Beijing Day 2

Continued from Beijing Day 1.

Google has stopped working completely here in Beijing. Bing however still works…too bad Bing isn’t as good as Google. I also can only check Gmail from the App on my phone. How irritating.


When I did a search on Bing Maps this morning, I got a notice that the air quality in Beijing today is “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups”. Ahhh, the notoriously toxic Beijing air.


Alright, let’s get going. It’s really hot today, like literally 100 degrees hot with very little cloud cover. Feels like Texas.


Our hotel sits next to this church.


Into the subway we go.


Transfer to Line 1, the oldest line here in Beijing. This line is old, so it doesn’t have the extra protective wall and doors to prevent people from suicide.


Here, let’s see what lies above.


The Tia_____ Gate(self censor due to sensitive keywords here in China) can be seen when exiting the subway.


Now closer. It’s sooooo hot here and it’s a long walk!

Security is very tight in this area. We had to go through a checkpoint where they asked to see our passports and our China Visa….Shit. We didn’t have either, but we did have copies of our passport, and that was good enough. Lucked out.


I need a longer arm.


Across the T Gate is the T Square. And that building near the center of the photo is Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum. It was not open today for some unknown reason. He lays in there preserved, much like Ho Chi Minh in Hanoi.


Past the T Gate, there’s this other gate. Alright, it’s really hot out here. Miles of asphalt and stone makes this area even hotter. Let’s go let’s go!


Surprised to see the paint chipping away here.


Ticket booth, inconspicuously tucked to the side and quite a ways before the actual ticket check point. We saw quite a few Westerners who were walking back towards the ticket booth from the ticket check point. The sign for the ticket booth was in Mandarin. China does not cater to English speakers.


This will be the third gate for us to pass into.


Hopefully, the rest of the palace isn’t under renovation either.


Here we go!


KL points.


Looking back towards the third gate that we’ve entered through.


Into another gate we go through! Seriously, so many gates.


Lots of giant metal vessels here. Probably for water to fight fire in the old days.


Miss my dog. All 4 legged forms reminds me of him. That dumb mutt!


One of many thrones that the emperor used to sit at.


Ugh, it’s so hot out here. We are drinking tons of water and sweating it all out.


Another throne.


KL inspects the craftsmanship of the palace.


Yet another throne inside another giant building.


Contemplating what life was like with a harem filled with hundreds of concubines…(joke pre-approved by RL)


Lots of people today. Who knows, maybe this is a slow day. Lots of Chinese tour groups, and not too many Westerners.


No one else will say it so I will. Reminds me of nipples.


Into the side walkways of the Forbidden City.


There are other smaller palaces that occupy the sides.


Ugh, it’s so hot. Must sit in the shade and rest a little.


One of the smaller side palaces.


Too bad they’ve completely redone the inside to showcase mediocre bronze pieces. At least there’s AC in here.


OK, screw the small exhibits to the sides of the main palace.


It’s sunny and it’s hot. Everyone wants to stay under the shade.


Into the garden towards the back of the Forbidden City.


Man-made stone hill. I guess they knew how to make mortar.


Integrates into the walls of the Forbidden City.


Finally reached the exit at the rear end of the palace.


Upon exiting the palace, we saw this small mountain with a building on top. We see people walking around on the top of the mountain…we must go, despite being hot and tired!


Looking back towards the exit gate of the palace. The Forbidden City actually has the same name in Mandarin as the National Palace Museum in Taiwan. Ideally, for China, all the treasures from the National Palace Museum in Taiwan would belong inside the Forbidden City…but you know, cross strait politics prevents that.


Time to climb to the top! It was also really cheap to come into this park, only 2 yuan.


Look, white people!! There were surprising amounts of Westerners climbing this little mountain. I guess none of the Asians want to climb in this heat.


Ugh, more stairs.


Part of the way up. I can’t wait for the view when we get to the top.


Breathe!!!


Made it!


These are some of the buildings that used to be part of the imperial city. This is the view of the direction facing away from the Forbidden City. The FC used to be only a small part of the old imperial city area that surrounds it.


All those lakes used to be part of the imperial grounds as well.


Ahhh, the Forbidden City viewed from the business end. This view is worth the climb up here.


Click on this for full resolution.


On the way down we walked behind a group of Americans, probably students. The guy in the yellow shirt kept on talking about condiments and how he loves them all except for mayo. Then he talked about how he could eat sour cream by the spoon. Needless to say, he was the biggest guy in the group.


Down the mountain and now trying really hard to find a cab. Since we exited from the rear end of the Forbidden City, there is not a subway station anywhere close by. What makes it worse is that all the streets here are fenced off and taxis are not allowed to pick up passengers. Fuck! We figured that if we kept on walking, we’ll find an area with more taxis.


It’s really hot, we are thirsty, we are hungry, and we are hangry. Damn you!!! We just want to be able to hail down a taxi.


