Tag Archives: chinese

This guy – bicycles in Beijing………

A little while ago, I wrote a this guy post with random pictures of people we have seen along the way in our travels through Asia. This seemed a fitting way to make tribute to the many, many bicyclists we saw in Beijing. They were everywhere – and, India, if you are listening, the major roads in Beijing have bicycle lanes. I am sure I don’t need to tell you the number of reasons why this is a very, very good idea. 😉

And the helmet phenomena has apparently not hit Beijing. I did not see one helmet during our journey.

Anybike, it seems Delhi has many more motorcycles/scooters and Beijing has many more foot-powered bikes. But bikes were used for more than just transportation. These guys had bikes-slash-food stalls.

So sorry that the tree got in the way on this one – but I don’t know if I have mentioned that I am not a professional photographer and it is actually quite difficult to get a picture of a moving target when you are yourself moving and trying to take in all the sites. 😉 This bike looked like something out of the M.A.S.H. tv show but I don’t think that this guy was Radar riding on it.

I love this one – it is the bicycle repair shop. Fantastic. This guy can fix your bike – I bet he could even do it while you were riding by.

Yes, I am aware that this is not a bike – but it is fun, isn’t it? I think this is China’s version of a rickshaw – but don’t quote me on that.

This guy has the tire bike. But they are clearly not tires for bikes.

This guy has the trash bike.

A mini bike parade.

Another trash bike – maybe this is why there wasn’t much trash on the streets.

I have no idea what is in this bike – but it looks like it might be a cooler of some sort – so maybe drinks.

This guy is delivering someone’s lunch and apparently did not want his picture taken.

Another “I don’t know” picture – but fun.

This just might be my favorite. I love the baskets on the front of the bikes.

And more recycling. Yahoo!

And you might notice that there are no women in these pictures. Please don’t take that to mean that there are no women on bikes in Beijing – there are certainly women riding bikes. I just did not happen to capture any of them. Remember the whole “hard to take pictures of a moving target while moving” blah, blah, blah?

Beijing – Olympic Park and Panda Bears………

While we were in Beijing, we wanted to see Olympic Park. This was an interesting thing to accomplish.

I don’t know if all tours are run like this in China or if we just got some bad tour mojo….. but …. yikes. Our travel agent planned an itinerary for our day and a half in Beijing. We asked to go to the Great Wall – the section that you walk up and luge down. That did not happen. We went to the wall and walked up but we also had to walk down. That was a big bummer!

He also coordinated visits for us to see the Summer Palace and Ming’s Tomb. I ask you – why would we go to stuffy ole Ming’s tomb when we could see where Michael Phelps made history? Duh? And why would we go to the Summer Palace when we could see the Panda bears. I mean, really. Honestly, if we would have had more time, we would have so gone to Ming’s Tomb and the Summer Palace but time was short and we were traveling with three younguns who love to swim – so priorities, right?

When we got on the tour mobile, we asked to make some changes to our original schedule. OOOOOOOppppps. Apparently that is not acceptable – well, it can be acceptable if you are willing to pay more. Huh? We wanted to change two sites for two other sites. In America, we call that a “no-brainer” – in China it is apparently called an “increase in fees”. Got it.

We were also told that we were going to be charged more money because we were not going shopping. You read that right – n.o.t. going shopping. Huh? We did not ask to go shopping. And, shopping was not on our original schedule. But, now we were going to pay to not shop. Hmmmmmm.

Oh, and our tour guide was happy to take us by an ATM machine so we could pay in cash. Yeah, how do you think that worked out for her?

So, very long, very frustrating story short – we made the changes and only had to pay extra for the zoo fees. Now, that makes more sense.  And hubby had sense enough to suggest insist that our travel agent in Delhi be billed by our guide’s travel agency directly in Beijing – no cash transactions, thank you very much. So nice of you to offer though. tee hee. (Now you know I did not just marry hubby for his good looks.)

We quickly put it all behind us and walked in awe through Olympic Park. It is a pretty cool place. Most of the signage in China is in, well, Chinese – so it was fun to see this sign that we could actually read.

The bird’s nest was huge and fabulous…

And then, of course, the water cube. Unfortunately it was not open – but we used our imagination. 😉 I could easily imagine Bear, Flower, and Angel diving off the same block that Michael Phelps used. Can’t you?

And the fun mascots…

And how can you go to Olympic Park and not take a picture of the rings? You can’t, right?

There were some pretty awesome statues throughout the park. And if you stand at angle with the sun in your eyes and lean to the left and lift one foot up, this guy absolutely resembles Michael Phelps.

Her, not so much…

Not too sure what this symbolizes – but it looked cool enough…

Maybe he was trying to envision the swimming statue as Michael Phelps, too? What? He could be. Or, maybe, it’s just hard to hold a sailboat with no arms.

