Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Eye opener Beijing

Beijing was definitely a highlight of 2011. It was probably one of the most memorable trips to China I'll never forget. I never expected it to be a great place. When my dad informed me that I'd be going to Beijing I was like "Oh....Okay........" I'm one of those people (Such as my sisters) who aren't really keen to travel to China. I've already been to Shanghai and Guang Zhou (Recently in 2010), so I didn't really expect Beijing to be that great. But it was.

When we arrived in Bejing, it was surprisingly humid (Spring at the time). The airport is gigantic, it kinda looks like the KLIA airport. You can tell that it's really modern and high-tech. I understand why my dad always raves about how China is rising and affluent blahblahblah.

My parents and I stayed with our relatives. My dad's cousin, Aunty M and her family, Uncle D, S and Z. They're all from Singapore, but are there as expatriates. My family went with their family to the States in 08! I hadn't seen all of them for almost 2 years? So, as usual (This is far too common when I meet our family friends. "Yii-Huei oh my goodness you have grown so tall! Are you in uni now?" Do I really look that old?!?!) , they were surprised at how tall I had grown.

But, I was so surprised at how much  my cousin, Z had grown! S looked the same, but Z really shot up. Back in 08 when we were in America, I was taller than him, and he accidentally called me Yii-Huei 'jie jie' a few times which means older sister in Chinese, but I'm younger than him by 2 years!

Funny thing  when we actually saw him, while we were sitting down chatting, Uncle D said "Oh I think he's coming" and he and his friends came, and this really tall guy came walking through, and my dad exclaimed saying "Waaah Z so tall now!!". I was confused because I didn't recall Z having brown hair. Or having a different appearance. But Uncle D was like "Oh no that's not Z,that's his friend who is also very very tall!". My dad is so funny. Seriously. I think that is where I got my blur-ness from.

Anyway, Z is really tall, taller than me now. But it's been 2 years. A lot happens.
Explanation of why we are wet : We just sat on Splash mountain in Disneyland (Look below). Z is the one on the far right. I was taller!
On the first night, Uncle Dom offered to buy me McDs because he and my cousins just love McDs. I became sick of McDs in the states though. That was the first time ever because ever since I was a toddler, I loved McDs and it scared my family. I stayed off it for about a month or two when I came back to Aus.

On the second day, my dad's cousin from Guang Zhou came to show us around at Summer's Palace. Once you get to the city, my goodness, the traffic really is ridiculous. My dad's cousin's chauffeur drove us there. The weather was absolutely perfect. Some sun, a breeze, not too cold to wear shorts. Autumn or spring is always the best travelling season.

The Summer palace is supposed to be a 'garden'. It's pretty big. It's super pretty, although the lakes are artificial.. We walked around for about 6 km. It was a lovely walk.

For lunch, we went to this restaurant that specialises in Beijing cuisine. We had PEKING DUCK WHICH IS MY FAVOURITE. I had so much peking duck that trip. Lovely, lovely.

I can't remember what happened for the rest of the day, I think we just kinda rested at the house? And it was either that night, or the next night,but I had a massage!! First massage EVER. It was so great. I couldn't believe my parents actually agreed to something like this!I had a back and foot massage by the way.

Next day, it was a Sunday, and we were planning to go to my relatives' church, but we ended up going to the birds nest, where they held the Olympic games in 08. Pretty spectacular. It's huge alright. The weather was super windy though, it was quite hard taking pictures. The wind was so strong, a woman's baby pram started going away, and she had to chase after it!! Luckily the baby wasn't in there.

We also saw the huge cube. Lunch was at this really packed place. It's a sort of a traditional restaurant. Even the menus and cutlery are very olden-day like! The food was really yummy. I had pear tea which tastes amazing. My mum has been making that drink ever since she tried it, but with some changes.

My mum & Aunty M
After that, Aunty M booked us a this hair salon!! My mum and I got our hair steamed! It's just a process where you steam your hair, and it becomes silky soft. Afterwards I couldn't stop touching my hair...

