Monday, April 18, 2011

China - Beijing

Enjoyed Beijing as well. Here, climbing around Summer Palace.

Tiananmen Square

The girls were hounded for photos everywhere we went. It wasn't all that long ago Westerners were barred... we are still a novelty.

For all of our travelling years we've resisted the urge for the jump shot, but cut loose in front of Forbidden City.

Inside we behaved. Massive size was more impressive than the buildings it contained.

Embracing Western wedding style

Olympic Stadium Bird's Nest

The Nest's twigs are simple concrete.

Olympic hopes, dashed.... brought running gear and a wish to take Usaine Bolt's track for a spin, but twas concert set-up day.

We instead dreamed of concerts we're still desiring to experience.

The Watercube

Michael Phelps' race pool... I asked Allie if being there inspired her to get back into swimming... "not really"

After Olympics, they turned practice pools into a waterpark that we enjoyed for a few hours.  They shoot you like a bullet through the red tube, quite a rush (and wedgie). Of course, birthday girl Ry was too small to enjoy the best rides, bummer.

Spring was in the air.

Perusing tea

Mei, writing her Chinese character which means "beautiful"

Stayed at a charming little courtyard hotel in a quiet hutong neighborhood at the city center.

The city is grey, and red pops everywhere.

Rob wasn't built for Asia.

Exercise equipment is plunked all over town.

Beijing law maintains pups within the city be under 14 inches tall.

We think the poodle was visiting for the day. Didn't see stray dogs like in Thailand (a little scary to consider at dinner time), but cats were EVERYWHERE.

Le Pigeonnaire

Head cheese anyone?

We stuck with charades & negotiating pork buns. Lots of other fine meals, too. Our favorites were of Ughur Muslim cuisine, coming from the far side of China. Our Tibetan meals also impressed.

And of course a trip to McD's. A visit there in other lands is indeed a cultural experience, even if slight. Beer in Europe, salmon burgers in Tokyo, pineapple pies in Thailand... McDuck burger in Beijing. 

Didn't try the Communist Fried Chicken.

Walmart's cousin Wu... probably estranged now that Wal is in China.

It's everywhere... except West Michigan :(

We did find a little bit of West Michigan in Beijing. They may technically still be communist, but the sky is opening for China... watch out world!