Beijing Day 9: Dinner

We kind of skipped lunch and just had some pastries and buns for snack as the noodles we had for breakfast was quite filling. We went out for dinner after we packed our luggage, ready for an early flight to Xian the next morning.

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We went to this Sichuanese restaurant. We asked for a non smoking area but it’s of no effect as people still smoke whenever they like. That’s one habit that I find it hard to tolerate.

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We had a salad for appetizer. I like the light vinegarish dressing and the peanuts adds crunchiness to it.

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A lamb stew. This is great with steamed rice to soak up the soupy sauce. (more…)

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Beijing Day 8: Pastry Snack

Out from the Olympic Village, I saw two familiar structures.

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I was surprise to see two totem poles which I thought originated from the indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America.

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We went to take a closer look at the totem pole.

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The tree structure across the street looks very interesting. I wonder if it’s real or fabricated. (more…)

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Beijing Day 8: National Aquatics Center – Water Cube

After the visit to the Bird’s Nest, we walked over to the Beijing National Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube.

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25 world records were broken in the Water Cube during the 2008 Summer Olympics.

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The outer wall is designed to resemble bubbles in soap lather.

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The design of the wall allows more light and heat to penetrate, resulting in a 30% saving of energy costs. (more…)

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Beijing Day 8: National Stadium – Bird’s Nest

Our first glimpse of the Beijing National Stadium, the Bird’s Nest. The Bird’s Nest was built for the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.

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The Bird’s Nest hosted the Opening and Closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.

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View from the surrounding area of the Olympic Village.

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There is a huge piece of jade on display. It is supposed to be one of the single largest piece of jade in the world.

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The entrance to the Bird’s Nest is RMB50 (about CAD8.30) per person. It also includes the entrance to the Water Cube. (more…)

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Beijing Day 8: Lunch in Huixin

We woke up late on day 8 after a tiring day at The Great Wall. With the Olympic Village in mind for this day’s itinerary, Ben brought me to Huixin for lunch after skipping breakfast. Huixin is located north of Beijing near the 4th ring road.

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This restaurant is divided into 2 sections, one section for more economical and fast food and another section for full menu. We were seated at the economy section as the other section was full but we ordered from the full menu.

The first item is a Chinese style pizza. The flat bread is topped with stir fried meat and vegetables. I prefer this over western pizza anytime as it’s less fatty without the cheese.

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We also had lamb skewer for appetizer. The lamb skewer was very flavourful with the fat bits in the middle.

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One of the vegetable dish that I like to order in Beijing is Wood Ear Stir Fry dish. I like the texture of the wood ear. It is simply fried with chili and pork belly.

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We felt a bit adventurous to order a Donkey Cold Cut dish. It is served with chopped garlic and chili powder. The donkey meat is not gamey as I expected. It is very lean. (more…)

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Beijing Day 7: Dinner near The Drum Tower

After the walk at Houhai, we walked to the Drum Tower area to look for a place for dinner. I cant recall the name of the restaurant that we went in.

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We ordered a few items to share. The first item is a stir fried noodle. It is stir fried with green beans.

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The next dish is some kind of bean curd stir fried dish. It is stir fried with red and green peppers, green onions and chili. It is quite appetizing.

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We also had some dumplings in two kind of sauces. The darker sauce is vinegarish. (more…)

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Beijing Day 7: A Walk at HouHai

Upon return from the bus trip from Badaling, Ben brought me to Houhai.

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Houhai is the middle lake among three lakes, Xihai, Houhai and Qianhai, located north west of the larger Beihai. It is a pleasant walk along the tree-lined lake.

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Local people come to the lake to fish.

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Houhai is surrounded with hutongs. The above is a typical hutong lane with tall walls and narrow pathway.

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Houhai is famous for nightlife. There are many restaurants, bars and cafes here. It is popular with foreign tourists and expatriates. You can see a roof top bar in the above photo. (more…)

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Beijing Day 7: I made it to The Great Wall of China

Badaling was the first section of the Great Wall to be restored. It was restored in 1957. Due to it’s proximity to Beijing, it is the most visited place of The Great Wall.

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The entrance to The Great Wall is RMB45 (about CAD7.50) per person.

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The wall at Badaling is 8 meters tall. The entrance to The Great Wall is at an altitude of around 600 meters. Our destination is to reach the North Tower 8 (where I’m pointing) which is a climb of 300 meters. When Ben took a Great Wall tour during his first visit in May, it included the cable car ride to and back the North Tower 8 and was given an hour or two to wander around. If I remembered clearly, the tour also included a lunch. The tour was RMB412. This time, Ben wanted to walk all the way up.

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We were lucky that it was a sunny yet chilly day with blue sky. We started our journey quite early and the crowd was still manageable for photo ops. (more…)

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Beijing Day 7: Brunch at the foot of The Great Wall Badaling

After a day of rest, we were all ready for a new day of adventure. It’s going to be a day that is tiring but yet rewarding. Here we come, the Great Wall of China.

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When Ben worked in Beijing in May 2011, he joined a day tour to The Great Wall. The day tour costs RMB 412. This time, Ben decided that we will go on our own. He did some research on  the internet. We took the subway to the Badaling bus station. Subway ticket is only RMB2 per trip. At the Badaling bus station, all the bus operators tried to get people to get on their buses. But we had to look for the right bus which is the above 919.

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The bus ride was quite comfortable. It only costs RMB6 (CAD1) per person.

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The bus ride was about an hour or more. At last we were at the foot of The Great Wall Badaling. The signage of the above photo is literary translated to “He who has never been to the Great Wall is not a true man”. I made it. (more…)

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