Cwray's Blog


Beijing Revisited
November 5, 2010, 2:23 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Now I must admit when I don’t write a blog for quite some time I feel like a husband (or wife, no chauvinism here) who must answer to his wife about the unaccounted for hours between work and the time he arrives home, who must explain the mysterious late night phone calls, and what is that, is that lipstick?  I assure you it is not lipstick, there is no other woman (or in this case blog), and my unaccounted hours can be explained by two illnesses in two weeks, an uncertainty on seemingly everything, and honestly, I needed some time to myself.  Now I realize the “I needed some time for myself routine” is not an appropriate answer for a husband to give a curious wife, but for my fellow blog readers it will have to do.  But as consolation for your sleepless nights and countless hours spent worrying about our relationship I have something to offer, and it comes in the form of lots of pictures and the quality blog you have come to love.  So from the bottom of my heart, I’m sorry.  Now shall we begin?

This past weekend Lizzie and I went to Beijing and I, having yet another sinus infection, was armed with what I thought would be an ample supply of toilet paper, but by the end of the Forbidden City China once again proved me wrong.  So between the sneezing and nose blowing, I was able to take a few pictures which I hope you will enjoy.

The main square of the Forbidden City.

 

Fall in The Forbidden City

The emperor's house of study and relaxation.

 

Next on the agenda was Central Perk.  Now for those of you who are wondering what Central Perk is, I will explain:  Central Perk was the coffee house featured in the TV show Friends and as far as I know, this is the only recreation of it anywhere in the world.  Lizzie and I searched high and low for this place which was supposed to be on the sixth floor of an office building.  After two hours of searching we came upon what we thought was the building and went in the lobby to check.  There was no listing of a “Central Perk” anywhere but we asked in broken Chinese if it was in fact located in the building and the attendant in the lobby thought that it might be on the sixth floor.  Lizzie and I searched all but one corner of the sixth floor and found nothing.  As we turned the last corner we had given up all hope of finding it, but out of the corner of our eye we saw what we had been searching for so long.

As we turned the last corner this was what welcomed us.

Central Perk

From left to right: Joey, Rachel, Me, and Gunther.

The next morning we arouse at 6:30 to see one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Great Wall.  Now I have seen pictures of The Wall, but let me tell you, they do it no justice.   The Wall is absolutely incredible to look at and surprisingly tough to climb.  Our tour took us to some less touristy parts of the wall that were unrestored and at times we could see no one as you will now see.

This was the part of the wall we climbed. As you can see it is in desperate need of repair.

A view from a guard tower.

A view from the top.

I could have sat here for hours.

Now even though I am glad to have seen The Great Wall, I will admit the whole time I was a bit, turned off by the fact that it was built by essentially using slave labor.  Workers were often sentenced to work on the wall as punishment for their crimes and the majority of them died doing so.  Those who died had their “sentence” carried on by their family members, and you can guess their fate.  The steep hillside you saw in the pictures?  Laborers carried stone up them from the bases of the hills, back and forth, over and over again.  So although it took a monumental effort and is considered a wonder of the world, the thought of the millions of lives it cost kept seeping into my mind making the moment a seemingly eerie sense of wonder.

Lastly on our list of excursions was the 2008 Olympic site.  Like many things in China, words and pictures do this no justice.  It seems fitting that when you exit the subway you must ascend stairs into the center of the site as the buildings seem to rise around you.  The first building you notice is the Olympic Tower which served as the command center for the games.

The Olympic Tower

The second, and most impressive of all the structures, is the Birds Nest.  The Birds Nest is absolutely incredibly and is one of the most impressive structures I have ever seen.   The sheer size of it is mind boggling and one cannot help but stop and gape when in its presence.

The Nest.

Even the walking path lamps were influenced by the nest.

And lastly is the Cube, which, because of Michael Phelps, needs no introduction nor any more words from me.

Michael Phelps' stomping grounds.

Well there it is folks.  This blog took me two days, nearly six hours of time (most of which was spent uploading pictures with incredibly slow internet).   I hope you enjoyed it and until next time, zaijian!

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