Oct 152010
 

Day 6 – Off to see the great wall.  It was a long ass 2 hour bus ride and we stopped by some underground palace at the base of the great wall.  When we got there, we had to a gondola up to the wall.  Why couldn’t we go see some other stretch of the wall that wasn’t so crowded?  The great wall is a very big structure and we had to go to the bit that everyone in Beijing goes to… lol

Oct 142010
 

Day 5 – After a decent night sleep in the expensive condo that my dad’s friend was kind enough to let us use, we decided to go out to Tienanmen square.  We took a cab to the subway station.  One observation.. it’s so freakin hot and humid, how are the locals wearing dress pants and button up shirts?  Some are even wearing jackets!

We didn’t go into the Forbidden City today (it’s behind the red wall).  We walked around the main gathering ground on Tienanmen square and walked a few blocks to the Beijing Opera House.  After seeing the buildings, I realized that the Chinese don’t build anything small.  The modern buildings are massively huge.  It has to be to fit that many people in there.  The opera house was shaped like half an egg with water around it so that with the reflection, it looks like a whole egg.  Inside had some interesting architecture, some costumes that was used in plays and a small museum of stringed instruments.  After seeing the opera house, we went across the street for a lunch of noodles and dumplings.  After that, we went to another ancient site with several short round pagodas and then we went shopping.

Dinner was duck… Peking duck in Peking (Peking = Beijing).  Remember how I said everything was built big in China?  This restaurant was famous for it’s Peking duck and it was 7 floors…  After dinner, we went for a stroll at a street market that served street food on sticks.  Most of the stuff was labeled but I wasn’t hungry enough to try it, especially after a dinner of duck…  At the street market, we bumped into a camera crew from the BBC shooting a documentary, I had a nice conversation with a pretty British woman about Jeremy Clarkson.  She said he was a bumbling idiot… lol  Sadly, he wasn’t around… that would’ve been great… bumping into Jeremy Clarkson while on vacation in Beijing.

Oct 062010
 

My parents have been nagging my sister and I to go back to China with them.  After years of talking about this, we finally made it happen back in May…..  and I finally feel like posting up the pictures…  in October….  We spent a good two weeks in three of China’s major cities.  Xi’an, Beijing and Shanghai.  Pictures were taken with a Sony WX1.  Sorry if some of the pics are blurry, I bought the camera the day before I left so I never had a chance to get to know it.  I was also carrying my old Windows Mobile phone with the GPS running, tagging my position every 5 seconds.  I used the GPS tracks to geotag all my photos so you know exactly where the picture was taken.  You’ll need to save the picture and view it in Picasa or iPhoto to show the picture’s geographical location.  I’ll have to write another blog entry on how to do that another time.

Anyways…  the trip..  The flight to Shanghai was just over 12 hours and after another 3 hour flight, I landed in Xi’an in the evening.  Our hired driver met us at the airport and drove us out to some bunk ass hotel on a university campus.  We got a night of sleep and was up bright ‘n early for the first day in China.  As a car person, my first impression was how incredibly smooth the roads were… look past the roads and you’ll notice how spotlessly clean the streets were.

Our first day was full of activities, we went to see the Terracotta Warriors, some palace where the KMT held it’s last stand before fleeing to Taiwan, a Muslim street market and we checked out the worlds largest water fountain that was built in front of a 7 story pagoda.