One thing I noticed about Beijing.... There is pollen EVERYWHERE. And of course, pollution. A lot of the cars are Buick. And Audi. Later on, my dad's cousin (From yesterday), came to pick us up to go to this fancy restaurant and introduce one of his business associates. His business associate sent us an Audi. Seriously. And it was like an A6 or something, it's a really big car. That's how they do it in China.

The restaurant was pretty nice. We met my dad's cousin's friend and had our own private room in the balcony. There were a few shows, and performers even came to our room!


That didn't really taste nice... Some sort of jelly and broccoli is not a good combination.

Monday, we went shopping! Well, my parents were the one who shopped the most. We went to a few places. Crowded, rather quite tight, and Chinese sellers trying to lure you into their trap of buying their products. Whether it was clothes, bags or I don't know, a fake Ipad. I didn't buy much. I just bought two hoodies and two bags. My parents bought like a load of shopping. I hadn't seen them shop so much since our trip to the states..Okay that was one crazy filled shopping trip. Our van was filled with shopping bags. Ooh I love the shopping there.
Uncle D was a pretty good bargainer. Rather quite amusing to watch! It was quite an experience to see him bargain with all these Chinese ladies and men. In some shops, he was a regular.

There's this really cool ice cream place in Beijing. COLD STONE. It's actually American. But it is the best ice cream ever. For years, ever since having my first taste of Haagen Dazs and Ben and Jerry's , those two  have been my favourite ice cream brands. But not until I was introduced to Cold stone by Uncle D, that has been my favourite ice cream brand. They mash up all kinds of things, they have flavours. I ate strawberry cheesecake. Beyond delicious. And it's served in a waffle cone.

Why don't they have this in Australia? WHY?

We ate dinner at this Taiwanese restaurant! It's quite a lovely restaurant, except I remember that there was someone across the table smoking and the smoke went my way. It was pretty disgusting. I can't believe they actually allow people to smoke in restaurants.
Yay for bubble tea!

That was really yummy.
Tuesday, WE WENT TO THE GREAT WALL. Great wall, well wow. After visiting the Great wall, I was just really impressed. I mean yeah I've seen it on TV and stuff, was never that keen to visit it though. 

Instead of being the normal tourists and visiting the most popular ,touristy, over-crowded part of the Great wall, Badaling, Uncle D took us to Mutianyu. Lucky we had Uncle D as a tourist guide. We travelled up by ski-lift which was actually really scary.

The views from the Great wall are pretty spectacular. You can see that a lot of Beijing is quite dry though. But it really is beautiful. We walked for quite a bit,from tower to tower. The steps were really steep (I didn't expect that), so you had to use a lot of muscle to climb up. Great work out!

Then to get down, we had to go by TOBOGGAN!! Uncle D told me when we arrived on the first day, that we could toboggan on the Great wall. I've never been tobogganing like that, besides in the snow. But this one actually has railings and is quite long. You control the speed. The funny thing was, Uncle D was in front of me, my dad was behind me, kinda making them like bodyguards for me. Uncle D was told off by some of the people that he was going too fast! I didn't find that surprising because I know he's an adventurous person. But he did slow down to check on me and all. My dad on the other hand, was kind of like a tortoise. Uncle D
 was laughing at how there were so many people behind him. I think they were French people.

After that, boy was I hungry! We were planning to go to some Chinese restaurant, but we somehow ended up in this Western restaurant. I was like what the? There's a Western restaurant near Great wall? And the Great wall isn't that near to the city. But then again, Beijing has a lot of expatriates. Turns out that the restaurant is run by a few American people. The food there is actually really good! We all had this burger which was quite nice. The bun was fluffy and all! The meat was a little bit dry,but I didn't mind that. The chips were amazing! Fat yummy salty chips oooh yum yum.

