Monday, August 30, 2010

New Year's in Beijing!

Sorry! Sorry!

I'm back like a bad dream! And for your viewing delight, I have some pictures and commentary from my trip to Beijing (Which took place in February)! I"m a busy woman. And I've been busy spending my hard-earned cash on lots of stuff, like a NEW NETBOOK, enabling me to bring my blog back to you!

Hoos yo mama?

So yes, earlier this year, I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a couple of frigid days in Beijing, China.

Colossus of capitalism.

Store mannaquins celebrate the year of the tiger.

Upon arrival, my tour group was taken to a place of great cultural significance to the Middle Kingdom: Yashow Clothing market. The firetrap was filled to the brim with floor after floor of what, can only be described in eloquent terms as "Prada", "Louis Vuitton", "Gucci", etc.

But the entertainment lies in the sales ladies, who promote their wares as solid gold. At solid gold prices. They flatter. They entice, They recriminate, they scowl. They can hold their own against the best Hollywood actresses. And yeah... I did haggle something from one of them.

Outside there were a couple of guys selling DVD's of AVATAR. How generous of Fox to have the movie available in theaters and for home viewing at the same time!

Santa's got bling! Even in February!

Mmmm boy!

That night, we feasted on "hot pot" or "shabu shabu", which is assorted meats and veggies available for you to boil at your table.

The next morning, we went to a jade factory.

Just in case the phoenix gets ideas.

Our friendly driver.

But the reason we got up that morning was to see that national icon The Great Wall.

I think I heard that the locks are put there by couples. If your lock is there, then your relationship will be as enduring as the great wall itself.

I also heard that an unfortunate French backpacker lost her life while using her cellphone here.

Now, I am a man. And I've got the beard to prove it!

People from all over the world were at the great wall. My personal favorites were a group of very elegant looking boys oozing Frenchness from every pore. But I didn't take a picture.

It doubles as turpenoid.

Wow, communism makes you progressively happier!

After lunch, we were taken to the Summer Palace.

And later to a pearl market. I would've bought some pearls if I'd had the cash.

All this wealth from oyster spit!

That night, people celebrated. I heard the popping of so many fireworks from my hotel room.


Temple of Heaven

The Forbidden City!! Well, this is the place where I somehow lost my tour group, and after browsing what the place had to offer, I went on my own separate adventure of sex, lies, and international intrigue.

Mao money.

Later, armed, fortunately with cab fare and a paper with the hotel's address printed in Chinese, I made it back to my room.  The tour guide gave me a call, and I and some of my fellow travelers met up with the rest of our tour group for dinner.   My cab driver was cute.  Damn you, Tower of Babel!

All in all, I must say that, while I recognize the blessing it was for me to be able to travel to China, I was disappointed at not being able to see much in terms of unique new year's day celebration.  Where's the huge fireworks display?  Where's the dragon dance?  Where's the music and people acting the fool?  We saw very little festivities in Beijing.  In fact, much of the city seemed deserted.  I felt like I was on the set of  I am Legend.  

That was a video I took of our short time at the great wall.  The only video of mine that wants to upload on either Blogger or YouTube.  I've had enough, and have wasted enough hours trying to get my videos to upload.  I might try again some other day.  

It felt good to be back in the "free world" after my trip to Beijing, despite the fact returning to a to an empty, lonely apartment doesn't feel like much cause for celebration.  I highly recommend saving your dollars for such a journey, but only if you can travel with a good companion!