Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Exotic Food @ Wang Fujing Street

After the tour, I took a stroll down the street where there were a lot of people gathered along the snack street. I was hungry too as it was approaching dinner time. What a coincidence, food is available right in front. I crossed the road straight away approaching where there are most people. Most of the visitors there are almost 99% tourist comprises of Malaysian, Singaporean, Chinese from other province and westerners. There are mostly barbecue sticks and fried meat in stick form. An I get closer, I was amaze as they not only offer the normal food such as mutton, chicken, beef, shrimp and eels. They also have a lot of exotic food such as scorpions, centipede, beetles and so much more.
The stalls selling those food are offering almost the same items and stretch almost to about 500 meters afar. I was surprised to see most of the tourist carrying and walking along eating those food, and I wonder what they are eating as they seems to enjoy them.
Since I was so hungry, I started buying the drinks to satisfy my stomach needs. Later I walk down to the very end of the row, and walk back to where I started. I couldn't make my decision which to eat. I do agree that there is the fear factor in me in trying out those exotic food.
After considering and reconsidering, and watching those people enjoying themselves with their own food, I make up my mind in buying one of the sticks. I spent 10 yuan for a stick of eel meat.
The eel meat doesn't taste bad, except that the 'thing' in my mouth doesn't make me feel good. I find it hard to swallow them into my stomach. As such I decided to keep them in a better place, right happened to be in front of me, the dustbin.
Then later I start to move around walking from one end again and return doing my job, clicking here and there with my camera.
I made a second attempt without much hesitation on my next stop since I was still hungry. This time I bought a stick of fried scrimp. I am sure this must be easy for me as they are common food. After a bite of it, I straight away head to the dustbin. This time, it's the taste. It really taste like plastic and tasteless. I think they must have kept the food for along time and re-fried them over and over again. It's tough like leather. That cost me 20 yuan !
There are even star fish. I purposely post lots of photos in today's posting as I want to let the photos tell it's own stories with it's own words.
Temptation to try eating them are there especially if you come a long way like me, and they do looks delicious and fresh.
Try to see closer at each photos, there are worm cocoons, water beetles, Centipede, snake meat, sheep penis, star fish, octopus, longhorn beetles and some of them I don't even know what they are called or what they are.
After walking to the very end of the snack street, I reach the junction of Wang Fujing Street. Take a turn on the right is the pedestrian/walking street. This is another famous street among visiting tourist. This evening the weather is cooling almost 26 degree Centigrade. So, it is comfortable for a street walk.
I walk to the first stall along the street to have a tuna sandwich and a bottle of China's Tsingtao beer. A bottle of small size of Tsingtao beer cost 10 yuan. It is very common for the people there to drink direct from the bottle. No glass is provided.
I walked around Wang Fujing street until night falls. It's a lovely street with lots of foreigners and I enjoy going through the street window shopping and watching the crowded people shopping around. They have a lot of things to see, most of them different from where I come from. Probably the reason I was enjoying myself with my camera along is the cold weather and cool wind blowing.Wang Fujing located in Dongcheng district in Beijing is the most famous Walking Street in Beijing among domestic and foreign tourist. If you are visiting Beijing, this is a must visit place during the evening or as a free and easy tour. And there is a subway station over at this street if you intent to come over or are staying further or outside of Dongcheng district. Just take the Metro subway train. And the next subway station after Wang Fujing is Tian'anmen.
Wang Fujing is as interesting during day time and after sunset. When dusk come, the buildings starts to brighten up with colourful neon's. And the street gets even crowded during night time. And I think that's because most of the tourist are already back from their daily tour, and are on shopping spree and looking for souvenirs.
At night time, I can feel that spring is still around in Beijing. There are people still putting on sweater and long sleeve shirts.
In China, every walking street is a typical China Town. They have lots of lanterns with big Chinese signboard and architecture everywhere. They looks the same in Hangzhou, Shanghai, Nanjing, Suzhou and Tianjin. I think they look the same or quite similar too in other countries as well. That struck my mind posting the question why there are China Town all over the world ? We have a few in Malaysia. The most well know one is the 'Petaling Street'.
I sat and walk along the street relaxing until almost 9 pm, then I decided to walk my way back to my hotel which is not far away.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Summer Palace

