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Miscellaneous touristy tidbits.

Beijing Travel Blog

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It's a sandal kinda day!
Lisa had intended to leave today, but when she called to confirm she found her seat hadn't been upgraded as expected. Excellent! She was able to reschedule in business class for tomorrow, and that gives us an extra day to see some miscellaneous tourist sights that kind of fell between the cracks.

Steve and Lisa waited around for me to finish blogging in the morning, then we headed off to Bally's for a much delayed workout. Again, we pretty much had the place to ourselves -- so odd! After Bally's we decided to check out the Starbucks (haven't been to one in China yet) where we treated ourselves to expensive iced drinks and lattes. It was so nice out we decided to sit outside awhile and enjoy the sunshine and our drinks.

Back to the apartment for showers and lunch (we picked up various noodle dishes from Carrefour and had a splendid noodle buffet for about $5!), then we set off with a full agenda for the day.
Museum of the War of Chinese People's Resistance Against Japanese Aggression. What the heck are we doing here?
First we dropped Steve off at a street lined with music stores ... Steve Heaven! (Lisa found it while trekking 'round the Temple of Heaven neighborhood yesterday). Then Lisa and I took another cab in an attempt to find Marco Polo Bridge.

Would it kill the cabbies to let their passengers off at their exact destination? Must we always be let off in the "general vicinity" of our intended destination? Of course, we were let out about a half mile from the bridge. We soon found ourselves in the midst of an accidental visit to the Museum of the War of Chinese People's Resistance Against Japanese Aggression. (We thought the ticket booth was selling tickets for the bridge.)  I am sure it's a fine place, but we just walked around the grounds in confusion, and did not go in. From there we walked along a "cultural street" with various shops -- no cars allowed --  then finally we found the bridge.
Marble lions line Marco Polo Bridge...no two are alike.


The "Marco Polo Bridge" (a.k.a. Lugou Qiao) was originally constructed in 1192, and has since been damaged and rebuilt, then widened in 1969. This structure is a very interesting composite of different eras, lined with carved couching stone lions spaced all the way down the railing. No two lions are alike, and Lisa and I admired their cute little scary faces. There were some good statues in front of the bridge, and all-in-all it was a very nice visit.

From there, a challenging search for a cab. We walked by a memorial-type park (this area was the original attack point by the Japanese in 1937. It began an 8-year occupation that was especially terrible for the Chinese. Millions lost their lives.). We finally got a cab and made the long drive to Drum Tower, where we met Steve.
Might need to be tuned...


Drum Tower has been the home to the 25 time-marking drums of Beijing for hundreds of years. Drums used to be beaten at regular intervals to announce the time, a practice that was outlawed when the last emperor left the Forbidden City (1910 I think). Now, only one of the original drums remains, and it is not in good shape. We checked out the view of Beijing from the tower (nice on two sides, bad on the other two), and then were treated to a drum performance on the 24 replica drums. From the Drum Tower we had a good view of the Bell Tower, which had been our next intended stop. We decided to skip it (good enough to see it from afar), and instead headed off for a walk around Houhai Lake.
Pedicabs waiting for tourists.


We walked to the northern end of the lake on the street, through neighborhoods, then followed the lake path back down to the touristy restaurant area around Qianhai. Remember we went to this area before and had a good impression? What was I thinking?! It was overrun with pedicabs, overpriced bars and terrible restaurants all vying for the attentions of the hoards of tourists streaming the streets. White people in pedicabs were literally lined up to go into the hutong neighborhoods... people's homes have somehow become a main tourist draw. It seemed contrived and awful. After having an overpriced beer (me and Lisa) and a counterfeit Jack Daniels (Steve), we got the hell outta Dodge.

Our next stop was dinner at a vegetarian restaurant we read about in Fodor's called Jingsi Su Shifang.
Houhai Lake boaters.
We took a cab (of course he dropped us three blocks away and just pointed in the general direction), and found ourselves in a decidedly non-touristy section of town. It was hard to find the restaurant, but were we ever glad we did! It was delicious -- one of the best vegetarian restaurants I have been to -- and I will write a review ASAP.

After dinner we walked to Wangfujing Street yet again. No seahorse snacks this time... I wanted to check out the foreign language bookstore I had scoped out there. They had an enormous selection of travel books -- nearly all Lonely Planets and Rough Guides. No Fodors :^(  I bought a book for Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos since we hope to do side trips there from our base in Thailand.

