Archive for March, 2009

Day 4 Beijing – The Great Wall of China

From our hotel to Great Wall, the journey takes about 1.5 hours.  Instead of DIY, we hire a private driver.  The trip to Great Wall was actually paid for and I was thinking we might as well book the driver for the full day and paid him the shortfall which was RMB450.00 (RM225.00).  I still thinks that RM225 is quite pricey tho.

Pictures on the way to Mutianyu Great Wall:

Able to see Great Wall from far!

We are not quite there yet.

At the carpark.

Scene near the toilet.

There are several side of Great Wall that is accessible to tourist like Simatai, Jinshanling, Gubeikou, Badaling and Mutianyu.  We was advised to visit Mutianyu Great Wall as there are less tourist.  I think Badaling is having the most tourist of all.

We took the trip up by cable car (RMB35.00 = RM17.50).  The Mutianyu Scenic spot is hugged by mountains with beautiful natural sceneries.

This is where the tracking started.

The experience at this section of the wall is breathtaking. Thankfully the touristy crowds are not here. However,  climbing up the very very steep steps occasionally made me wonder if I was in shape enough to make the climb. Then awe struck me that this wall that goes on as far as the eye can see was built with hand tools so long ago.

Making our way to the watch tower.

Up at the watch tower.

The sky is awesome, isn’t it?  It is now Hubby’s duty to carry my camera bag as my shoulder is aching, feet is getting heavier and the heart pound faster.

Random pictures

The wall presents different aspects of beauty in the four seasons. Flowers bloom all over the mountains in spring. Grasses dress the hillside green in summer. Trees are laden with sweet fruits in autumn, and especially in October, leaves are turning red or yellow, touching the mountain tops with gold. In winter, the wall is covered by snow, making it seem more magnificent.

We don’t feel a thing coming down.  Now to hike back up is really killing us!

A sled named ‘Speed Chute’ will give you an opportunity to experience thrills by taking you swoop down from the high mountains.  They are almost similar to Luge in Sentosa Singapore.  Instead of wider sledding lane, the single luge skidway was made from aluminum and does not require much maneuver  except to shift some body weight while maneuvring the curve.  Those are arenaline rush ride down hil.  Ticket priced at RMB55 (RM27.50).  For the faint hearted, you may take the cable car ride down.

We have fulfilled one of our wish to step foot on The Great Wall of China.  Check out more photos in my Facebook.

14 Hijackers

Bento Mania #75 – Mini Pear & Such

Top from left:  Buttered corn, assortment of fish cake
Bottom from left:  Mini pears, chocolate flavoured mantou

Mini are good.  But mini is always expensive.  I am refering to both food and electronic gadget for example the palm size mobile phone, the netbook, pns camera, etc.  I am always feeling excited when I see mini food cos they are easier to pack into bento box.

You can tell that the pears are mini cos they are no where larger than the mantou.

4 Hijackers

Day 3 Beijing – Food, Foot & Shop Poisoning

I know I’ve mentioned in Day 2 that I have nothing to brag about day 3 in Beijing but after going through my photographs, it cracks me up again and thought maybe I should put it up here. So my usual chronicle of events. The Hubby like day 2, left for work at 7am and I got up from bed at 9am but this time with a severe of purging. I still make it for breakfast but a quick one. Wallop 2 tablets of charcoal but the purging won’t stop at all. Infact, my feces looks like seaweed. *yikes!*.

The Hubby came home back at 3pm and it is so kind of him to run (yes he ran!) to a Chinese Medical Hall about 10mins away from our hotel to get me medicines. The Chinese sinseh told him, “This one very powerful wan. I guarantee you no more purging after taking this.” Bull shit la. Still purging wat. The other guys was planning to go for foot massage and some shopping. I was so weak and yet the thought of confining in the hotel room during vacation is such a waste. So I die-die also join them. Fuah, the temperate was at 6C but one minute I was perspiring and another minute I was so nausea I want to lay down on the street. But kena tahan la cos I did not want to spoilt other people’s vacation.

First stop was to Silk Market and they thought we should go get a cup of coffee or tea, whatever and I was like running to the toilet every minute. Wah, so much shit talk here. I better cut long story short.

Fast forward …. as we was leaving, I puke because the guys was smoking. I felt better than before after that puking! God Bless me! I managed to shop in Silk Market for 1 hr without yelling for the toilet. Talking about toilet, I used to read horror remarks that toilet in China is very….. awful. But hey, they are not that bad you know. At least their toilets floor is dry not like the Malaysian toilets. The only thing you have to tolerate is the smell. The are really horrible!

The bargaining in Silk Market is horrible too! But I still managed to lug back lots of stuff. wakakaka….. they are so cheap, ok! I know this is going to happened and make sure my luggage was half empty when I came to Beijing.

We only shop for one hour cos the other guys wanted to go for foot massage. And to cut the long story short again….. While checking on their available services…..

We couldn’t stop laughing!

I think it has something to do with exfoliating the dead skin. Sorry about that cos I don’t read Chinese. The masseur said that I have cold feet and ask if I am unwell. Wah, she so smart leh.

