Brandon (brandonbray) wrote,

Greetings from Beijing

Mom and I in front of the Forbidden City.
Mom and I in front of the Temple of Heaven.
Mom and I at the Great Wall of China.
Mom and I at the Summer Palace.
At the beginning of April, my mom came to visit me in China. Yay!!!

Actually, it really wasn't a vacation as much as an extended shopping trip with something worth seeing sprinkled here and there. In Shanghai, we made several trips to the fabric market and to the silk store. Best of all, I finally had someone to go to great restaurants with. We went to Jean-George (amazing) and M on the Bund (no need to ever go back).

Of course, the big part of the trip was Beijing. We spent three days touring around the city with a private tour guide and driver. I love this tour company. Over the four days, we saw:
  • Tiananmen Square: Well known location next to the seat of the government.
  • The Forbidden City: Also known as the summer palace. This is where the emperor lived--it was forbidden for the common people to enter.
  • Another Silk Factory: More silk to purchase.
  • The Temple of Heaven: We got to stand on the Heavenly Center Stone.
  • A Tea House: It was a very fast tea ceremony, but only so we would have more time to buy tea.
  • Peking Opera House: We had extra time, so we looked at the ancient opera house without having to watch an opera.
  • Acrobat Show: It was the second acrobat show I saw within a week. The acrobat show in Shanghai was a bit better.
  • A Cloisonné Factory: Yes, more stuff to buy.
  • The Ming Tomb: More buildings.
  • A Jade Factory: Amazingly, my mom resisted the urge to buy something.
  • The Sacred Way: A nice leisurely jaunt with statues to look at along the way. This is where funeral processions for emperors happened.
  • The Great Wall: We went to the Ju Yong Guan section. It was a nice hike.
  • A Chinese Pharmacy: We got foot massages, and someone looked at our tongues.
  • Guo Han Hotel: We had Peking Duck, which isn't all that good in my opinion.
  • The Summer Palace: Great place! This is the place I'd recommend seeing.
  • The Drum Tower: And with a concert!
  • Rickshaw ride of the Hutong neighborhood: I finally got to ride a rickshaw (though it wasn't quite what I imagined). We also got to visit a Chinese family to learn about their life.

And now for the pollution report: the entire time I was in Beijing, I had a sore throat. I thought it was a cold, but it didn't work like a cold. By the time I left Beijing, I was planning to go to a hospital because I couldn't swallow. As soon as I left, it went away. So... good luck Olympic athletes, you'll need it. Please don't die.


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