Monday, November 8, 2010

Nov 7 2010 | Beijing: en masse

I like the sign on this cafe on West Lake in Hangzhou
Here are some final thoughts on the three-week trip along with a few photos that didn't make it into the daily blog.

Overhead light in a car we rode
to/from Hangzhou. I like the idea of
an on/off switch for mood

We departed Beijing Saturday afternoon and arrived home Saturday morning (strange how that works). Forced ourselves to stay up all day Saturday as a preventative jetlag cure, but in the process we were pretty useless Saturday. I'm not sure that is such a good strategy: forcing yourself to have jetlag one day so you can avoid it the next.

Sign for sale in the Silk Street Pearl
Market.Wait, what does it say?

In a taxicab on the elevated highway on the way to the Beijing airport, I could really see the smog, like photos of L.A. in the 1980s. During our week there, we had noticed air quality issues in short bursts: walking past a construction site (which are EVERYWHERE), going down certain streets, etc. But being up there on the highway early in the morning really put things into perspective.

Sign at an especially smelly urinal at
the Temple of Heaven park in Beijing

A lady carrying a beautiful but clearly artificial flower arrangement (very 1960s looking with neon-like circles where the bulbs would be) boarded the plane after we did. Olga remarked that she would be lucky to have the arrangement arrive in one piece (where is she going to stash it)? When we arrived at the boarding area, while waiting for our bags, we noticed the border protection staff - the folks who usually look for meat and plants - inspecting her arrangement very closely. These folks have no sense of humor.

Box of Maos at the Forbidden City park

One thing I miss about Chinese cuisine is they put sesame seeds in everything: street food pancakes, spring rolls, shrimp, drinks, DESSERTS! In the US, I can never get enough sesame seeds. In Beijing, we frequently went to bakeries to load up on breakfast pastries for the next day. When faced with a red bean-filled pastry, a strawberry danish, a chocolate croissant, and a sesame seed crusted morsel, I always went straight for the sesame seeds. Or a little of each. Actually a lot of each.

What you're not allowed to do in front of the new National
Centre for the Performing Arts. What CAN you do???


Jason said...

"especially smell urinal" - trying to figure out if this is a typo or not.

The other Olga said...

No bicycling TWICE! Any chance two negatives mean a positive? :))

Phil said...

The cute sign says, "A friend is someone who reaches for your hand, but touches your heart."

What's the problem? It is in English :-)