I wish I could eat that again.
Dinner was at this Chinese restaurant. The food was really nice! I loved the beef. I'm a meat person. I think my whole family are meat eaters. I don't think any of us could turn into vegetarians... Besides YV who did a few years ago. Once she took us to this vegetarian restaurant and I had a tofu burger. I was a toddler who loved happy meals from McDonalds. Imagine how I would've eaten it.

ANDDDDDD we had another round of Cold stone! I asked Z for suggestions and he said chocolate devotion. Really good. I love ice cream. I actually think the original waffle is better than the chocolate waffle though.

I think I had another massage that night. I also got my first ever manicure. They did a really good job, seriously! My nails were super shiny, clean and neat and my nails looked really nice! The exchange rate from rmb to ringgit, well it was equivalent to 16 ringgit! Not expensive at all.

Wednesday , we went to the Forbidden city. It is one huge palace, that is all I will say. Okay, no , my dad was going on about how huge it is blahblahblah and was all like "You can't compare this to the German castle right!??!". Yeah it's really big. But to be honest, you kind of see the same sort of buildings everywhere even though it's huge. All these Chinese animal statues and stuff. I visited a castle , Neushwanstein, in Germany which is a castle that inspired to create Disneyland's sleeping beauty castle, and I found that far more impressive. Though it's smaller, I like the interior better. But I mean, the Forbidden city is still pretty impressive.

Visited the Emperor Dowager's  brother place. Update: I meant sorry, the daughter of the Empress Dowager's brother grew up there and was locked up there.

Aunty M got one of these story tellers to show us around. He was rambling in Chinese so obviously I couldn't understand. I wish I could've. It was really nice of her to hire one of those people to give us a private tour. I really need someone to tutor me in Chinese please! 

Lunch was at one of the restaurants there, the food was as usual quite nice! 

After lunch, we went around to explore to kill some time. We bought my mum's art brushes , went to this shop with lots of foods and stuff. My parents were really interested in buying tea (I don't get what's the hype about expensive tea.. I like green tea.). So we had like a tasting session with this sales person and he kept on pouring out tea and brought us two bowls worth of samples. Uncle D and I were happily eating all the samples! He said "If my wife was here, she'd scold me for eating so many samples!" 

That's just a little bit gross.
 Dinner was very meaty. We had steamboat, so we had all sorts of things but mainly meat. And it was very delicious, since I love meat. 
You can't really see that well, but my manicure looked really good. 

Had another massage, but it was rather kind of painful. It wasn't the woman who did the massage on my back & foot two times in a row.

Last day: We didn't have that much time that day. We had an afternoon flight.

I woke up earlier than my parents, and Uncle D asked me if I wanted to take a look at my cousins' school since he was sending S off, while Z was riding his bike. It's so close. Literally like 3-5 minutes. And the school is pretty huge, it's an international school.

Later we came back, got everyone and we went to the Temple of heaven. The weather wasn't that great, it was raining! The last day and it was raining! The whole week had literally perfect weather. Not too hot, not too cold.

For lunch, we ate at this famous restaurant, known for its peking duck. I think one of the best on the trip!  We also had venison (Surprisingly tastes good. Though I think it's kind of strange to be eating DEER) and prawn.

Uncle D told me the day before that there is a H&M at this place we're at. AND I GOT REALLY EXCITED. I rushed off with him to the shop and bahh I was like trying on so many things but only got 3 items =.= AND IT WAS SO CHEAP. I should've gotten more.

ANDDD that concludes our trip. We rushed off to the hotel,blahblahblah, we stayed overnight in Bangkok for transit cause we were taking Thai airways. Ok, that was kind of horrible. I mean the hotel we were staying at.

But, I just have to admit, Beijing was an eye-opener. I didn't expect so much from this trip, it took me by surprise. It's a modern, high-tech city. I really enjoyed my time being there, and having Aunty M and Uncle D as tour guides, well what more could I ask for? They were the best tourist guides, I would've never been to the places they took me if I went on an actual tour. I kept on saying that I wish I could've stayed longer. I really wish I could've. Beijing '11 will always be in my heart.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for commenting, I really appreciate it!