Tag Archives: China

This Magnificent Site

Tiananmen Square, Beijing
Tiananmen Square, Beijing

This post is inspired from Sylvain Landry’s weekly photo challenge, Monuments.

“Often photography monuments are favorite subjects … They do not move, are massive, as they say imposes and seems to be the guarantee of a good photo … So we photographers, obviously we throw over . This week so I suggest you do the monuments the theme of this SL-WEEK 19 … Anything is possible as long as the scene is recognized as a historic site, this will be the only constraint. So I propose the Chantilly castle near Paris in France” … Sylvan Landry

Tiananmen Square, Beijing
Tiananmen Square, Beijing

I recently visited Beijing, China and was in awe with its rich history, colorful culture, and magnificent architectures.

I finally had the opportunity checking out Tiananmen Square, one of the most famous monument in China, for a brief visit. Since it was Chinese Independence weekend, I couldn’t get out the car and be closer to the site for a detailed visit.  Plus the weather was overcast with pollution, it was difficult to admire Tiananmen Square without a clear sight.

However, I could still feel the energy permeated in the air with crowds of people paying homage to this monument during its holiday time.  Despite not being close to the building, I was glad that I was there to soak up this grande image from afar with respect.

Extra Ornate and Extra Ordinary

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Ornate.”

Forget about subdued and restrained. This week, let’s embrace the breathtakingly extravagant.

In the recent Metropolitan Museum special exhibition, China: Through the Looking Glass, the curator of this show inspires us with stunning couture creations in gowns, dresses, shoes and accessories made from the most ornate, exquisite and extraordinary materials.

This special head piece was created by Alexander McQueen for one of his extravagant collection reflected from an ancient Chinese painting with traditional architecture illustration.  As you can see, the headpiece was carved out from wood with minute and accurate details from Chinese houses, trees and white cranes for this stunning piece.

To me, this creation is truly about being ornate and extra ordinary.

Alexander McQueen Head Piece
Alexander McQueen Head Piece
Alexander McQueen Headpiece
Alexander McQueen Head Piece 
Alexander McQueen Head Piece
Alexander McQueen Head Piece

ExtraOrdinary

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “(Extra)ordinary.”

Mundane and meaningful objects. Beautiful everyday things. This week, surprise us with something or someone (extra)ordinary.

Traditional Chinese Restaurent Front
Traditional Chinese Restaurent Front

Classic architecture from the past may seem mundane or ordinary to the natives, but it feels extraordinary to me.  I was lucky to do a quick historical sightseeing during my work trip to Beijing and stumbled upon this traditional building around Wangfujing district one afternoon.

This magnificent old restaurant front may be mundane to others, because it look just like other traditional architectures around Beijing, but it feels extra special to me.  The vibrant colors adore its ceiling and columns, the detailed artwork embellish the framed work beautifully, and the structure and style of architecture represent years of Chinese history.  It stands proudly in the midst of changes. To me, that’s ExtraOrdinary.

Beijing Realness: Part 3, Nine Interesting Facts About Beijing

Traditional Chinese Town in Beijing
Traditional Chinese Town in Beijing

In my opinion,  it is important to understand basic local culture and its rules as ways to travel safely in a new place when you are in a foreign city.  From this trip, here are some interesting local facts about Beijing:

  1. Ring roads:  Beijing is one of the few cities having “ring roads” (beltway) as its main infrastructure.  There are a total of six ring roads (Sixth Ring Road is the newest and remotest from central Beijing).  For example, the Olympic stadium, Bird’s Nest, is located close to Fifth Ring Road.
  2. Pollution:  Being one of the industrial cities and the main transportation hob, air pollution is real.  It is the main reason why people wear “medical mask” around streets due to the thickness of haze, not because they want to imitate the late Michael Jackson for his fashion trend.
  3. Traffic:  Car has the right of way, not pedestrians.  I learned this immediately because cars would not stop for you to cross the street.
  4. Iced water:  Getting bottled waters is easier than having a glass of iced water in restaurants.  It is not within Chinese culture to serve iced water to its customers. Instead, they opted “warm water” as the norm to hydrate the body.
  5. Burping:  I find it disgusting but it is culturally acceptable to burp in public.  I have people burping around me in the street, loud and proud.
  6. Smoking in the bathroom:  Smoking is not allowed inside the building.  However, many people take the short cut and headed to the bathroom for a quick fix.  So don’t be alarmed and catch people smoking in the stall when you try to use the bathroom.
  7. WeChat:  It is the most used app in China for its multiple functionalities.  Besides using this app to communicate with each other, you can also transfer money from one user to another user for its convenience.   So it is not a bad idea to download this app prior to your trip.
  8. Cash/ATM:  I had a hard time finding the right ATM machine to get instant cash. Check with your hotel concierge and your personal bank for the right ATM recommendations.
  9. Uber:  There are Uber service in Beijing and it is under China’s Didi Kuaidi partnership for this new venture.  By the way, taxi cabs don’t take credit cards so it is important to have enough cash on hand if you need taxi services.
Tiananmen Square, Beijing
Tiananmen Square, Beijing

