Beijing, China 2013 – Day 5 – XiuShui Market, Summer Palace, Olympic Stadiums

Our fifth day started late. Our driver and guide picked us up at 11AM as opposed to the usual 9AM (we are usually late cause we always oversleep).

Our first stop was Xiushui market. It’s an indoor shopping centre with hundreds of fashion outlets. There are some toys and electronic shops too. Bargaining is a must here. Some shop keepers can be quite aggressive and rude but if you maintain your calm, you’ll probably get the price that you want.

Counterfeits are ample in this place. I was expecting many outlets using fake brand names just like the fake Apple store. However, there were not many of them but there is one Ferrerri.

Summer Palace was next.

Although the place was huge, we only took short and quick stroll. It’s quite scenic and we got to see the frozen man-made Kunming Lake. We even walked on top of it but we were told it is dangerous to do so. Imagine falling through the ice!

However, whenever I think of this place I would think how Empress Dowager Ci Xi diverted China’s navy funds to repair and build this palace.

The Marble Boat is one of the many structures rebuilt or repaired using the navy funds.

Our last outing was to the Chinese Olympics stadiums. It was just another stroll along the Olympics venue to see the birds’ nest stadium.

I wouldn’t recommend anyone to go here as there was nothing much to do or see here. We headed back to our hotel after that. To end our night, we went for foot reflexology. It’s quite similar to what we have in Malaysia.

This post marks the end of the my Beijing trip. China was an eye opener. I would certainly go back to China again. Next stop, Shanghai!

Beijing, China 2013 – Day 4 – Hutong, Temple of Heaven & Acrobatic Show

On our fourth day in Beijing, we visited the hutongs. I was expecting some really commercialized place but I was wrong. It was an authentic hutong. There were no actors or actresses pretending to be villagers. It was a real hutong with villagers squeezed in small houses and roads. Some of the roads are so narrow – just enough for a car to go through.

That probably explains why there are so many types of small cars in Beijing.

The gaps between the houses are also narrow. In some houses, there are a few sections where many families live.

We took a stroll along the hutongs and explored some of the houses. We also took pictures of the local residents.

I am told that houses in hutongs are generally very small but if you see a large one in a hutong, that means that the house was formerly owned by some Chinese royalty.

Pizza anyone?

If you walk through this door, you will see the following:-

A narrow passage to family homes. Each home would have their own door

Place milk here

I saw a person delivery coal to houses. Looks like these houses still uses coal.

Extremely photogenic traditional smelly taufu seller. We got to experience the well known melodious “jiao mai” (hawking cries) by the taufu seller. The seller was singing out his wares while walking around the hutong.

Our next trip, Temple of Heaven. It was quite boring as there were not many things to see. However, the attraction was the fellow Beijingers hanging outside the Temple.

Many elderly Beijingers were playing chess and card games. Some also were playing jiànzi (毽子) – a game which players aim to keep a heavily weighted shuttlecock in the air by using their bodies except their hands.

I had a go at it. It wasn’t easy!

Elderly Beijingers singing outside the temple. Strange to see some folks gathering at a random place just to sing.

At night we watched the acrobatic show. I don’t remember the name of the place but the hall was extremely cold. We had to wear our jackets in the hall.

I was quite impressed with the 1 hour performance. The ladies’ bodies could contort into all sorts of styles whereas the guys were extremely powerful. It’s an enjoyable performance but I wish they could have worked on their music a bit.