from Toronto, Canada


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Bird Nest, Water Cube (鸟巢, 水立方)

Water Cube, where the swimming pools are



National Indoor Stadium, for gymnastics etc.  



National Stadium, aka "Bird Nest"


Lastly I went to see what was left from the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The area was very nice and spacious with lots of places to sit down and relax, great spot to go for walks. Without the competitive events the vibe was very different. Nowadays they sometimes use the Bird Nest to host concerts and shows.
Summer Palace / Yihe Yuan (颐和园)
Next we visited the Summer Palace, known for its grand scale and exquisite craftsmanship. It was filled with tourists from around the world, lead by tour guides speaking various languages. Unfortunately I got seperated from my tour guide, so I didn't get to learn much about its history... but I did have a lot of time to explore freely and snap pictures. 
 

entrance










Beautiful eh? I want to make a postcard out of it.








Yes it was raining again... Please kindly ignore my wet hair. For some reason it rained a lot while I was in Beijing. Never the less, I had a great time that day!
Tiananmen (天安门)



A symbolic landmark.
The Great Wall of China (长城)
The Great Wall was where I looked forward to visit the most during my trip to China. The section of the Great Wall I visited is called Badaling, which is rather easy to climb and thus one of most visited sections by tourists. The entrace is actually a small park with some walled-off black bears for people to see and feed with fruits. 


entrance



the little train that took us almost half way up the mountain.




The sky seems grey and unclear because of fog. It's not pollution here and I can swear to that because I've seen perfectly clear blue sky in Beijing.




Me... I eventually made it to the top...




This is one of the better pictures of the wall, not of me though. Bah. But there you go, Great Wall!

Aquarium again (太平洋汉海海底世界)
There are more than one aquariums or underwater exhibitions in Beijing. The one I went is called 太平洋汉海海底世界 (I think its official translation is Tai Ping Yang Andover Underwater World... doesn't make much sense but oh wells...). It's not the biggest exhibiton of underwater life in Beijing, and it's not as well-established as the Underwater World in Qingdao. Never the less, aquariums are always facinating.











Yeah, it's too crowded. Not sure if that's the effect they want or...




Nemo and Dad?
Wang Fu Jing Street (王府井)
Here I was at the famous Wangfujing Street in Beijing. The street becomes fully illuminated and very crowded at night, though it was already full of tourists when I went during the day. The shopping street of Wang Fu Jing has two large malls and many stores selling mostly apparel (a lot of which are designer ), food, and gifts. However, be cautious shopping here! From what I learned from the locals, some of the stores have a reputation of asking unreasonably high prices hoping to rip-off tourists. Snack street is a side street of Wangfujing, selling small gifts and accesories, and of course many varieties of unique, traditional snacks at low prices. It's great for buying souvenirs and trying some exotic street food that Beijing has to offer.


 
Entrance to snack street at Wangfujing. If anyone is wondering why I'm covering people's faces with a stupid pink flower, it's because since they never agreed to appear in my blog, I'm not entitled to show their faces. There's a law somewhere out there and I abide by it to be on the safe side...




There are countless stands like this one on the snack street, all inexpensive. Great for buying souvenirs.




masks, pretty cool huh?




seals




plates, mugs, writing brushes




write-on-rice accesories, so cute!! 




deep-fried starfish, cicada, scorpion, and bugs I can't name served-up on sticks!!




seahorse, scorpion.
That's right, you can eat seahorse!!! (If you want...)



sugar-coated fruits on a stick
They're sweet and sour and really really good

Um, I don't know why I focused on foods on a stick. There were many other snacks like BBQ meat, noodles, steamed buns, all inexpensive. As a result, I left Wangfujing with a happy stomach.
jade accesory store(玉麒麟), I went because I had to
 
A big chunk of crystal (I think), and jade in the shape of chinese cabbage...



Fish?



Mother pig and suckling piglets... This one is crazy expensive


I'm gonna end this entry without a lot of substance... Some of the stuff there make me wonder who in the world would buy them for those prices. Jade is an ornamental stone highly valued by several asian cultures, not only for its ornamental purposes but also for certain beliefs about its supernatural power, but I know way too little to say anything about that... Until next time!
Forbidden City (故宫)
I went to Beijing for a few days  . The Forbidden City was one of the first places in Beijing that I visited.

The Forbidden City is an ancient palace located in the middle of Beijing. It served as the residence of Chinese emperors and the place of political meetings from Ming Dynasty to Qing Dynasty. Since it was built, the Forbidden City survived uprises and evolutions within China, as well as international invasions, and remains very well-preserved to this day. Many things in the palace are kept unaltered from hundreds of years ago.










The emperor's throne~~



The garden.




It was raining   . It actually rained a lot during the few days I was in Beijing.... Thank goodness for those flip-flops.



From the pictures above you wouldn't notice how densely packed with tourists the place was. It's only because I was desperately trying to take my pictures at angles without people.
A more realistic picture would be
There were crowds of people everywhereeee!! I think I saw more umbrellas in one day than the last twenty years of my life. Appearantly this is very typical of attractions in Beijing.

Overall my visit to the Forbidden City was very interesting. I went in knowing nothing about it and not expecting to be very intrigued, but in fact it was full of facinating stories from hundreds of years ago that came to life in the palace. I think would revisit it if I'm ever in Beijing again.
Supermarket in China 中国のスーパーに行ってきました



fruits



cooked meat



eels!!



fish



these are edible   
なんと食用です

I snapped these pictures with my phone a while ago when I went to the supermarket in China. It wasn't too different from your typical Chinese supermarket in Toronto, except that a lot of these supermarkets are part of department stores, so that people can go up or down a level and find clothes, make-up, home electronics, etc.

P.S. I really loved Chinese yogurt. The yogurt you can buy in Canada is usually plain or fruit flavoured. In China there's a much better variety of flavours, like aloe, oat, and red jujube, and they're all so yummy  



Me waiting for the bus .
By Canadian standards, taxi is very cheap, and bus is practically free (15 cents ).

Qingdao Underwater World (青岛海底世界)
 
entrance





This flat thing was swimming right above my head so I got to see its face up close. Cute.












Stripy...



Jelly fish. They looked way prettier in motion. I should've taken a video.





I used the "aquarium" mode on my camera for all of the pictures. Never did I think it'd come in handy one day. After seeing these exotic-looking fish, I bought some tasty baked fish slices at the gift shop lol... They're gift shop is conviniently located right above the main exhibition   


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