Then back home, where Lisa packed up her things for departure tomorrow. I hate to say good bye! But she will meet up with us again in Dubai. Or maybe sooner...?

cmgervais says:
Hi Sandra - Any factual info I get it is from whatever source I can find. Sometimes it Fodors (which is the guidebook I had for Beijing), or it might be the Internet, or something I got at the sight (I don't pick up pamphlets... I usually take a picture of informational signs for reference later...)

Cheers,
Charlene
Posted on: Apr 28, 2008
sandra-kids says:
Bye to Lisa, safe travels!! Nice that she is able to join in the fun! So, I must have missed this, but, is the Foder's the guide you are using to tell us all this info? Or are you able to acquire pamphlets at each site?
Posted on: Apr 28, 2008
ironwork80 says:
thanks for sharing enjoying reading very interesting and entertaining
Posted on: Apr 27, 2008
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Its a sandal kinda day!
It's a sandal kinda day!
Museum of the War of Chinese Peopl…
Museum of the War of Chinese Peop…
Marble lions line Marco Polo Bridg…
Marble lions line Marco Polo Brid…
Might need to be tuned...
Might need to be tuned...
Pedicabs waiting for tourists.
Pedicabs waiting for tourists.
Houhai Lake boaters.
Houhai Lake boaters.
Bring us right HERE!
Bring us right HERE!
Lisa and her Starbucks.
Lisa and her Starbucks.
Statue near Marco Polo Bridge.
Statue near Marco Polo Bridge.
Statue detail.
Statue detail.
Statue near Marco Polo Bridge.
Statue near Marco Polo Bridge.
Lisa really gets into art.
Lisa really gets into art.
Statue representing bridge constru…
Statue representing bridge constr…
Close up of bridge-building statue.
Close up of bridge-building statue.
I like this kind of camel -- no sp…
I like this kind of camel -- no s…
Art showing the lions being carved…
Art showing the lions being carve…
Marco Polo Bridge.
Marco Polo Bridge.
Marble lion and cubs at Marco Polo…
Marble lion and cubs at Marco Pol…
This old little lion has lost face.
This old little lion has lost face.
Lisa pretends to read Chinese.
Lisa pretends to read Chinese.
A very old section of the bridge.
A very old section of the bridge.
Is he snarling or laughing?
Is he snarling or laughing?
The neighborhood behind Marco Polo…
The neighborhood behind Marco Pol…
Marble lion with cubs at Marco Pol…
Marble lion with cubs at Marco Po…
Olympics banner.
Olympics banner.
Replicas at Drum Tower.
Replicas at Drum Tower.
Drum performance at Drum Tower.
Drum performance at Drum Tower.
Hazy view of Beijing from Drum Tow…
Hazy view of Beijing from Drum To…
Hazy view of Beijings Houhai Lake…
Hazy view of Beijing's Houhai Lak…
Aerial view of hutong from Drum To…
Aerial view of hutong from Drum T…
Aerial view of pedicabs from Drum …
Aerial view of pedicabs from Drum…
Lisa shoots Bell Tower from Drum T…
Lisa shoots Bell Tower from Drum …
Me and Steve with a Bell Tower bac…
Me and Steve with a Bell Tower ba…
Steep stairs at Drum Tower.
Steep stairs at Drum Tower.
In Houhai neighborhood.
In Houhai neighborhood.
Houhai grocer.
Houhai grocer.
Walking to Houhai Lake.
Walking to Houhai Lake.
A little treat for me!
A little treat for me!
Man making mice out of...caramel?
Man making mice out of...caramel?
A candy piglet?
A candy piglet?
Oh, beHAVE!
Oh, beHAVE!
Young virtuso on the street near H…
Young virtuso on the street near …
Overpriced beer in Houhai neighbor…
Overpriced beer in Houhai neighbo…
We ran across this cathedral near …
We ran across this cathedral near…
Beijing Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
One of my best vegetarian dinners, ever.
Jingsi Su Shifang vegetarian restaurant is well off the beaten path in Beijing. Located in the Dongcheng district, it is in a quiet neighborhood withi… read entire review
Beijing
photo by: Deats