Thursday, June 25, 2009

Monday: Back to California!

Monday was a day of packing and cleaning up and then a whole lot of travel.

Thank you Dad and Jessica for coming to visit me!  I had a lot of fun showing you around and seeing things in Beijing.  I hope you can come back to visit me again!


Sunday: Back to the Dirt Market & Father's Day Dinner

We went back to the Dirt Market on Sunday morning to buy a few more things before our trip home on Monday. Jessica got this video of a guy playing a little flute. I have a few of these at my place. This might have been on the first visit to the market earlier in the trip. I don't know how to rotate the video, so rotate your head. I figured out how to rotate the video, but it is much smaller so I'll leave both. You can decide to watch the small right-side-up video or the larger sideways video.

Later we went out to eat. We had planned to meet up near Tian'anmen Square with a friend of mine and her brother, but they were late coming back from Thailand. So, Dad, Jessica and I headed over to Ghost Street to see if we could find a place to eat. We liked the lanterns but didn't find anywhere we wanted to eat.

Just as we were about to settle some place, my friend called and said they could meet after all. We hopped on the subway and down to Tian'anmen. We had a fantastic dinner and then great drinks at a bar with a rooftop patio. Happy Father's Day to Dad!

--Sarah, Dad, & Jessica--

Saturday: Summer Palace

We began our Saturday at the Summer Palace.  This is the second time I have visited.  The first time was with my mom in March.  The Summer Palace is a pretty large area though so I saw some things I had seen before and some new things as well.  This time it was pretty crowded and hot.  

We found neat doorways and bridges.

This guy was writing calligraphy with a wet brush.  When several kids were watching, he painted bunnies on the ground with his water brush.  He had a pouch attached to his waist so that water could be added to the brush when needed.

Jessica with the Marble Boat:

Of course we saw the Summer Palace itself.

Here's a video Jessica took in the Suzhou Street area.  We liked hearing the flute music while we walked around the palace grounds.

After the Summer Palace, Dad headed home and Jessica and I went shopping.  Walking around where we were shopping, Jessica got a chance to see the exercise equipment that is in little parks around the city.  I usually see older people using this equipment.

That was pretty much it for Saturday!

--Sarah, Dad, & Jessica--

Friday: Ethnic Park and Hou Hai

On Friday, we decided to visit the Ethnic Minorities Park near the Olympic Green.  Dad had heard about the park and it was the only place he asked to make sure we visited.  The park was started as part of China's bid for the 2000 Olympics and became more complete before the 2008 Olympics.  In the park, there are the 55 minorities of China represented by their housing, customs, song, dance, handicrafts, and foods.

The park was mostly deserted and there was a bit of a drizzle at times so the dances and music of the ethnic groups were not going on while we were there.  The only group we were able to watch was the Tibetan group.  The music, dancing, and clothing were fantastic. 

Here are some other pictures of the empty park.

Maybe we should have had a clue that no one was around when this was what the subway looked like on our way:

After the Ethnic Park, we took the subway over to Hou Hai.  I knew that Dad and Jessica would like this area.  This is where I went ice-biking in January and on a boat for the Moon Festival in September.  There is a lake and lots of trees.  We went to a little bar called the No Name Bar where you can sit and people watch.  We were also watched by people.  A few people even took a look as they walked by then walked by a second or third time to get a better look at us.

We had dinner out in Hou Hai as well.  On our walk to the street to catch a cab we got to see lots of local folks out having fun.  Some were practicing their ballroom dancing skills while others were playing with the feather hackeys they sell here.  Jessica bought a few of those to bring back to the States.

--Sarah, Dad, and Jessica--

Thursday: Rest, Massages, and Pollution

Thursday of Dad and Jessica's trip was pretty boring.  Dad got a cold on the flight over so by Thursday he needed a resting day.  I showed Jessica the Beijing nightlife on Wednesday night until Thursday morning so we didn't mind a relaxing day either.  Also the weather was terrible and rained pretty hard a few times during the day.  I had high hopes for the rain to clear the air, but the air was pretty bad until the Monday we left town.

In the evening, I took Jessica to my favorite massage place for a foot massage.  We loved it.

I don't have any photos of the massage or the hanging out at home, but I do have these gorgeous pictures of the terrible day.  I'll add the pictures I took on the day we flew home when we had the best weather of the trip so you can see the difference.  Some are zoomed in.

I think this also happened on Thursday.  This is the sink in the master bathroom of my apartment.  Rusty pipes.....  

It cleared up eventually.  What a gross Thursday!

--Sarah, Dad, & Jessica--

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Wednesday: Egg, Tian'anmen Square, Forbidden City

Wednesday we began our day at the Egg.

Jessica pretended to be an egg.

She met some friends on the walk to Tian'anmen Square.

Dad and Jessica in Tian'anmen Square with the Forbidden City behind them:

After the Square, we crossed the street to the Forbidden City. I tried to get a senior citizen pass for Dad but they are only for the Chinese. Oh well. He's not yet a senior citizen anyway.

Again, the weather was terrible, but we had fun taking pictures anyway.

Jessica got trapped in a doorway when a tour group passed through.

She gave the turtle a tickle.

We found lots of neat doors.

Jessica met a buddy.

We also liked the red walls.

I asked an old Chinese woman if I could borrow her umbrella. She thought it was a bit strange, but she gave it to me. (That's a water spout above me.)

--Sarah, Dad, & Jessica--