Summer Palace is our last stop for the daily tour 'Package B' with tour-beijing.com . Before I came to this place, my impression of Summer Palace is a huge complex for the former emperor of China. Yes everything in China, specifically Beijing is so huge. That include the park, highway, shopping mall, tourist spot and buildings. Probably compare to the place where I come from. So, I was expecting some huge palace like the Forbidden City. However upon reaching and actually seeing the vast scenery, I immediately recall my previous visit to China, the West Lake of Hangzhou.
But the West Lake or Xihu is much larger. You need at least 5 to6 days to complete the entire tour around West Lake. From what I heard from the tour guide, the lake at the Summer palace is man made. That's the difference between it and the West Lake in Hangzhou. However, if you don't have the time to visit West lake, the Summer Palace would be as an exciting place to visit and for taking pictures. And you can take a day to complete the tour if you have the time. As for us, we took about 2 hours as we are running out of time.
To shorten our time, we took the Dragon boat to reach the other end of the lake. That cost us 5 yuan per person which is not in our tour package.
According to Wikipedia:
The Summer Palace or Yihe yuan (traditional Chinese: ; simplified Chinese: ; pinyin: Yíhé Yuán; literally "Gardens of Nurtured Harmony") is a palace in Beijing, China. The Summer Palace is mainly dominated by Longevity Hill (60 meters high) and the Kunming Lake. It covers an expanse of 2.9 square kilometers, three quarters of which is water. The central Kunming Lake covering 2.2 square kilometers was entirely man made and the excavated soil was used to build Longevity Hill. In its compact 70,000 square meters of building space, one finds a variety of palaces, gardens, and other classical-style architectural structures.
The Summer Palace started out life as the Garden of Clear Ripples (traditional Chinese: 清漪園; simplified Chinese: 清漪园; pinyin: Qīngyī Yuán) in 1750 (Reign Year 15 of Emperor Qianlong). Artisans reproduced the garden architecture styles of various palaces in China. Kunming Lake was created by extending an existing body of water to imitate the West Lake in Hangzhou. The palace complex suffered two major attacks--during the Anglo-French allied invasion of 1860 (with the Old Summer Palace also ransacked at the same time), and during the Boxer Rebellion, in an attack by the eight allied powers in 1900. The garden survived and was rebuilt in 1886 and 1902. In 1888, it was given the current name, Yihe Yuan. It served as a summer resort for Empress Dowager Cixi, who diverted 30 million taels of silver, said to be originally designated for the Chinese navy (Beiyang Fleet), into the reconstruction and enlargement of the Summer Palace.
In December 1998, UNESCO included the Summer Palace on its World Heritage List. It declared the Summer Palace "a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design. The natural landscape of hills and open water is combined with artificial features such as pavilions, halls, palaces, temples and bridges to form a harmonious ensemble of outstanding aesthetic value." It is a popular tourist destination but also serves as a recreational park. To read more, please click 'here'.Many buildings in China including the ancient and the new one has statue as the guardian. They believe that the statue has some kind of power that bring good luck and protection from some form of evil things. And the statue comes in different size and form such as Crane, Lion, Dragon and etc. Mostly are made of Bronze, jade and stone.
Photo: The Long Walkway with Chinese ancient architecture and bright colours.
Photo: The ever lasting boat made of marble, that will never sink.
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Friday, June 26, 2009

Temple of Heaven

After lunch, we proceed to Temple Of Heaven which is within the city center. It is a big complex which was formerly visited by the emperor of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayers to Heaven for good harvest.
More details about the origin of Temple of Heaven can be obtain "here"
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