Friday, July 15, 2011

Arrival in Beijing (7/15/2011)

Apologies for the long wait for this blog. Uploading photos has been time-consuming due to work on the internet in our apartment building.
Friday, July 15, 2011
We left hazy rainy Shanghai on a Shanghai Airlines flight:
which included a breakfast of water, a roll, two pieces of cantalope, green beans, and three dumplings with a cabbage leaf:
Two hours and 20 minutes later we arrived in an even hazier Beijing, the capital of the People's Republic of China.
Took the Airport Express Metro train, then the Beijing Metro to the Pentahotel:
After checking in, we began our explorations. Walked past this business:
Qianmen/Front Gate: the Jian Lou/Arrow Tower:
Built in 1439 with 94 windows, the Arrow Tower is the first of two towers at the Front Gate of the inner city wall that divided the imperial quarters of the Forbidden City from the common city inhabitants.
Qianmen Dajie/Avenue leading to the Front Gate has been developed into a replica Qing Dynasty shopping and restaurant area:
Giant lanterns marked the entrance to the area:
Restaurants and hotels were often identified by the numerous red lanterns:
A replica trolley runs up and down the avenue:
We had lunch at the Quanjude Kaoya/Roast Duck (i.e., Peking Duck) Restaurant:
Veggies of celery, spicy cucumber, and mushrooms:
The roast duck is placed in the pancake with scallions and plum sauce:
Brynne and hundreds of Chinese enjoyed lunch:
Qianmen Dajie sculptures of an emperor and underlings:
Took a right turn onto Dashilan Jie/Street. Down the first alley we found the 100-year old pickle shop, Liubiju:
We just had to follow our noses to find it. Here is part of their great variety of pickles:
Sculpture of a cobbler:
The Xiangyihao Department Store:
Formerly the Xiangyihao Silk Fabric Store funded by the Eunuch Supervisor-in-chief, Xiao De Zhang, during the Qing Dynasty.
Ruifuxiang Shop:
Established in 1862, it is also known for silk.
A tea shop:
Tongrentang Pharmacy:
Established in 1669 and enjoyed imperial patronage, the pharmacy covered two floors:
Lots of roots:
As well as expensive birds' nests, fungi, dried sea creatures, etc.
Dashilan Jie:
The Empress is served tea while youngsters pose:
Daguan, the birthplace of Chinese film:
This is a century-old movie theater.
A teapot shop:
We took a right turn off the shopping street into the hutongs. Where Shanghai has the shikumen (stone-gate tenements), Beijing has the hutong, an alleyway created by the walls of siheyuan/courtyard houses.
I don't think we were in the hutongs where they have rickshaw tours!
A local resident:
Vines, with old gourds seen on the roof:
Liulichang Jie:
A restored retail street that was uncharacteristically empty.
A shop:
Details of roof tiles and guardians, and painted wood decoration:
Back into the hutongs, we found an Asian Barn Swallow:
And a caged Asian Magpie Robin:
The former Railway Station:
Built by the British and now housing the China Railway Museum.
Returned to Qianmen/Front Gate to see the second tower:
Zhengyang Men was the largest of nine gates in the inner city wall.
It stands 40m/131' high and leads to Tian'anmen Guangchang/Square:
You could fly a small blimp through the archway!
We had to pass through security to enter Tian'anmen Square, because that is where Mao's Mausoleum is located:
Brynne with the guards and some other woman:
A couple of patriotic and heroic sculptures:
Tour bus driver break:
We headed back into the hutongs once more to find the Underground City (Mao's bomb shelter), but it was no longer open.
A peek into a courtyard:
Hmm, are they restoring these siheyuan?
Kent found a liquour store:
He purchased his beer stash for the stay in Beijing:
Oh, and water for the rest of us!

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