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Archive for December, 2017

The Forbidden City

I have seen this familiar building in movies and tv shows, so it was quite intriguing for me to visit the place in person.

The Forbidden City is also called Imperial Palaces or Gugong (故宫) which in chinese means “former palace” and now has become a palace museum. The palatial architectures were massive and impressive and I hope to watch a detailed documentary about Gugong fascinating history one day.

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The distance of the palace from one end to the other (entrance to the exit) is approximately 9.5 km.

Across from the street at the exit of the Forbidden City is the beautiful Jingshan Park; Jingshan 景山公园 in chinese literally means “scenic hill park”.
Because we had been on long walking tour at the palace for the whole morning, we decided to skip Jinshan.

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When a friend heard that I didn’t visit this scenic garden, she made sure to take me there as she said this gorgeous place is not to be missed. A couple of days later, she happily gave me a scooter tour of various highlights in the capital city, with a stop at Jingshan Park!

This famous park is especially pretty during the spring season as many auspicious flowers such as peonies are in full bloom; I could only imagine the beauteous.

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Autumn, however has its alluring attraction — The roadsides were decorated in glistening gold by the ginkgo trees. The blowing wind made the little cute fan-shaped leaves fall like gentle snow and the pavement is adorned with yellow leaves — like street of gold.

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Some people picked up the ginkgo fruits that dropped from the trees to use as herbal remedy.

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As we ascended up to the garden hill, my friend couldn’t wait to show me the aerial view of the magnificent ancient Imperial Palaces, as well as the modern city surrounding it – a mixture of the old and the new; I could even spot the area of where our hotel was situated!

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I am so glad I went up to the scenic hill ‘cos the panoramic view was indeed breathtaking from the top! As I looked at the tourists from across the street down below, I could see myself being one of those exciting crowd there just a few days ago, what a thrilling feeling!

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That evening, six of us took three scooters for a ride to enjoy the vibrant night scene of Beijing and we ended our night surrounding a Korean hotpot to keep ourselves warm from the biting cold autumn weather.

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Flag Raising Ceremony

Since we stayed not too far from the Tienanmen Square, someone mentioned that we could go and witness the daily flag raising ceremony held there.

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We had tried to reach there twice in a row but both times we missed the ceremony by just a few minutes. We then learned that the schedule of the flag ceremony at the Square varies each day as it is synchronized with the rising of the sun; People suggested to check the timetable online before heading out.

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On our third attempt, we finally made it there before the sunrise. When we arrived there was already many tour buses letting people off at the Square. People who came a few seconds later kept pushing and shuffling and trying to squeeze and push past me to get as close as possible to the front. I was sandwiched between the eager crowd and felt like being tossed among the ocean of people.

Although many of us couldn’t get to the front, we were thankful to those who brought their selfies!! Many raised their selfie sticks with live video so those who were blocked by others could witness the actual ceremony from the selfie screen.

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A live band played the national anthem as the flag was being raised and it was quite an emotional experience hearing the live music and seeing the thousands plus noisy crowd become quiet. After the flag was raised, everyone let out a loud cheer and dispersed to different corners of the Square in no time to take pictures.

Aside from tourists and school students, I noticed there were many elderly people at the square to witness the flag raising. I was told that it is every elderly wish to be at the flag raising especially at Tienanmen Square; it is like a patriotic pride to be able to witness the flag raising at the capital city. Thus many adult children who are able, help their parents who live in inner or across China make the long trip here so they can fulfill their wish.

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Even though it is only a 3-min ceremony, I’ve gained interesting knowledge related to the Flag Raising Ceremony culture here. The daily flag raising ceremony also reminds me of our students lives where every week we had to gather in front of the flag pole and sang the national anthem.

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The time we were in Beijing happened to be the same time US President Trump was there, and the City was colorfully decorated with many Chinese and American flags.


That evening we were treated to a very traditional local cuisine which has become rare in the fast-paced culinary world in Beijing.

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When travelling in Asia, I always delight in eating the food from the street vendors such as fresh coconut drink, sugar cane juice, roasted chestnuts, deep fried banana, bingtanhulu on skewers 冰糖葫蘆 –sour hawthorn coated in crystallized sugar.


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Eating food prepared by street vendors is like ordering food from a food truck. Almost every mouthful tastes delicious and finger-linking-good.

And my old time favourite —

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sweet potatoes broiled over hot charcoal — was not to be missed, especially on this chilling cold day.

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Once I paid for my share, I couldn’t wait to have a quick bite of this tender and temperature hot treat…

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that I ended up with a blister in my mouth instantly — ouch!

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