addressed these places as 紫禁城… but in real life, they are known as the 故宫. A majestic place indeed.. it covers such a big area that we couldn’t really complete it all in a day… if you really take a good time to study and visit the place well.

The interior of the palace.

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There were like dozens of such palaces,, big and small inclusive, that spread over the entire area of 故宫. And imagine, you does need a map to guide you around the place, if not you would be going around in circles because each and everyone of them looks almost identical.. at least to me. ^-^

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I had problems in handling the camera with shivering hands and gloves. In most instants, I do not even feel like getting my hands out of the hand-warmer in the pockets of my coat. Does this explains for the blurred pictures ?!?! Hahaha…

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The man is a huge fan of all these artifacts, so much so that he was spending a considerable amount of time on each and every structure that almost kept me freezing beyond words… I would constantly be on the look out for any indoor spots to “hide” in so that the chill does not reach me that badly. But then having said that… if you were to asked me again should I head for such extreme weather places in the future.. I guess I still would !! Hahahah ! Woman are contradictory beings anyway !!

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This is where the Emperor will sit for his morning  session everyday. We are only allow to view it from the outside though.

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In some of these artifects, there are quite a number of museums showcasing the small little things that the ancient people used in their everyday lives and much of them have been preserved till these days.

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And well, I am not a history person of any case… so to me… all these are just like exhibits… but to the man.. wow.. they are liked working knowledge and he was immersing himself well in the history and purpose of each and every item !!

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We headed on to this place known as the 天坛, also known as the Temple of Heaven. A place where the Emperor do his prayers and make his offerings to the Heaven and just beyond the temple is this huge garden where the Seven-Star Stones are found.

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The weather is great today… not as chilling and with some warmth from the sun. And we manage to stay outdoors for quite awhile without the need to locate a warmer…

A indoor artifact of the Temple of Heaven….

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Versus the actual one…

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And arh… heavily bronze metal… thrash bins ??

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And an amazing 500-year old tree !!! Even the trees in Beijing come from some good old decent history.

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Other than alot of Beijing cuisine, we had on a few other occasions, stuffs like Japanese or Cantonese cuisine as well. And here’s one of them. We pop by a shopping mall and had dinner in one of the HK style cafes, which presumably had the shortest waiting time for we were too hungry to want to wait any longer.

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A whole lot of these food devoured by 2 hungry giants !!

The coldness does make one more hungry than usual, don’t we ? ~~ and it’s true !! Not justifying for the huge appetite ok !!.. Hahaha !

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Our last stop in Beijing is the Bells & Clocks Tower which were not in our itinerary at all. But since we were already nearby and had no other plans, we decided to drop by the place for a glimpse.

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To get to the top of the Bells Tower were a fleet of long narrow and steep staircase with over 100 stairs, or was it 200 ? I almost wanted to give this a miss after seeing the staircase… but then… we had paid the tickets.. so up we go…

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Too tired to reach out for the camera after reaching the top that I laid myself on the bench till I manage to catch my breath. Yes, I need to build up my stamina for such journeys next time !!

Ending Beijing tour with another round of steamboat galore !!

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And this time, we had it outdoors !

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We made a one-day trip to TIANJIN too ~ the place where I caught a bad flu from. Compare to Beijing, I find that Tianjin is a least favorable place to go to. You could jolly well give it a miss next time when you drop by Beijing… unless you are dying for their 狗不理包子 which they are renowned for.

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The food street of Tianjin is a place where all the delicacies of Tianjin gathers. Here, you can enjoy the street delights together with  the famous seafood restaurants all at one location.

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A very talented food artiste making a picture of a dragon out of malt candy.

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Other than the food street, we went to the infamous Cultured Street or so-called 文化街 of Tianjin. The weather of Tianjin is slightly colder than Beijing but the difference got more apparent in the night.

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Alot of calligraphy and paintings shops here. I was so aroused by the calligraphy works that I almost wanted to purchase a set of brushes and inks back… fortunately I didn’t ….. I doubt I have the time to practise too. Embroiled in work, baking and cookies sales have been utiliising much of my time already !

Not sure why but the man simply didn’t had enough of palaces in Beijing and even in Tianjin, he wanted to pay these places a visit too !! So here we are…

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The ladies got married in these sedans in the ancient times !! And I still manage to see one in these modern days!

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Our only seafood meal for the entire trip.. other than the 狗不理包子, the rest of the dishes were similar to the zhi chay stalls in Singapore ! Haha !

Generally Tianjin is more famous for their seafood than Beijing because they are strategically located near the seaport. That also explained for our one and only seafood meal during the entire trip as seafood cuisine in Beijing is relatively expensive.

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Their infamous Gou Bu Li Bao Zi. Somemore I prefer the meat buns of the Singapore taste at anytimes. The skin is kinda thick and the meat filling is not as tasty as our local ones.

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A couple of reasons why Tianjin gave me a not-so-nice impression ~

First, unlike Beijing, quite a number of cabs in Tianjin doesn’t go by the meter reading and we had one such bad experience on our first cab ride there. We were charged a much higher price that it would have been.

Second, the Tianjiners had such a slang that I couldn’t really comprehend what they were saying.

Third, we took a one-way train ticket to Tianjin, having understood from the ticketing counter that return tickets could easily be purchased at Tianjin itself. But we were so-so wrong. Touters there were aggressive. Having said that, they had already secured all the train tickets way before-hand and selling them at exobitant prices outside the train station to people who were bent on getting the last train back to Beijing. We were not keen on purchasing tickets at such ridiculous price that we consequence ourselves to buying some first class train tickets which will only depart like 3 hours later. Therefore, we were quite stranded at the train station for a good 3 hours before we manage to leave the place. And by the time we managed to pull ourselves back to the hotel in Beijing, it was past midnight.

We learnt our lesson since.

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And next entourage ~ Adelaide, Coonawara & Melbourne !! Am so counting down to the days !!! ^-^

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