Monday, December 9, 2013

Beijing - Part 1

Hi everyone!! How have you been? I trust you are all keeping safe and well :) If you hadn't guessed already, we'd all gone on a little trip! Yes -- my first in about four years lol! We'd actually intended to go on this holiday a year ago, but guess who got pregnant haha.. Well, the two grandmothers got together to help look after Jake while we were away -- thank you Mom and Ma! -- and we had an awesome time in Beijing, China!

One of the first places we visited was Yonghe Lamasery, or the Lama Temple. This is a temple and monastery of the Geluk School of Tibetan Buddhism. Work on the temple began in 1694; it originally served as an official residence for court eunuchs, before being converted into the court of Prince Yong. In 1722, half of the building was converted into a lamasery, while the other half remained an imperial palace.

There are five main halls separated by courtyards, with lovely names like The Hall of Harmony and Peace, and The Pavilion of Ten Thousand Happinesses, which contains a 26m tall statue of the Maitreya Buddha carved from a single piece of white sandalwood. Photography is not allowed within any of these places of worship.

The whole temple was heavy with the smoke and smell of incense -- there were many people praying there. Here, Becky is standing in front of one of the many prayer wheels; meditatively spinning the wheel would be equivalent to saying the inscribed prayer aloud.

We saw many beautiful sculptures there, but couldn't take pictures of many of them. Animals from Chinese mythology were plentiful of course; here, the kids are posing with two dragon turtles, representations of such positive traits as courage, longevity, success and fertility.

The temple is huge and after exploring it, the kids were tired out and hungry. On the way back to our hotel, I saw this painting being sold on the street. The Chinese word on the bottom is ye, but I'm not sure what that thing above it is.

This is how tired Becky was by the time we found some place to eat.

And this is what we ate. Next to the noodles are some extremely boiled vegetables, which they seem to serve as an accompaniment to almost everything, even breakfast. It was interesting, but the kids were decidedly not fond of it.

The next day we walked through Tiananmen Square on our way to the National Museum of China. The weather was gorgeous the whole time -- hovering between a lovely 0 to -7°C.

Ro was proving to be an avid photographer the entire trip.

Security was quite tight, probably because of the recent terrorist attack on Tiananmen Square, and every now and then we had to have our bags checked and go through metal detectors.

But the kids enjoyed every minute of it.

Miss Too-Cool-For-School.

The museum is huge and very impressive, with a permanent collection of over a million rare artifacts covering Chinese history from the Yuanmou Man of 1.7 million years ago to the end of the Qing Dynasty (the last imperial dynasty).

Painted terracotta infantry and cavalry from 202 BC. The artistry and sheer ancientness of these things were amazing.

A jade shroud fastened with gold threads from the same period. Jade shrouds were burial clothing for Han dynasty emperors and nobility; this one was made for Liu Xiu, king of Zhongshan state.

A bronze lamp in the shape of a goose carrying a fish from the same period. This device was brilliantly designed -- the bodies of the goose and fish are hollow to contain smoke and soot; the lamp plate and shade rotate for desired lighting or to control draughts; and all the parts are detachable for easy cleaning.

Rhinoceros-shaped wine vessel with gold and silver inlaid cloud design from the same period.

A glazed roof ridge ornament from 1038.

Roro posing with a bronze model for acupuncture and moxibustion from 1443. If you went close, you'd see that the figure was marked with meridians and acupoints from head to toe. In the imperial medical academy's exams, such figures were coated with beeswax and filled with water for students to identify the correct acupoints.

Like I'd said, the place was massive. There was lots to see, but even I was getting a little tired after awhile.

Security was really tight.

Walking home afterward, we went through Wangfujing Street, a busy, 700-year-old thoroughfare full of shops and restaurants and street vendors, with lots of crowded side streets as well which the kids were just too tired to get into.

A street vendor selling wind-up birds.

Which we bought.

Street sculpture.

A serene close to the day. More in a bit!


The Dainty Dolls House said...

So fun...looks like an amazing time, love the museum and all the architecture too :)) You all look so sweet :))) Have a gorgeous week doll xx

Gloria said...

So many intriguing exhibits; it's good to see a first person take on the city- we get a different perspective from a news show or something like that. (I think the veg don't have a great appeal either, lol.)

Thanks for sharing all the photos and giving a personal look at the city. Surprised to see the church, too.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

Wow, what an amazing trip! So many fantastic things to tour and visit --- and photograph! How lucky to have grandmas that will take care of the baby so you can have this opportunity. YAY for grandmas!

All you 'ladies' look fabulous and happy!

Pizziricco said...

That church looks so intriguing, did u guys go inside?


No, it was closed at the time. It is Zhushikou Protestant Church; it was built in 1904 and was the first of the eight churches set up by the United Methodist Church.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

What a memorable trip this must have been!! I really want to visit there someday :)

AntiquityTravelers said...

What a tour! Thanks for all the photos (and the girls look so cute!) Glad you had such a lovely time

Elizabeth Brown said...

Wah, looks like you all are having fun! I would love to see in person what you all are seeing, but the pictures are doing it all justice! =D The museum reminded me of when I went to see the Chinese Terracotta Army with my family a few years back. I enjoyed myself immensely, and would certainly do it again if the exhibit ever came back!

Hope you all have fun, and can't wait to see more pictures!

Audrey said...

Awesome trip!!! I love everything and wish I could go myself. Two of my brothers-in-law studied in Beijing but I worked like a mad woman back then and was never able to pull off a visit! Thanks for sharing ~ I love all the photos. You and your girls look so great!!! XOXO

Jane Chérie said...

Thank you for sharing so many pictures of your trip! What a fantastic journey it is for the girls! And I don't blame them one bit for not liking the extremely boiled veggies!!! LOL Glad you were able to go out and have grandmas take care of your little one for you :D

Unknown said...

What lovely adventures on your trip. I am loving the names of the halls "The Hall of Harmony and peace"...that goose and fish lamp is cool and I can only image that rhino full of wine!

I love your pics specially the one where you bought the birds! You girls look beautiful!

Magic Love Crow said...

Wow, amazing! Thanks so much for showing all of this! I love all the pictures, the history, everything! I think I would have been tired too! LOL! I love the "too Cool" photo! LOL! Big Hugs ;o)

Miss Val's Creations said...

This trip must have been amazing! I would love this museum since Chinese art seems to capture my attention more than any other culture when I'm at a museum! It looks like it was safe when you were there. A couple of days ago our news ways showing Beijing and some other Chinese cities on high alert due to the air quality. So scary.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

What a fun trip. You got wonderful pictures too!

Our Neck of the Woods said...

Wow! You saw so many cool things. Looks like an awesome trip. I think the food looks yummy, but it doesn't really look like kid food haha.

Debbie Nolan said...

Jan - thank you so much for showing me your trip to China. Tiananmen Square makes me think of those who lost their lives there. Your girls look so cute friend. Have a lovely day.

Dee said...

What a blessing for your adorable girls get to visit so many places.:)

Farida said...

these are great captures of beijing! and since i live in a tropical country, traveling at this time of the year would be best to witness winter :)

your daughters are pretty!

CraveCute said...

What an amazing trip. Your girls are adorable and you have some fabulous photos to remember all of your adventures!


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