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Line dancing in Temple of Heaven

Line dancing in Temple of Heaven, originally uploaded by Helen K.

We visited the Temple of Heaven, and the park was filled with 1000’s of people – and these weren’t the ones visiting the culturally significant site!

Parks in China are used for many things, singing, exercising, ribbon twirling, band practice, and line dancing. The number of people participating in a wide range of uncoordinated, and unadvertised events was truly amazing. People here are organised… and they don’t appear to need much assistance from anyone!

Procedure to swim at Water Cube

1. Bring togs, goggles, towel, passport photo

2. Apply for swimming card and affix passport photo

3. Pay prescribed fee

4. Have medical examination!!!

5. Wash in shower and then through foot pool

6. Swim

Bugger forgot my passport photo. I was so close. I had everything else! Next time in Beijing I’ll pack a spare passport photo!

We rode bikes

We rode bikes, originally uploaded by kdt.

For those who worry about us, perhaps you should not read this post! Yes we rode in Beijing! Yes we rode during peak hour! Yes we rode on some of the biggest and busiest roads we have ever seen! Yes we are still alive!

To be frank, I would prefer to ride my bike to work in Beijing than in Adelaide. Traffic is slower and it is used to dealing with lots and lots of bicycles. The road rules are clear the biggest vehicle has right of way!

The bike lanes are big and the bikes travel slowly, but often faster than the cars. Street lights are optional and often safer ignored!

It is by far the best way of seeing lots of Beijing. We rode around the old hutongs and a couple of smart lakes and Tiananamen Square. Fun Fun Fun! If we’re clever we’ll add some video showing the traffic conditions.

p.s. I got my wish of cycling a single speed bike!!!!

p.p.s I wish I had my bike shorts with me, although I would have got lots of stares!


Dinner?, originally uploaded by Helen K.

This was the fantastic fish dinner we had from the place next door to accomodation.

We spoke no Chinese, (left the book at the hutong) and they spoke no english. There were three types of fish on the menu…. all looked the same but with different vegetables/spices. We sat outside, and there was a cool breeze, ah….

It was a great find!

Forbidden City

Forbidden City, originally uploaded by Helen K.

You might be wondering what the weather is like here in Beijing. Well to be polite it hot and sultry. It is very pleasent when we get up in the morning, and slightly overcast with clouds/pollution. However, if we are unlucky this will burn off around lunch time when the sun really comes out and then it is very hot and humid, and putting on sunscreen proves to be difficult. Around dinner time when the sun has set it gets cooler and if you lucky there is a breeze.

We noticed on the news, that it is raining in China… well not here yet. Hopefully it doesn’t though, as I don’t have a pair of rain proof shoes!


IMG_2957, originally uploaded by kdt.

Here is proof that we actually have been to part of the Great Wall. It was quite impressive as was the journey from Beijing. We arranged for a driver/guide just to make a life a little easier. Gavin, our driver/guide, took this photo so we could prove to the folks back home our achievement. Traffic in Beijing moves smoothly and rationally compared with India. I think the reason for this is that there are a lot of very good roads, most better than back home. As you drive out very modern Beijing with its MASSIVE buildings the size of suburbs gives away to a much more human scale.

The Great Wall

Before we are on our way

Originally uploaded by Helen K

With any holiday experience there are always little things the guidebooks don’t mention. Getting from the top of the Great Wall back to the bottom via a toboggan slideway is one. I don’t know why they leave it out… but it was fantastic! 2-3 minutes of pure excitement and the wind rushing through your hair. The only downside is having to slow down because the person in the front is too cautious. It definitely beats the the old chair lift any day. So next time you are in Mutianyu I highly recommend the “slideway” ride down.

At this point you are probably asking “But how was the Great Wall?”. Well it was truly amazing – what else can you say. Views are stunning (once the sky has cleared up)…. from all angles. It certainly is an incredible structure, the way it hugs the top of the mountains. on the photo will take you to my photo page where you can see many photos of the wall.  Its a great experience..  and worth the very steep climb, and all the stairs.  Thankfully they don’t have those stairs at the gym – The Great Wall is one place you wouldn’t catch me running up and down!