these are the posts tagged ‘beijing’:


analogue wednesday #192

all this chinese learning has made me miss china a lot lately, so today’s analogue wednesday is a throwback to 10 years ago — almost to the day.

bulb’d holga

while i was in beijing, i kept thinking something was wrong with my holga. the sound of the shutter didn’t sound right, it was… different.

yesterday when i got the film back from the shop, i glanced the negative and was relieved to see there was something there, so maybe not all was lost. i got home, ran to the computer and put the cd inside, and what do i discover? a film of shaken, overexposed pictures. hum… could it be? i flip the holga around, and there is the culprit: the switch on the bulb position. oh well… i don’t know how that happened, but at least it isn’t broken!

in the end, i don’t completely dislike the string of caffeinated photographs that came out of this roll. here are a few:
temple of heaven

temple of heaven

bell or drum tower

bell or drum tower

the great wall

naturally, we couldn’t go to beijing without walking on the great wall!

following a tip from dingle, i investigated the possibility of doing the stretch between jinshaling and simatai… 10kms on the wall sounds like a bit too much, but in the end we decided to just go for it instead of the manicured & ever-crowded wall in badaling. if we were going all the way north, might as well make it memorable!

so i searched around for ways to get there (about 3 hours from beijing), and stumbled upon jeff, a really nice couchsurfer in beijing who regularly organizes trips to people who want to go there. if you tell him you want to go there, he might know of other people going there on the same day – the driver’s fee is 450rmb for the car – the more people, the less you pay. meet our driver, mr. pei (13161847160):
mr. pei

mr. pei is a cheerful chap, knows a bit of english and is eager to use it! he dropped us in jinshaling and was waiting for us in simatai as promised – no driving the foreigners to fishy places to shop or eat, whatsoever.
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the chinese say the wall is like a dragon stretching over the mountain tops, and i couldn’t come up with a better comparison if i tried.
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the jinshaling-simatai trek takes about 4 hours. 4 hours of nearly vertical climbs…
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…and descents…
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… of watchtowers lined up…
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…some of which in precarious conditions…
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…with some caution signs…
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…of neatly lined up steps…
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…or caotic and hard to walk ones (or sometimes even on parallel paths to the wall)…
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… 4 hours of feeling on top of the world…
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… and then asking ourselves if we had the guts to actually finish this adventure…
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but we made it, 4 hours, 4 bottles of water and 90rmbs later! (50+40 entrance fees for the different parts of the wall)! yay!

paulo took his gps with him and mapped the walk, and in the end it turns out the total is closer to 6km (from parking lot to parking lot). still, good exercise and magnificent views! if you’re in shape, i highly recommend it. :)

beijing food!

i bet you were all thinking i was going to talk about beijing duck… et non! i introduce you the donghuamen night market!
donghuamen night market

lots of variety!

i believe we were lost or looking for something else when we stumbled on the donghuamen street market… but we were instantly converted, and came back every day at dinner. food is one of the (main) reasons we travel, and so it was impossible to resist the temptation!

here’s how the tested snacks ranked, according to the “yummy or meh” classification:

crunchy yellow thing

crunchy dry yellow thing: meh. quite tasteless, and hard to eat with the mini-sticks they gave us!

meat in bread

stewed meat on bread bun: yummy! this was excellent! perfectly spiced & stewed, with lots of fresh herbs, and lots of sauce from the stew.

squid

squid: meh, not that good. the sauce they covered it on was a bit too sweet for our liking…

fluffy fried balls with sugar

fried “banana” balls: yummy! but banana? these things tasted nothing like banana! a fluffy favourite nonetheless :)

meat thing on pancake wrap

meat on wrap: meh. not good.

pinnaple and giant strawberries

strawberry/pineapple stick: yummy yummy yummy! those strawberries were gigantic and thus a little lacking in flavor, but the pineapple is sooo tasty… it more than makes up for the rest. you can also have these in other combos (just strawberries, strawberry/melon, strawberry/kiwi…).

meat on a stick

meat kebab: yummy! although we didn’t quite get which kind of meat it was, but probably lamb. very tender.


there were also lots of strange things, like snakes, starfish, sea horses or crickets… they must be popular among foreigners, since all the vendors waved them at us… but i’m not that much of a fan.

donghuamen night market, beijing from ana campos on Vimeo.

that’s it! i would highly recommend this place if you want to taste a bit of everything, and i have to say my belly had absolutely no complaints (this being street food and all).

a little advice though: more than 20rmb is probably too much for anything here, so raise an eyebrow and be ready to speak out if they ask you for more than that. don’t be dumb.

the forbidden city

the forbidden city and tiananmen square are two of beijing’s obligatory stops, and we reserved an afternoon for them. it felt strange to actually stand there for the first time, knowing of the historical significance of the place. it felt more serious than just a place to snap a few photos.
tiananmen square


by then the clouds had mostly cleared and so the next few pictures are a mix of blue, red and gold. the forbidden city is a magnificent palace complex (the world’s largest) where china’s emperors used to live up until 1912. the buildings have curious names like east glorious gate, hall of supreme harmony, hall of preserving harmony, halls of literary glory and military eminence, palaces of heavenly purity and earthly tranquility…

people watching


i guess this is what comes to mind when many people think of china, the country’s picture postcard. it’s beautiful and grand, filled nonetheless with little (and big) details i loved:
wall detail

roof detail

wall detail

now i feel like go and watch the last emperor again…