After that we balik to the hotel and Day 4 onwards, Hubby’s work had finished and we already book the private driver to Great Wall of China. Can’t wait to see the world heritage, eh? 😉

8 Hijackers

Day 2 Beijing – Hutong Village

Hubby left for work at 7am and I got up from bed at 9am for the sake of getting food aka breakfast in my tummy before they closes at 10.30am then back to my room and do some work, blog a little, chat a little before the Hubby came home back at 3pm. Off we go to Hutong Village.

Hutong Village is considered one of the very popular tourist attraction in Beijing. This is where you are able to catch a glimpse of the local daily lifestyle. It is impossible to cover Hutong on foot even thought some houses have been demolished to make way for modernized development. However, some have been conserved and is possible to take an organized tour on a pedicab or rent a bicycle. Or maybe a tour guide if you have the budget.

Hutong in Mandarin is “residential alley” and Beijing was once over-run with neighborhoods of them, boasting the true flavors of the Chinese and the city.

However, over the last decade, Beijing has been modernizing, and Hutongs have been disappearing in favor for ring roads, high rises and stadiums catering to the Olympic games.

A city once crowded with streams of bicycles, is now characterized by swarms of traffic at all hours of the day and a thick, haze!

However, that day the sky was super clear. No haze at all!

We stop by a chinese tea house for the tea ceremony. This is another new that I’ve learnt during my trip. In some part of brewing chinese tea, brewed tea was poured into the thimble-shaped fragrance cup (see picture below). Place the small teacup over the thimble and then turn them upside down very quickly. This is how the tea was served to us.

Gently remove the fragrance cup and allow the tea to inhabit the small cup. Put the fragrance cup between your palm and roll them. Now, appreciate the fragrant by sniffing the fragrance cup. You’ll be surprised at how strong the aroma is from this tiny cup. Interesting isn’t it?

Moving on after getting outselves warm in the tea house as the weather outside is about 6 Celsius.

Emperor/Empress costumes on rental for studio photography

From across the road, I spotted ‘tang (sweets) hulu’. When I was a child, I used to see this sweets in Chinese drama and told myself that one day, if I ever see this, no matter how much or in what situation, I must savor this once. And lo and behold, I yelled, “STOP!!!!” I rush down from my pedicab and get myself one at RMB4 (RM2).

The fruits is actually cored fresh red dates coated with harden sugar syrup. Traditionally Tang Hulu used to be Hawthorn (shan zha) but nowadays fresh fruits has been used. I’ve tried the hawthorn version. They doesn’t taste as good as red dates.

And if you think RMB4 is cheap, the next day a street vendor sold it at RMB1 per stick and another vendor out beat him by shouting RMB1 for 2 sticks!!! And I go, “sucks!”

The gate building is the only thing that we can see along the Hutongs. Chinese people used to try to protect their privacy from being intruded by strangers. You don’t simply go inside their courtyard.

The Hutong tour guide telling us that we are going to visit this particular family…. and a reminder to be respectful and behave after all, this is their home.

According to the tour guide, during season month, they grew vegetables and fruits like grapes, tomatoes, loofah, etc. I’m sure it will be a beautiful sight.

Another part of their house. They are the 5th generation staying in this house. It may look quite run down but over the years, they did some renovation on the interior like using gas stove (with cooker hob somemore!), cement flooring, etc… and I go, “chehhhhh”.

The house owner showed us a few skills like Chinese calligraphy writing using water and written on the floor with a very huge Chinese brush. The toy that I am holding is called ‘cher ling’ or Chinese Yo-Yo. Sorry for the bad picture. It was taken under low lighting.

As we were leaving the place about 5.30pm, the sun started to set. This is the most beautiful sun that I’ve captured so far. The amazing thing is, I saw this type of sun every evening while I was in Beijing.

Night life had begun in Hutong. There are lots of pub that catered for kwai low tourist.

We settled for dinner nearby. I was already not feeling like myself during dinner and thought that I was merely tired and at the same time my tummy felt like having gastric. The next morning, I woke up with a series of diarrhoea. Was purging every 5 minutes and was bed ridden for the whole day. There goes my Day 3 in Beijing. No photo of Day 3 then and we shall proceed to Day 4.

More photos in my Facebook.

12 Hijackers

Bento Mania #74 – Hello Kitty

Post dated bento consist of individually packed rice + chicken floss . Dishes is fried egg (using egg white for the face, cincau jelly for the eyes and whiskers *haha!*, egg yolk for the nose and carrot as the ribbon), blanched broccoli and cauliflower and pan fried salmon slices.

This is how I prepare the rice:

Filled onigiri mould with rice and make a well at the centre. Position chicken floss in the well before closing them with more rice. You can mix rice vinegar to your cooked rice or just leave them plain.

Place your rice ball on the centre of plastic wrap and wrap them up.

As for the pan fried salmon slices:

Cut salmon in slices. Marinate them with teriyaki sauce, dash of pepper, honey and dark soy sauce. Melt a little butter on non-stick pan and fried them. Make sure you do not overcook the salmon.