Fuck you fence, fuck you for not allowing us to get a taxi.


Ugh!


Not happy with Beijing right now. I guess most visitors here come via tour buses or private cars, so they just get picked up outside of the rear gate. There are probably not too many individual travelers like us.


Wedding photos.


Still walking.


Still walking…


Got it. Exploding cars are not allowed in this area.


It took us about 30 minutes to finally walk to an area where we could hail down a taxi. Terrible!


Though, our taxi driver ended up being the nicest taxi driver that we’ve met on our entire trip so far. That was a very pleasant surprise. He was so nice, we even gladly gave him a tip!


We got dropped off at the area with malls, so that we can get some lunch.


An entire shopping center devoted to weddings!! Ahhhhwwwhhhh. I cringe to think about all the millions of things in here that a groom could care less about.


OK, I think we can get some food here.


Top floor is the food court.


After walking all day, I think this nicer establishment will do.


My fancy milk tea…It was still only $3.


Ohhhh, Ahhh. Various cuts of Chinese BBQ. This was freaking awesome. Probably one of the best ducks that we’ve ever had.


Shrimp, this one was just ok.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a meal in China unless one of our dishes didn’t show up. We had ordered two bowls of rice…which never showed. We ended up cancelling it by the end of our meal.


Ahhh, done eating and feeling satisfied! The combo BBQ plate was well worth our money.


This is a fancy mall.


Of course, DQ green tea blizzard with oreos!!! The best!! RL’s expression here reminds me of her bridesmaid WS.


They had a Onitsuka Tiger store here, but Ultimate 81s that I wear get zero love here. :-(


So…I’ve been carrying around my cell phone, but other than GPS, it’s been a brick. My Dad’s sim card in there has not been used here in China for so long that the account has been frozen. I had to come visit the China Mobil store to add more minutes to reactivate the account.


RL is really about the Uniqlo stores when we visit Japan.


An actual bona fide Apple Store!! It’s odd to see a real one after seeing the fake ones for over a month.


OK, time to get back on the subway and head back to our hotel.


A Din Tai Fung!!!! Maybe we’ll come eat here another day!


Get some money before we head back. It is definitely more expensive here in Beijing. The prices here are essentially Austin prices. Our cheap traveling days are over. Time to get used to the sticker shock.


Doraemon is everywhere here in China. Everywhere!!


At least the subways are still cheap at 2 yuan a ride. That’s about 30 cents a ride!!


Remember condiments boy from a few hours earlier? Him and his group by coincidence were also on our subway train. What are the chances of them being on the same train, in the same car, at the same time, but at a totally different area of town. Crazy.


OK, back to our hotel to rest up for a bit, then later on we will head out to go swing dance.


It’s Thursday night, so Giggle Bar it is. Let’s see how the swing dance scene is like in Beijing.


Yup, into the subway again. We are getting so tired of going up and down stairs and across underground corridors to make transfers.


Got on this train…but it was going the wrong direction. You see the blacked out arrow in the center of the photo…well, I thought that was the direction, but was wrong. The next day I noticed that there’s yet another arrow pointing the other direction on the bottom right side of the loop indication the other possible direction that it’s going. Confused yet? Me too.


Self portrait, against the anti suicide glass wall of the subway.


Whyyy…Ugh, I hate you stairs.


Looks to be a bustling area.


And indeed it is. It’s always nice to see that the area your subway dropped you off at has some life above it.


Found the place, now how do we get up there?


Found the stairs and guess what, a 7 Eleven!!!!! Our favorite!!


RL found her favorite rice sushi triangles in 7 Eleven. She’s been craving these since Taiwan.


And look!!! Chinese BBQ flavored Lay’s here as well!!! 7 is the best!!


OK, enough fun browsing at 7 Eleven. Time to head up to Giggle Bar. We hear music, and we see dancers.


Intro Lindy Hop lesson going on right now.


Cream of bacteria soup….I don’t think that’s what I’ll be having. I think it’s actually a yogurt based soup.


The food here at Giggle Bar is actually pretty good.


Remember this glassware? Oh wait, you don’t, because I haven’t posted my blog from my days from that region in China. Well, I had yak’s milk in this same glassware a few days back.


Finally, social dancing starts. Unfortunately, they spent all night playing really slow beginner lindy tempo. And the only non-beginner dancers are the two instructors. RL and I both danced a few songs, we had fun, but it was just a little underwhelming. Not too many dancers. There is however another social dance event this Saturday that’s supposed to have dancers of all levels and more of them. Maybe we’ll be checking that out if we’ve got time.


Leaving the Giggle Bar, we realized that the steps are colored like a keyboard. Quick stop at the 7 Eleven to stock up!


Into the subway again. They are overhauling the escalator over here. Escalators always break, always.


I like this subway lighting.

Tired, walked around all day, time to head to bed. Night.

To be continued at Beijing Day 3.

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