Hopefully you find this information interesting and useful!  At the end of the day, it is all about using common sense for a safe trip!

Beijing Realness: Part 2, The Food

Traditional Chinese Breakfast
Traditional Chinese Breakfast

Food plays an integral part of any culture and sometimes it is how people identify the country by its famous dishes.  Obviously China has many delicious and well known cuisines from each of its regions, so it was a treat for me to taste many authentic food when I was visiting Beijing.

For breakfast, we started out with “congee” (rice porridge), simple salted vegetables and the “infamous” 1000 years old egg (preserved egg with salted flavor, not real 1000 years old egg) to jump start the day.  If you prefer sweet, there was warm soy milk with Chinese donuts to satisfy this craving.

Traditional Chinese Dinner
Traditional Chinese Dinner
Shui Mei, Dim Sum
Shui Mei, Dim Sum

Dumplings were everywhere in Beijing and we had the opportunity eating this treat with other delicacies like shui mei.  The size of shui mei was bigger compared to what we have in the states.  The pork with chives, mushroom was substainable and juicier.  It was definitely a yummy dish.

Squids with Green Vegetable
Squids with Green Vegetable
Fried Oysters
Fried Oysters
Crabs
Crabs

Seafood was surprisingly fresh and not too “fishy” for my taste.  Chinese prefer cooked oysters to raw ones so they are flavorfully prepared.  Crabs is in season from October to November.  Our hosts loved the tender meat from the recent harvest and consumed five of them in one sitting because they were simply delicious.

Peking Duck
Peking Duck

I am not a duck person when it comes to its meat (it could be dry and hard to chew sometimes).  However, this Peking duck was mouth watering and the best duck meat that I ever had in my life.  The crispy skin melted in my mouth to start with and the meat was tender, the whole meal was beyond yummy.

Needless to say, I felt that I gained at least 10 pounds from this trip but it was all worth it with this divine experience.

Beijing Realness: Part 1, The Street

I had the opportunity visiting Beijing recently and was overwhelmed with its traditional culture, fast paced lifestyle, delicious food, and friendly people.

It was definitely a homecoming for me visiting my homeland, and I soaked up the native energy as much as I could during this visit.

One thing I learned about Beijing immediately was that automobiles have the right of way in this country.  So pedestrians have to be extra careful when crossing and walking around streets.

Please enjoy these two short videos filmed around Beijing streets as I explored the Forbidden City with more personal photos and experiences to come.

1000 Years Old Egg: Sense of Taste/Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

1000 Years Old Egg
1000 Years Old Egg

The name of this dish may not sound appetizing for many people, or the coloration on this seasoned egg may look odd to others, but the taste of this Chinese delicacy was divine when it is consumed with congee as part of a meal.

This egg smells salty and its mild taste is blended evenly in both the york and white to eat.  Many people may not find this dish appealing, but for many Asians, it is a traditional delicacy and a “must have” for any meals.  I know that I enjoyed it thoroughly when I visited Beijing recently.  It was a sweet treat.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon?

China:  Through the Looking Glass
China: Through the Looking Glass

In response to Sylvain Landry’s Week Three’s photo assignment, Kezako, here’s my interpretation for this particular theme’s challenge.

This gigantic set up was part of the Met, China: Through the Looking Glass, exhibition.  When I initially walked into this room, the imagery from the first original Superman movie popped up in my mind, the scene where Superman’s parents sent baby Superman away in  a rocket before the planet blew up.

However, when I peeked through the clear vinyl sticks, there were mannequins sporadically set up in Chinese inspired wardrobes.  This particular outfit was designed by Jean Paul Gaultier reflected from his own Chinese cultural influence and interpretation.

Immediately, this elaborative set reminded me of a fighting scene from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, where the main characters were fighting and floating from one bamboo to another bamboo tree.

If you live or are visiting New York City, please check out this gorgeous and stunning exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum, it is truly worth your visit.