As for the Hello Kitty egg:

Separate egg white and yolk. Fried them separately. The rest is all cut out from the Hello Kitty cookie cutter.  I really respect those amateur bento blogger. How did they find time to do all those cutesy bento? I took near to 1 hour to prepare this bento. I think this is the first and last time I EVER use the cookie cutter for bento’ing. Really  so much work!

11 Hijackers

Day 1 Beijing – Forbidden City & Bird’s Nest

Beijing is a place that you can DIY. There are few pointers tho. Make sure the hotel that you are staying is near to a subway station. Most of the tourist attraction is accessible by Beijing Subway and I mean they are really convenient cos the train stop right at those places.

We stayed at The Westin Chaoyang. The Liangmahe station is right outside our Hotel. And I mean they are really right outside. So convenient can die! Each trip cost RMB2 (RM1) no matter where you go. This is the most affordable public transport ever. Trains arrive every 3 minutes interval. However, be prepared with the horrendous passengers even during mid day working hours. Sometimes I wonder if they don’t have to work.

Our first stop is to visit the Forbidden City. We get down from Tian’anmen. We didn’t quite expect to see the crowd like this 🙁 . Inside the Forbidden City is worst!

My 4 year old after seeing Chairman Mao’s picture and she said, “Mummy! I know this place.”

“How did you know?”

“Yes, this one is pai-pai (prayer) wan.”

LOL! She could either mean that the picture is someone who has deceased or the place is a temple. But dem crappy la. I don’t understand why or what purpose does it serve to have the picture doing there.

It is impossible to stop and take a good photo cos these people kept on walking and they will just bump you from the back. Very irritating thing would be people walking past through your camera cos they just couldn’t care less. These are the two that that I have to bear throughout my stay in Beijing. The common sight would be people spitting and also blowing their nose on the floor. *sigh…. Sometimes I saw young boy doing that too. *double sigh….

We was at Forbidden City for less than an hour before turning back.

This is the entrance and exit to Forbidden City. Opposite is Tian’anmen Square. We decided to give it a miss cos it is just a square with lots and lots of people (don’t know what they do/see there).

We was told that during summer, local will flock to the square to fly some kite there. Should be a very beautiful sight. Note the long queue that is forming out there making a bee line to the entrance?

You know what, most local kids have rosy cheek but I doubt that is frost bite. Still, they look super cute! We took the train back to the hotel and decided to look for food. We just walk blindly and came to this frozen river.

Finally we found a row of eateries and decided to try the most uncommon food. Something that we don’t get to eat back home.

These are handmade oven bake bread equivalent to our Foochow kompiang minus the crunchy texture. Make a slit on the centre and you can choose between pork or duck breast meat. The pork belly was cook in lots of herbs that tasted like bak kut teh, diced together with fresh green chilies. I prefer the duck breast meat version. The meat was so tender and they basically melt in your mouth! They was so good, we had 4 pcs of the bread. Very satisfying lunch!

Dinner was at some unknown place organized by Daddy’s company.

Cold dish – Fresh turnip with blueberry jam

Purely vegetarian dish. They are fried tofu and the top is seaweed that makes them looks like fish fingers. Gravy was pumpkin cream. Very ho chiak lor!

I’m a Flexitarian so I kinda skip this dish. Beef is not my liking.

The restaurant provide some shows too like Chinese acrobats, magic show, etc… the one that caught my attention was Changing Mask. This is my first time watching it. I have heard a lot about Changing Mask and finally had the chance to see one.

Very entertaining as that man is able to change mask in a quick 2 seconds. Must be some trick la.

After dinner, we went to the Bird’s Nest.

The weather at night was about -2C and the strong wind does not spare us any mercy. I was well clothe but the other guys was yelling at me asking me to be quick.!

The Water Cube at night.

I go about snapping and chatting and when I turn around, the Water Cube is gone! Awesome isn’t it? They switched off the lights and now I have both pictures taken with and without lights.

Shot this pix while walking back to the car park. The reflection on the lamp post looks like fireworks in the river.

That wrapped up for Day 1.  Time to sit back and relax while enjoying my favourite Korean drama on the 48″ flatscreen and what’s more?  It was mounted on plasma mount!   Cool yea? Watch out this space for Day 2.

p/s:  There are more photos in my Facebook or even more more photos in my laptop.  Who’s interested to see la?

14 Hijackers

Bento Mania #73

Schedule post* and you know what?  Internet line in Beijing is so much faster than Streamyx!!!!!

This is not a bento post but because I have accidentally watermarked them, saved and named under bento, they are too late/lazy for me to do further changes  now. 

Hello Kitty Fish cake.

Bought them in Takashimaya (Singapore) for S$6.90.  I was told Jusco has them too at about RM12.90.

They kids had them with vermicille noodle one day and reckon they are good.  Prince is not reluctant to ate them even though that pink kitty is for sissy.  I even packed udon with the fish cake some other day and he happyly ate them in the school canteen.  I’m ok if he refused to eat them.  He don’t know what he is missing. kekeke.

8 Hijackers