The Old, the New, and Something in Between

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This would be the last blog in my five-city China adventure series. Thank you for keeping up with my stories.

To shake things, up, I won’t be telling this story chronologically. Instead, I would tell them according to the categories in my head. This blog is all about the last two days of our China stay.

The Old

If you asked me what my favorite site in Beijing was, this is it: the Temple of Heaven (天坛). This would be my third time to visit the park, and my love for it remained constant. I could recall fond memories of dancing in those ancient steps with the news crew shooting us when I was a teenager. This time, the experience was different, but the giddiness remained the same.

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Emperors used to come to this temple to offer prayers and gifts to heaven. The general design theme was squares and circles: square represents earth, circle represents heaven. Today, the park is being used extensively by locals, young and old alike. It was fun to just sit down in their many benches and people watch.

Not quite visible, but in the middle of the circle there was a conductor and some instrumentalists. Everyone surrounding them seemed to be the choir.

Not quite visible, but in the middle of the circle there was a conductor and some instrumentalists. Everyone surrounding them seemed to be the choir.

Another choir rehearsal.

Another choir rehearsal.

Using water to write on the floor.

Using water to write on the floor.

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A good exercise for all ages.

A good exercise for all ages.

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The New

After five cities, I felt that visiting more temples, old houses and ancient walls would be too repetitive already, and that it was time for modern activities.

The National Center for the Performing Arts (国家大剧院) was suggested to George by Paula. After reading about it online, we decided to include it in our itinerary. It was their Opera festival, and they had an exhibit of all the operas they have performed. I was suitably impressed with their sets and mock ups. Their costumes were equally amazing. It was just weird to see pictures of European Operas, such as Carmen, La Traviata etc., with mostly a Chinese cast. I was a bit jealous of the artistic opportunities their people had.

The cab dropped us off at the back door, and we had to walk all the way to the front to enter.

The cab dropped us off at the back door, and we had to walk all the way to the front to enter.

Front entrance.

Front entrance.

Spacious lobby.

Spacious lobby.

Impressive mock-up.

Impressive mock-up.

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Pretending that my picture was also posted on this wall.

Pretending that my picture was also posted on this wall.

Dalvin treated us ice cream. Yay!

Dalvin treated us ice cream. Yay!

The 798 Art Zone (798艺术区 ) was a gamble. No one recommended it to me. I just encountered it in Tripadvisor. I wished we had more time in that area. Art + shopping + cafes = fun! I chose to wander around by myself and simply soaked in the bohemian atmosphere.

Lunch treat by George

Lunch treat by George

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This was the second couple I saw that day, having photoshoot in the area.

This was the second couple I saw that day, having photoshoot in the area.

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This place is really encouraging artists to explore their creativity.

This place is really encouraging artists to explore their creativity.

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Plastic Vase!

Plastic Vase!

Blurry picture of a candy store. This type of store seems to be popular in the city.

Blurry picture of a candy store. This type of store seems to be popular in the city.

Adult merchandise in a candy store :P

Adult merchandise in a candy store 😛

Wall of a designer clothing store.

Wall of a designer clothing store.

Leather workshop for bags.

Leather workshop for bags.

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Wang fu jing street (王府井大街) never gets old. We went there to visit the bookstores. None of us were into shopping for clothes or designer goods at that moment so we again split to separate ways and did our own errands.

Our investment for our students from Xavier School.

Our investment for our students from Xavier School.

China printing for Sound of Music song book.

China printing for Sound of Music song book.

Something in Between

Nan luo gu xiang (南罗鼓巷) was not part of our itinerary at all. We were supposed to visit Sanlitun (三里屯) for its night life, but none of us drink or party hard. Paula recommended this area and we didn’t know what was there at all. It turned out, the street was in one of the hutong areas. It was artsy, and it reminded me of modern street stores. We walked it from in end to the other, before walking all the way back to our hotel.

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This was were we had dinner. Their food was good!

This was were we had dinner. Their food was good!

Dalvin and I loved this!

Dalvin and I loved this!

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Donation box for the cute cats.

Donation box for the cute cats.

Modern Starbucks with an ancient facade, close to the end of the street.

Modern Starbucks with an ancient facade, close to the end of the street.

Last Supper

Fil and I paid for our simple hotel breakfast. George treated us lunch, and Paula brought us to another busy area, to treat us for our last dinner in Beijing. It was very good! We arrived early and still, we were fifth on the wait list. Locals patronize this restaurant.

前门, 西城区 area

前门, 西城区 area

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Bones of peking duck fried. Tasted like Crispy Pata

Bones of peking duck fried. Tasted like Crispy Pata

My Peking Duck Eating Preference:

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Journey’s End

We have reached the end of the line. We left the country of our ancestors and returned to the country of our birth, full of fond memories and laughter. I thank God for all the experiences and learning we have had, and I pray that we could do another trip like this again. Maybe in five years, we can save up for DIY Holy Land or DIY Europe. Who knows?

Last picture in town: Nostalgia hotel staff requesting for a picture with Fil because he looks like Wang Lee Hom :)

Last picture in town: Nostalgia hotel staff requesting for a picture with Fil because he looked like Wang Lee Hom 🙂

To read our complete itinerary, click here.

To read about our previous adventure in Beijing, click here.

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2 responses »

  1. Pingback: Five-City China Trip: Prologue | Shanda's Happy Deals

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