Tag Archives: Beijing

The tenth quarter review

25 Jan

Wow – ten quarters later I am still keeping it up.  This review is slightly delayed, but I wanted to take the time to call out some of my favorites from the last three months.

I was able to share many posts from our trip to Greece – and the post that got the most views was looking out at the Horizons of Chania, Crete.  Even though not as popular as Santorini, Crete really made a strong impression on me and I would go back there in an instant.

Sunset in Chania

I started my new job and made a couple of trips to Beijing which I enjoyed.  Sometimes you need something new to remind you of what’s just around the corner.

Posing with Chairman Mao - note the gray sky

Posing with Chairman Mao

Finally – my new mini-series that I kicked off with posts from my cousin Matt – the I’m ready to move to China series.  His fresh set of eyes were a favorite of readers and mine too – now I just need to convince him to come back so he can write a follow-up series!

Did I miss a post you particularly enjoyed?  Let me know!  Looking forward to the upcoming year of the horse and lots more travel in February.  Come along for the ride!

Back to Beijing

28 Nov

I haven’t been in Beijing for about six months and recently had the opportunity to go back for work twice in the last month.  The first time I went I had heard that the pollution was bad, but I hadn’t realized just how bad until I landed.

Getting in to the car I immediately sensed a strange taste in my mouth.  It was as if a little bit of dirt had gotten into it.  I didn’t notice it at first, but even after a drink of water the taste just wouldn’t go away.  The visitor who I was accompanying took it pretty hard and I knew in his mind, Shanghai was a better city.  It’s funny how the pollution can change your view.

A perfect cup of tea - and a way to wash out my mouth from the grit

A perfect cup of tea – and a way to wash out my mouth from the grit

Because it was his first trip though, I was able to revisit some of my favorite places in Beijing – Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.  Even with the gray skies, I still had a good trip.

Posing with Chairman Mao - note the gray sky

Posing with Chairman Mao – note the gray sky

The lions in front of the Forbidden City are just as imposing under gray skies

The lions in front of the Forbidden City are just as imposing under gray skies

This shot was taken just as we left the Forbidden City - I noticed the reflection in the water and thought about how I could capture it.  One of my favorite photos recently.

This shot was taken just as we left the Forbidden City – I noticed the reflection in the water and thought about how I could capture it. One of my favorite photos recently.

My more recent visit the situation was flipped – Shanghai has had high PMI 2.5 levels for the last week and Beijing was clearer.  I flew in the evening and I picked up the most beautiful sunset out of the window as I skimmed across the sky.

The sunset welcomed me back to Beijing on my second trip

The sunset welcomed me back to Beijing on my second trip

I’m happy I’ve made it back to Beijing.  It is a completely different city depending on the weather.  What places fall into that category for you and what times of year should be avoided?

June 4th

11 Jun

I happened to be flying to Beijing on June 4th which I didn’t think much of at the time.

June 4th is the anniversary of Tiananmen Square.

When the plane landed at noon the sky was an ominous, muddy gray.  Buildings were blurred and it looked like the sky would open up any minute.  Getting into a taxi it was literally black as night, I couldn’t see my colleague’s face.  The rain poured down.

We looked at each other, nervous in the dim light.

It was surreal.

When we finally got to the office, the sky had lightened and it seemed like day again.

I asked Beijing colleagues if they had seen the sky.  They said, “You know what day today is, right?”

We looked at each other, the unspoken question hanging over our heads.  “They couldn’t really control the weather, could they?”

No more was said.  It didn’t have to be.

If given a choice, I would avoid Beijing on June 4th.

Travel theme – On Display

18 Oct

After a several week hiatus from Ailsa’s travel themes, when I saw the latest theme I knew that I would participate.  The theme is – On Display.  The concept is that when you travel you often buy goods or spend time browsing looking for the perfect souvenir to take home.  The stores or displays themselves can turn into a representation of that trip.

My favorite souvenirs are magnets – my refrigerator is currently covered with magnets that remind me of my travels all over the world, but that wasn’t the first image that came to my head.  Instead I thought of my family’s trip to China over four years ago and some of the amazing things that were available for purchase.

During that trip there were two stops – one in Beijing and one in Xi’an that I still remember today.  The first was a stop at a cloisonne factory where they showed us the process to make the intricately painted porcelain vases that are a stereotype of China.   When you see how long it takes to do, it makes the prices seem more affordable.

Putting on the metal design into the cloisonne

Adding the color

Surrounded by samples, finishing the color adding

Removing the vases from the furnace

A very large example of a cloisonne vase. Probably not for resale, but in China, you never know.

The showroom – finished products on display

The second stop was a factory/showroom where they reproduced terra cotta warriors in Xi’an.  They showed us the small figures and also the life sized ones.  My parents purchased several of them to take home.

Miniature molds

Dad with a reconstructed head

Two additional soldiers “on display” at the sales office.

I may do another post on this topic in the future as I think I have other shots that also would work, but for the time being – these displays are what I have to share.  To see how others decided to display their choices, please click the link at the beginning of the post.

What has been your favorite souvenir?  What do you like to see on display?

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