Monday, 28 January 2008

Beijing

So, its taken me a while to go through all the pictures I took but finally I've gotten organised. China was a blast, so amazing to have a Christmas there with my sister (who had been living there for the last five years), my parents (who on retiring moved to China to see what my sister has been on about all these years) and my brother up from Melbourne. Great family reunion. Oh, an of course I finally met the apple of my parents eye, my sister's pooch, Miss Zoe.
Some of the things I love China for, are its quirky statues, this one at the front gates of a school...
...the mix of old and new architecture...
...the patterns and decoration......the exercise apparatus you find in all the parks and streets. At all hours of the day you find men, women and kids of all ages working out on these funny contraptions.
And the bikes laden with goods. Above are a sort of deep-fried bread twist.
There's not a lot of graffiti in China, but down a side street I did find this little guy lurking behind a tree.
I felt like Beijing had changed a lot since my last visit over two years ago. It felt a lot more Westernised: there are lots of good bakeries and all the same clothing chains you find in Europe (and at the same prices) were in every mall.
There were a few misty (high pollution) days but aesthetically I liked the muted colours of the city on these days. Otherwise it was beautifully clear, sunny and not that cold at all. And, wonderfully dry by day – it doesn't rain much during winter in Beijing I'm told.

For a drink, try Q bar. We had Christmas lunch at The Western, THE most amazing buffet I've ever seen. They had made to order sushi and Chinese dishes, dim sum, incredible seafood, classic Western dishes and the most decadent selection of deserts. There was even a chocolate fountain—say no more. Oh, and did I mention a bottomless glass of champagne? Heaven. The Western ran a Christmas special but they have a regular Sunday brunch that I'm sure is just great as well, so check it out. We also had a lovely smaller buffet lunch at Greenfish, one of the The Ritz-Carlton's (Financial Street location) restaurants. Friends also recommend The Orchard, in Hegezhuang Village, a little way out of town but apparently worth the trip. I've been to Face Shanghai, but there is also a Face restaurant and bar in Beijing.

My trip was jam-packed. Three weeks included side trips to Harbin for the Ice Lantern Festival; Xi'an to see the Terracotta Warriors; a portion of the Great Wall and Shanghai. So stay tuned ...



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