The sign wasn’t much help either…

Sure, it’s nice information to know, but it didn’t so much help on the interpretation side of things.

Travel in China is different than what we have experienced in the rest of Asia. Truly, not many of the people we encountered spoke English. This lady and her sister were so kind to help hubby negotiate with a vendor for a better price on the stuffed mascots. If you plan to visit China, learn from our mistakes, you’ll want to know this about shopping with vendors in Beijing (and perhaps all of China). It is wise to have money in smaller denominations. Otherwise the vendors are likely to give you counterfeit bills as change. Wanna know how we know that? Go ahead. Take a guess.

We tried to buy her sister a set of mascots too but the only thanks she wanted was a picture with our family.

Next, we headed over to the zoo. Fun Fun. We have seen a panda or two at the zoo in Washington, DC, but the Beijing zoo has at least a dozen of them. And here was another sign we could read.

And these guys were fabuloso!


The pandas also had this wonderful playground.

But this guy was just too tired to play. So cute!

Anybear, we did have a wonderful afternoon and hope to go back some time and see more of the historical stuff.

Sugarplum fairies danced in my head…

This weekend Flower and Angel danced in the Nutcracker. It was called “Nutcracker in a Nutshell – All Jazzed Up.” If you ever get a chance to see this version – do – it’s shorter – it’s sassier (translation – not too heavy on the ballet) – it’s a win all around.

Flower was a Hip Hopper (I told you, it’s not your grandmother’s Nutcracker)

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and a Mirliton (ribbon dancer – don’t worry, I had to look it up when they announced her part – you’re not alone on this one).

Angel was a Bon Bon and a Chinese (some things are still recognizable).

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And of course, they were great – and blah blah blah. I will not bore you with every little detail of their performance – I have the DVD if you insist on seeing just how great they were. However, …

My girls are similar in a lot of ways. But, this weekend I was privy to another one of their differences.

Apparently at the end of each performance, all of the dancers line up at the bottom of the stage to sign autographs. And, many of the people there knew just what they were doing. (Something about tradition – after every show – shhhhh, don’t tell the newbies) Clearly, I did not know about this little “after show” arrangement. DANG! Bear and I just sort of sat in our seats as the crowds dispersed and wondered what in the heck Angel was still doing up on stage. Angel was standing near the row of dancers in the front who were signing autographs – she stood there very patiently waiting for someone, anyone to ask her to sign their program.

Bueller, Bueller.

Not realizing what was happening, I hurried her to get moving.

Now, it’s not that I don’t love the Nutcracker and it’s certainly not that I did not love absolutely every second of them being on stage – I did! But, I also sat in the parking lot for hours with a very bored Bear while they practiced every Saturday afternoon for the past 3 months and then I sat through the 4+ hour dress rehearsal. I even arrived an hour and a half early for both performances to make sure I had great seats with my general admission ticket (those of you who know me can stopped laughing now).

And then I sat through performance number one – knowing full well that performance number two was on the horizon. I clapped until my hands hurt – I took a million pictures – my heart swelled with pride – and when it was done, well, I was sort of ready to go home. We’re doing this all again tomorrow, right? Let’s go.

Angel cried. OMG she cried. “No one even got the chance to get my autograph.” Huh? Really? Sweetie, you were the best Bon Bon ever on this planet and a great Chinese dancer, but, honey, most people want to get autographs from Clara and the Nutcracker and the Snow Fairy – you know, the leads – aka, the stars of the show.

“No, mommy, they would have wanted mine too if I had just been there long enough.” Okay then.

Forget the 529 for college savings – it’s all going to the therapy fund as of now.

She cried again going to bed. A lot. I felt terrible and a little amazed by her insistence that the world had been cheated. Note to self – cancel self-esteem classes. Instead, sign Angel up as the instructor.

Now, Flower, she came down right after the performance and did not even try to sign autographs. She didn’t see the point. She did not want to get or give any signatures on her program – thank you very much. It was very fun – but I am done here and there is a Burger King cheeseburger with my name on it somewhere close by. Let’s go. That’s my girl!

Lucky for me, Sunday’s performance was attended by grandparents. Now, I know why they are called “grand”. I shared my little story with them and they stepped up to the plate stage! When the show was over, Flower and Angel came down to thank them for coming and they, with pen in hand, asked for their autographs. They both complied with big smiles on their faces. It was kind of magical. Definitely worth the price of admission and the hour and a half wait in line and the practices on Saturday and learning how to put their hair in an “official” Nutcracker-worthy bun and, and, and …..

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Afterwards, Flower went to change. Apparently she felt sufficiently famous.

Angel – well, she marched her little Bon Bon self right back up on that stage – and wouldn’t you know it, two people (without any prodding from me whatsoever) asked her for her autograph. Little ole Angel with her little ole Bon Bon part. No more tears were shed. By her or me.