Beijing 2012

Work sent me to Beijing for a week, and I got a few hours to see the sights!

Saturday, August 25th, 2012 - Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

1: I got my visa!

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2: Sitting on the tarmac, ready to take flight across the Pacific!

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3: I'm in CHINA!

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4: Starbucks tastes the same in China as it does everywhere else

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5: Dinner on the second night was at a fancy restaurant. No one ordered 'Deep Fried Sweet & Sour Mandarin Fish in Shape of Squirrel', surprisingly.

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6: Most nights I ate from this portion of the menu (or the equivalent).

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7: Justin tries scorpion-onna-stick. They were still very much alive. And quite annoyed at being onna-stick.

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8: Since China is not exactly a vegetarian paradise, I ate very little. The exception was breakfast—the hotel put on a decent spread. Kimchee and dragonfruit every morning!

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10: The team usually met up at night for dinner. This is a traditional Chinese 'hot-pot' meal, with a firey-hot stove in the middle, boiling a ring of water. As you put more and more items in the water (to cook), the water turns into broth. And there were a lot of different items to cook (mostly meat, though). Note the plate of sea-cucumbers under Brian's right arm.

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11: Our hotel!

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12: Kirin, surprisingly, does not just make beer! They also make a remarkably tasty milk-tea beverage.

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13: Woo! Crazy fancy restaurant, at which we ate. The inside was like something out of an ancient Chinese movie--courtyards with flagstones and low stone tables.

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14: We went shopping at the Silk Market

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15: Me, outside the Silk Street market

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16: Obligatory infrastructure picture :)

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17: The tea at the hotel was surprisingly good.

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18: I started off our day of touring with a shot of the bamboo outside our hotel.

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19: Another image of the bamboo stand outside our hotel

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20: As it turns out, taking photos through the US Embassy fence is generally a bad idea. Even if it is an innocent photo of a pretty hibiscus flower. The embassy guards were watching me very closely.

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21: It's me! Tiananmen square is off to camera left.

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22: There were guards everywhere in this part of the city.

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23: And a lot of cameras.

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24: Me and Mao

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25: The entrance to the Forbidden City.

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26: Stone lion just inside the entrance to the Forbidden City.

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27: Movie panning across the first courtyard in the Forbidden City. This place is huge.

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28: Stone lion.

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29: Stone lion again.

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30: He's a network engineer from Seattle. She's a stone lion in the Forbidden City. Together, they fight crime!

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31: Crane statue in the Forbidden City.

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32: Naihanchi bunkai with special application to War Tortoises in the Forbidden City.

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33: Cauldron in the Forbidden City.

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34: Decorative roofline in the Forbidden City.

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35: Bamboo in the Forbidden City

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36: More bamboo in the Forbidden City

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37: Banner over the exit of the Forbidden City.

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38: Decorative roofline, just outside of the Forbidden City.

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39: A lotus blossom floats in a pool on the grounds of Jingshan Park, just north of the Forbidden City.

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40: A groundskeeper's broom rests on a pile of grass-clippings on the grounds of Jingshan Park.

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41: Bamboo on the grounds of Jingshan Park.

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42: View of the north gate to the Forbidden City, from the top of Feng Shui Hill, on the grounds of Jingshan Park.

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43: Movie panning across the Forbidden City from the top of Feng Shui park.

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44: The Forbidden City, from the top of Feng Shui park.

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45: Calligraphy on rock, at the top of Feng Shui Hill.

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46: Calligraphy on rock, at the top of Feng Shui Hill.

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47: A stitch of the two previous photos.

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48: Lantern at the top of Feng Shui Hill.

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49: Decorative stone wall (with a cat in the background!) on the side of Feng Shui Hill.

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50: After descending from Feng Shui Hill, we decided to try to walk back to the subway, which was on the other side of the Forbidden City. We walked along the west side of the City, through a rather pleasant residential district.

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51: This is another shot of the same building and tree

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52: Wider shot, with my iPhone

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53: Self-portrait: I am definitely in China!

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54: Oh, China Unicom, one of these days I'll get you!

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55: Final shot of the Forbidden City (from the southwest corner)

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56: Lanterns in Zhongshan Park

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57: Walking through Zhongshan Park

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58: Hilarious public safety message—note that the cat has been accidentally set on fire!

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59: I am at the Tiananmen Square subway station!

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60: Lanterns along Ghost Street

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61: On the final day, we set out early in the morning to find mooncakes and came across this wise Chinese cat on Ghost Street.

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