Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Beijing April 08 2011

Woke up very early in the morning, as we cannot be late more than 10 minutes for the course.

After the hearty breakfast in the hotel cafe, I quickly dressed up to get myself prepared.

6 hours crawled past flew by, and it was the end of the course. Got to know more about ethic and professionalism, practically the do's and don'ts. Also, I get to know a few new actuarial friends from China, Taiwan and Korea.

After resting, Alvin and I got down to the MRT in front of the hotel to head to the famous and never-sleep street in Beijing - "Ghost" Street.

There are two rows of restaurants selling a wide-range of food. The shops were blazing with their own styles of signboard.

We walked for quite some distance and were attracted the most by this shop. It serves the dishes in the ancient time -Shu.

Every plate, bowl and cup are labeled "sterilized" clearly.
Not sure how true is that.

The shop was crowded and we waited for quite a while until the food was served.

special, unique and delicious

One fish alone cost us 100+ yuan.

We continued down the street to look for "刷羊肉", as it is strongly recommended by our friends in China.

Then only we got to know 刷羊肉 is actually mutton steamboat. @@ Nevertheless we gave it a try.

I found that the mutton taste is beyond my tolerable range, and so I needed to dip it into this sauce. It was tasty.

The two dishes above are worth a try, especially for those who like Chinese food.

That marked the end of Day 3.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sony Alpha 350

2.5 years ago, I bought myself a cute digital camera. Now I got myself a muscular DSLR!

Beijing April 07 2011

Started our second day by hunting for breakfast in the midst of strong breeze. This is because we wanted to save money from dining in the hotel cafe.

We walked for around 300m until we found the well-known franchised bakery in China - Wei Duo Mei.

The breads are really delectable.

Then we were back to the hotel lobby to wait for our tour guide to fetch us for the trip we signed up earlier in the airport.

We were fetched and were told there would be another two tourists joining us. The two good-looking tourists were picked up from Marco Polo Hotel and we knew they must be either very rich or on a luxurious business trip. True enough, they are flight attendants from Vietnam Airlines.

We were then heading to Badaling Great Wall, which is located at the northern part of Beijing, about one-hour-drive from the city center.

Once we got down the van, we knew we would be frozen if we were not going to get a wind breaker. So we simply grabbed two winter coats from a stall nearby at a very low price of RMB250.

Even our camera lens was "moisturized"
due to the very low temperature.

Great Wall is really magnificent and amazing. Imagine that there was no machine assistance, but the impregnable Great Wall was built across various barriers like hills and rivers!

We were given 1.5 hours to conquer Badaling Great Wall and for photo-taking.

Thiet, Vinh and Jess :)

Part of the Great Wall is really steep. But for each step you climb, you will say nothing but to be astounded by the perfect and excellent masterpiece.

We were marveled by the intelligence of
the architects and engineers involved in this grand project.

sign of victory

After an hour, we sat down to rest and have some information exchange with Vinh and Thiet on Malaysia and Vietnam.

When we were passing through the tunnel to take a cable car down to the base, we were "attacked" by the ever strongest and most freezing wind I met in my life. For the one minute, we could not utter anything, but to try covering ourselves up. The chill ran into our mouth and down to our spine. Luckily we survived in the "wind attack".

At the base, when we were about to leave, we saw this attractive camel and spent RMB20 each person to take pictures with it. *grin*

After that, we were led to a jade factory to learn how to differentiate the genuineness of the precious and splendid jade and also had our lunch there.

The next station was Summer Palace. It is another improbable masterpiece! The whole palace stretches around 3.0 km square, with 75% being the man-made Kunming Lake and 25% being the man-made Longevity Hill. The Summer Palace was built during Qian Long Emperor for the 60th birthday celebration of His Mom.

The soil excavated from Kunming Lake was used to build Longevity Hill.

I like willow very much as it gives me a sense of tranquility.

The Marble Boat is a sight not to be missed in Summer Palace. It was used by the Emperor and His Mom to enjoy tea and the breathtaking view.

Our last station was Dr Tea House. We sampled four types of tea, namely Puer, WuLong, Litchi and Jasmine Green Tea. In the tea ceremony, we were briefed the way to drink tea and the history of each tea.

At the same time, we were chatting really euphorically, making jokes of the tea history etc.

The correct way to drink Puer:

We then made our way back to the hotel, bidding goodbye to the two new friends.

After checking in hotel, we walked around HK Macau Center to look for dinner. We tried this classy restaurant. The food was really delicious and cost reasonably unlike the Beijing roasted duck we ate on the first day.

Then it marked the end of Day 2, we got ourselves early to the bed to be energetic for the associateship professionalism course the next day.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Beijing April 06 2011

We reached Beijing at the break of the day.

We were like in another world. Everything is so different. We were like back to the ancient world.

even the tol gate is like a temple

After resting due to the tiring flight, we started hunting for food. Some people said Beijing food is delicious, some said it is sucks. We chose to believe the former.

Our first stop was this shop.

It is very famous and classy.

We ordered a two-person set, comprising of a few dishes of duck-product, like duck soup, duck HEART, and duck meat (of course). We were served with some side dishes like vegetable, fish belly soup as well.

The heart of the duck is really really scrumptious but you gotta pass through your own barrier to tell yourself you are not eating hearts of the duck. For the every heart we ate, we would yuck a bit but still it was delicious.

Another well-known and must-eat dish in Beijing is the roasted duck.

It is recommended to be eaten with this popiah skin

We then caught a bus to go Forbidden City at around 1pm. Not knowingly that from TianAnMen to Forbidden City can actually take us ages!

We first shopped around at Square of TianAnMen. It is a hot tourism spot.

It is spring.. everything is blossoming with life.

There are rows of shops in the square.

Well in China, they have a lot of funny brands, as they like to translate half and render another half directly. Like Standard and Poor is called 标准普. And Starbucks is called:

After some quick shopping, we headed to Forbidden City.

Forbidden City is finally a stone's throw away after walking with heavy panting.

But guessed what?! We reached there at 430pm!!!! We were not allowed to visit the Forbidden City already. The distance is extremely long from the square to Forbidden City, perhaps because we snapped too many photos on the way.

Regrettably, we visited the garden next to Forbidden City with just 3 yuan as entrance ticket.

Seemingly we were in heaven!

Switching on our macro-mode to have a big capture of the beautiful and lovely flowers!

After being in the garden for approximately one hour plus, we then made our way back to our hotel, looking forward for Day 2 Great Wall trip!

p/s: Never underestimate China.. They are really Great China.. The buildings are humongous. The roads are large.