Wednesday, May 19, 2010

China: Rest of May 2010 Trip

Most of the rest of the week was spent working (I guess that's what they pay me for...).  I did sneak in some sightseeing though.  Some highlights:

Shopping!


We went to a couple of markets - one specializing in knockoff merchandise ("Gucci" handbags, "North Face" jackets, etc.).  Fun and frightening to see all of the stuff.  Much of it looked just like the real thing on the outside (as far as I can tell), but didn't look the same on the inside - especially the clothes & shoes.  Some of the handbags & wallets, etc.  looked great and felt like good quality.  My favorite was a Burberry handbag.  Looked nice, but it said Burberry "Londoy."  I've not been to Londoy before.

We also spent a few hours at the Pearl Market.  AMAZING market.  Real pearls for cheap.  Shop after shop and stall after stall of pearls.  Pearls in every shape and size imaginable.  Pearl necklaces made to order if you're willing to wait for a few minutes.  I got some GREAT deals.  Haggling can be fun!  For approx $60 I got:  A long pearl & bead necklace; a double strand of multi-colored, differently shaped pearls; a jade bracelet; 3 pairs of differently shaped pearl earrings - 2 white and one blue (2 of these are going out as gifts); and various silk bags (for jewelry, shoes, etc.).

Sightseeing!


Our flight didn't leave until 4pm on Saturday, so a colleague and I went to the Forbidden City.  It's in downtown Beijing across from Tiananmen Square.  The place was packed with tour groups, and we were one of just a few folks who weren't Chinese.  The tour groups were easy to spot, as each group wore matching, differently colored hats (you can see one of the white hat groups in the top picture).  The tour guide held a flag that matched the hats.  The Forbidden City was awash with tour groups.  My colleague and I would periodically find ourselves surrounded by the "red hat group" then the "orange hat group" and so on.  Not a green hat group, though.  No green hats in China.  A man wearing a green hat signals that his wife is cheating on him...

Just a few pictures from the tour.  And no, my camera lens wasn't dirty.  That's some nice Beijing smog.

Tiananmen Square 


Looking across the Square to the entrance to the Forbidden City


Inside the City.  Wow that's a big square....


Lion to represent the power of the Emperor


Detail of the painting on one of the buildings.
There was building, after building, after building like this.

Crane statue symbolizes good luck


Rocks and plants in the garden

My colleague and I spent about 2 hours moving pretty quickly through the city, and only made it to the very largest halls.  There's always more to see.  Maybe next time...

4 comments:

  1. Great pictures, thanks for sharing. I love travel, but you make me think there are some places that I can skip myself and just look at your pictures.

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  2. Yeah, Beijing's not my favorite place to visit. The smog is unbelievable. We were lucky that we had 3 days of pretty clear skies. Our host was even surprised, and told us how lucky we were.

    It is an interesting cultural experience, though. Not sightseeing culture, but largest country in the world, communist, capitalist, global-power-with-a-very-different-point-of-view culture.

    Reading the paper there is interesting, too. A very subtle government influence placing a different spin on things.

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  3. Great post, thanks so much for sharing your trip!
    What great (and not so great i.e. the volcano delay!) experiences you are having thanks to your job!

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  4. Great photos. Sorry you had to work. I hate when they make you do that.

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