Author Topic: Mandos goes to China  (Read 3745 times)

Mandos

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Mandos goes to China
« on: August 16, 2010, 01:28:22 PM »
Later this week!

Antonia

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Re: Mandos goes to China
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2010, 02:31:17 PM »
Wear a gas mask.
It is when we all play safe that we create a world of utmost insecurity. It is when we all play safe that fatality will lead us to our doom. It is in the "dark shade of courage" alone that the spell can be broken.
-- Dag Hammarskjöld

Mandos

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Re: Mandos goes to China
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2010, 02:28:38 AM »
Just a few more hours.  Travelling with Lonely Planet guide and a phrasebook.  Unfortunately I'm only there for a bit more than a week and some of it is work  ::)

Mandos

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Re: Mandos goes to China
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2010, 05:34:03 AM »
On y va!

Herr Magoo

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Re: Mandos goes to China
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2010, 09:43:21 AM »
Pick me up some lead-based toys!
ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,

sparqui

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Re: Mandos goes to China
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2010, 10:23:42 AM »
I hope you get to travel outside of Beijing and Shanghai. There are some very beautiful places that I hope have remained as untouched as they were back in 1990 when I was there. Yunnan province is probably the most memorable: Kunming, Lijang, Dali, and Xishuangbanna (right at the border of Laos and Myanmar - golden triangle).
If my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a tractor. -- Gilles Duceppe

deBeauxOs

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Mandos goes to China
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2010, 10:24:26 AM »
Quote from: Herr Magoo
Pick me up some lead-based toys!
Mmm.  Lead.  So pliable.  So chewy.  So .... I forget.

Mandos

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Re: Mandos goes to China
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2010, 09:31:54 AM »
I am in Beijing, staying at my cheap budget hotel at which I am getting what I paid for, but with friendly and helpful service (gave me a neighbourhood tour).  This hotel is in a "rising middle class" part of newer Beijing.  Lots of conspicuous Western-style consumption amidst cracking Communist-style concrete buildings.

Unfortunately, I probably won't have the opportunity to see anything outside of Beijing.

Mandos

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Re: Mandos goes to China
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2010, 08:32:45 PM »
So.  I have so far seen:

The Capital Museum
Tiananmen Square
The Forbidden City
The Great Wall (or the reconstruction of it since the real wall is not really in a state that can take thousands of tourists trampling over it)
The Ming tomb
Numerous neighbourhoods ranging from modern to antique
The Olympic Park (with the useless Bird's Nest stadium and the less useless Water Cube---it's now a water amusement park)

And I have eaten everything from Sichuan to Uighur food.

What I have left:
Peking Opera
Another Tiananmen Square visit
Eating roast duck

Oh, and I justified my expense too. 

Getting around Beijing is very cheap and easy.  The subway and buses are great, and the taxis cheap.  Alas, the bike culture of Beijing has greatly attenuated---partly due to the massive subway expansion, but also because the Beijingers have bought cars...

sparqui

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Re: Mandos goes to China
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2010, 11:44:47 PM »
The Forbidden City is fantastic. When we were there, Peter Ustinov was the narrator on the tape things that you used on the tour.

You should try to see the Temple of Heaven before you leave, Mandos. It really is beautiful.
If my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a tractor. -- Gilles Duceppe

skdadl

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Re: Mandos goes to China
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2010, 05:30:40 AM »
How big is Tiananmen Square really? Can you give us a visual metaphor? I know someone who had to run out of that square on that terrible June night in 1989 -- the army were marching in to close the perimeter and people really had to run for the last openings. I've looked at photos and I still can't imagine how big it is, although I gather very very big.

Mandos

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Re: Mandos goes to China
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2010, 12:54:59 PM »
It's not as big as you might think.  On the east side is the National Museum of China (now closed for renovations) from end to end, and an equivalent size on the west side for the Chinese Parliament (Great Hall of the People).  Consider the US capitol---it's about the same width on each side as the Capitol.  It looks a bit bigger in pictures due to the six-lane boulevards that surround it.  The space is really designed to look big, what with the enormous picture of Mao hung on the Gate (mén) of Tian' An, the entrance to the Forbidden City from which the square gets its name---it's at the north end of the square across the boulevard.  The upward columns of the buildings and the Mao-soleum also make it look very big on TV.

I was told (by someone non-Chinese) that most of the actual carnage (hi Firewall!) happened away from the square itself.

It's actually hard to think of it as a place of political agitation and state violence when you're there.  Conspicuous military presences in Beijing are now considered rather gauche, although they do have what I'm told is an impressive flag-raising ceremony at dawn.  The square is full of tourists (most tourists in Beijing are Chinese), and it has several ice cream and drink stands.  Families wander around with expensive digital cameras and then head into one of the two subway stops at the Square.  Some of them even picnic there---the idea of picnicking on concrete seems very uncomfortable to me but they were doing it.  A couple of guards here and there, and a long queue to enter the Mao-soleum.

I saw the Great Hall of the People this morning, and the Peking opera in the evening.  I wasn't able to get into the Mao-soleum on account of not knowing where the bag check was.  I'm leaving pretty soon now, and I don't have much time tomorrow, and still haven't eaten Peking duck.  I probably won't get to the Temple of Heaven.  Oh well, I was here for only a relatively short time anyway, and was busy for most of the past few days.

Mandos

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Re: Mandos goes to China
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2010, 04:58:59 PM »
Well, I'm back.  And still jet lag.  But I did finally get to try the Beijing duck.  After much effort and searching in the last minute before having to go to the airport.

Boom Boom

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Re: Mandos goes to China
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2010, 06:20:01 PM »
Is Beijing Duck the same as Peking Duck? Or is a BBQ on the rotissiere sort of thing with a red sauce?

Mandos

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Re: Mandos goes to China
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2010, 06:33:09 PM »
It's the same thing.   No one says "Peking" in Beijing anymore.  The name is  symbol of a deprecated regime.  Beijing literally just means "North Capital" and Beijing license plates simply use the character "Jing" in fact---it's perfectly correct to refer to Beijing as Jing because the other capital, Nanjing (South Capital), was abolished and the "Bei" is redundant.

 

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