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Monday, September 16, 2019

Wild Weekend - BeiHai Park - Seminoles Loss - Beijing Zoo - Day 26

We saw 10 Panda Bear

This tiger was on the move
Lots of decorations for reading
They eat Moon Cakes for harvest time

It is Monday morning in Beijing - I am home alone. Lulu is at the American Embassy on special assignment. All this week she will work from 9 to 5. She got up and dressed early today - and took a taxi to the Embassy about 4 miles east of us. 

My jobs are simple - do the dishes - do the laundry - mop the floors - get some groceries - and write this story. After that is done - I can go out. 

It was a nice sunny weekend - temps were around 80. Although we take the subway and buses - we walk about 5 miles a day touring. We walk around the museums and parks. 

Bei Hai Park was Saturday afternoon. It has been public land since 1100 AD. In the 1400s - it was the Imperial City of the Ming Dynasty. Kublai Khan lived there. In 1925 - it was turned into a public park. It has a big lake - and reminds you of the old parks in America - like Lakewood or Ontelaunee Park. The public pays  $1.50 to enter - foreign tourists are let in free by showing their passports. One can rent paddle boats or electric boats. This park is smack dab in the middle of Beijing - although you would swear you were way out in the country. There are temples and palaces from long ago. 

Sunday morning we woke up at 7AM to listen to the FSU at UVA football game. We listened on Internet Radio - because the ACC Network is having a dispute with Comcast - thus we did not have coverage. The game was very exciting to the last second. My son and grandson were at the game and we talked on facetime for an hour about it. FSU lost on the last play - they were expected to lose to a ranked opponent on the road - but it was an exciting game. The game was Saturday night at 7 PM in Virginia - but it was already 7 AM Sunday here. 

After the game on Sunday - we took a bus to the Beijing Zoo. It is only about 2 miles from our apartment. Again we were surprised that admission was free to foreigners with passports - the price to locals was $3. It is a really big zoo - we may have covered 1/3 of it before we ran out of gas. 

It was nice sitting around the zoo. Families dress up nicely for outings like this. Dresses - skirts - etc - are worn. One young lady stopped us for a picture for her school project. We posed with her. People can't help but recognize our white faces and light hair. They do a double take - but show respect - it is a nice feeling. We were sitting in a dining area - maybe 40 tables - we were right in the middle - we had a snack and just listened to the banter among families. There are a lot of extended families - two grandparents - two parents - one child. It is no longer the law for only one child - but younger people realize it is costly to raise kids today. They are used to it. We can't judge a society on one day - but still it is fun. We are getting to feel like experts. 

The Internet - we rely on the Internet at home a lot. Over here it is even more our connection. We do not have the cable hooked up to the TV. We do not know if we even have the service. We do have DSL Internet - that fluctuates. It is not as good as Cable Modem at home. Since our service here is free - we do not complain. 

T-Mobile Phone Service - our ace in the hole is our cellphone service. Our t-mobile phones work here - we have unlimited text - data - internet. Calls are 25 cents but I do not make any calls. We can talk to people on Facetime for free. What is nice is that the Great China Internet Wall does not block out stuff with t-mobile. We get email - surf the net - read the papers from home - see our TV from home - listen to Sirius radio from home. We get unfiltered news from CNN - CBS - NBC - ABC. Our entire bill for two phones is $90 a month. The fact that is is not filtered is a bonus. I can even read my own web page!

In the old days - you read the newspaper this way.

Mickey Mouse knock off - honey flavor - gooey clear toy

Temples around the park

A little touch up

We climbed a 100 foothill on the island

The view from the island top

Temple on island hill - 500 years old

Beautiful gardens for October 1st

Moon Cakes

Lulu and the Panda House - special admission - free to us

Bored or lazy Pandas

Gifts were reasonable - as were snacks

No burning - in zoo.

Joel - I felt just like at home


Fun date

Nice kids



Lady with white hair - rare here

Lots of boat to rent at park
Always checking out books

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Qienmen District and Madame Tussaud - Day 24

Local girls in traditional garb
He asked me who I want to be president next time

MID AUTUMN FESTIVAL BEIJING - While the rest of the world was enjoying a Friday the 13th Full Moon - we spent the day in the Qienmen District with a visit to the Madame Tussaud Museum. When we are in London - the original museum on Baker Street has long long lines and a very high price tag. When we saw how low the price was here - we hopped the subway. The station left us out in the middle of the beautiful Qienmen District. The Tussaud Wax Museum was in the middle of this wonderful shopping district. 

Marie Tussaud was born in France in 1761. Her family taught her the art of making wax figures for the medical profession. She started very young by doing a "wax portrait" of Voltaire. She even had a live sitting with Benjamin Franklin - who spent much of his life in London and Paris. She moved to London and developed a road show wagon that took her statues to cities all over the United Kingdom. She eventually settled into her Baker Street shop in London where it is a major attraction to this day. She died in 1850. 

The Madame Tussaud Museum in Beijing normally costs $25. They have a discount for children and seniors of $15. When we asked for it - they checked our passports for birthday - and we were in. The museum has three full floors. It was not busy. We probably spent an hour or so there. 

After that - we walked the streets for a couple hours - and had a nice Chinese meal. Lulu had beef and noodles. I had Kungpao Chicken - with onions - peanuts - water chestnuts - and a nice sauce. We both had herbal tea. It was a total of $18.

It was dark as we got home and the full moon was raising in the East. Clouds obscured it a bit. 

When we woke up Saturday morning at 7 AM - we watched Tamaqua High School play Panther Valley High School. It is funny how Saturdays are bright and sunny here. As you know Beijing is at 40 degree north latitude. That is about the same as Philadelphia. We expect a cold winter - the days are getting shorter and shorter. Right now it is 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night.

The longest reigning British Queen - the other reigned 50 years over me
Qienmen District - Tianianmen Square in background
I don't know what it was but it was good
This guy discovered their "google."
More royalty
Back in the White House as "first man" with Michelle

She was just 36 when she died in 1962 - I was 14.
Die young and leave a beautiful corpse.

Steve Jobs

Similar wardrobe

Ming Dynasty architecture

Police wagons would make great little campers

Manchester United Store

Mine was great - but I prefer others

The subways in Beijing are new - modern - fast -
cheap. A standard ride is about 45 cents.
Signs are in English - easy to follow.
The subway cars have guards.
They are very clean - no litter - no graffiti.