Beijing 2002 – Days 8 & 9: Shanghai Airport, Picture of my souvenir haul

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Arrival at Beijing Airport

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Checking our luggage in (mine was the heaviest suitcase, at over 30kg, and I only had 15 Rolexes :-)

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The flashiest airport I’ve been to: Shanghai

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Plasmatron screens were everywhere at Shanghai Airport

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A view over the side of the balcony

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My souvenir haul

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Photo showing one of every denomination Chinese bank note

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Another view of my new Rolex collection

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A side-on view of my precious fake Rolex watch collection :-)

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Beijing 2002 – Day 7: Prince Gong’s Palace, Coal Hill Park, Xiushui “Silk” Markets, Hutong, Silk Rug Factory

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Bicycles in front of Jingshan Park (commonly referred to “Coal Hill Park” in English)

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Flowers just inside the entrance to Jingshan Park

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One of the pavillions at the top of the hill

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View of the Forbidden City from the top

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Close-up of the rear gate to the Forbidden City

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An old man doing what I could never do!

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View of another pavillion along the way

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A view of the northern part of Beijing from the top

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A circular pavillion near the top

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A bird I saw scurrying about behind a bush along the way to the bottom

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A wall with a tiled roof near the bottom

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Leaving Jingshan Park on the way to Beihai (“North Sea”) Park

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Crossing a bridge with a view of the 35 metre tall White Dagoba, containing two of Buddha’s teeth

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View of a roof-top in Beihai Park

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A building near the White Dagoba (which was too large for my lens when I got to the top)

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More roof-tops

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Elderly locals playing music in a garden at Beihai Park

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Entrance to the Xuishui (“Silk Alley”) Markets, where I bought 15 fake Rolex and 3 fake Gucci watches :-)

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After several hundred metres of stalls, there were yet more to be seen in another direction at the back

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A pavillion in the middle of an artificial lake at Prince Gong’s Palace

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A building and walkways at the edge of the lake

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Friendly locals playing games in the street during our pedicab ride through the old hutongs

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People getting from A to B

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Another street in the hutong

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A street-side hair dresser at work

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Another local riding his bicycle

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Locals fixing their bicycles on a street corner

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A bird in a cage at an old lady’s house in the hutong

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The elderly lady (I can’t remember her name) telling us about her house and the history of the hutongs

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Each house in the hutong has its own central courtyard

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Telling us about her house; she had at least two television sets (that I could see)

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One of the bedrooms, off the main living room

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The phone rang while we were there

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These two squirrels were doing laps of the cage every few seconds!

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The main entrance is behind the Chinese lady who is speaking

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Just because you’re on the bus, doesn’t mean you won’t buy something!

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Demonstration of how silk rugs are made. It would take her a year to finish this rug!

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Average price for a rug this size would be at least $5,000 Australian

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More silk rugs

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And more silk rugs. The guide lit a flame against one and it would not burn, either.

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One last trip down Wangfujing Street to catch the subway to Tiananmen Square…

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Buildings along East Chang’an Avenue at the end of Wangfujing Street

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The Great Hall of the People from the other side of Chang’an Avenue

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Tiananmen (the “Gate of Heavenly Peace”), the entrance to the Forbidden City, where Tiananmen Square gets its name

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Decorations still standing after China’s National Day

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Buildings in the other direction on East Chang’an Avenue at the other side of Wangfujing Street

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Fountain at the north end of Tiananmen Square

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Tiananmen and decorations illuminated at night

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Chairman Mao Memorial Hall (left) and the Monument to the People’s Heroes (right)

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Miniature Great Wall in front of the Great Hall of the People

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I didn’t know my camera could do this size, but this is how it was burnt to CD at the camera store! Picture shows decorations with the Museum of Chinese History in the background

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Monument to the People’s Heroes

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Old Beijing Railway station across the road at the south end of Tiananmen Square

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The gate at the south end of Tiananmen Square

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Close-up of the old Beijing Railway Station

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Building opposite the gate at the south end of Tiananmen Square

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Beijing 2002 – Day 6: School for Ethnic Minorities, Silk Factory, Peking Opera at Prince Gong’s Palace

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Students at the Beijing School for Ethnic Minorities at a morning assembly

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Morning exercises

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Morning tea with the principal of the school, with Oxley High’s John Green on the right

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Catering students posing for a photograph

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A path off the main quadrangle at the school

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Students learning Japanese

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Some Oxley High students playing basketball with some local students

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Some students showing off their lion immitations (that’s not smoke, it’s steam from the tea :-)

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Their acrobatic skills were impressive, too.

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Some female students performing a traditional dance

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Another view of the same dance

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A traditional umbrella-twirling dance

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These girls were very good at this particular dance

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A song to locally-provided music

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A peacock dance performed to some graceful, Chinese, music

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They were twirling quite fast at one stage

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Close-up of the girls’ head-dresses

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Students and representatives from Oxley High and the Beijing School for Ethnic Minorities together

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The same group, but with all the rest (except myself and those taking the photos)

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Statue outside the Worker’s Stadium Number 2

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An Aussie restaurant between the Worker’s Stadium and the Silk Monopoly Store

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Workers spinning silk at the Silk Monopoly Store

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Chinese worker weaving something out of silk

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Garden at night at Prince Gong’s palace, where the Peking Opera was performed

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Performers getting ready before the show

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View of the stage and the seats and tables before the crowd arrived

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View of the tables and the more private seating at the back

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Ren Tanghui, sent to protect Jiaozan, a senior officer of the Song Dynasty, from the opera “The Crossroad”

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The English translations were as entertaining as the performance at times

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The inn-keeper seeking out Ren Tanghui, Jiaozan’s protector, in the dark

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Another amusing translation

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Ren Tanghui still “searching about it” in the dark

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Ren and the inn-keeper, Liu Lihua, still looking for each other

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Ren and Liu still looking for each other in the dark

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The only good photo I got of a very funny opera that wasn’t mentioned in the programme

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…it was funny because the “boat” was rocking and the characters kept bobbing up and down

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This opera, “Havoc in Heaven”, had some good fight scenes (this was the only good photo I got)

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Beijing 2002 – Day 5: The Temple of Heaven, China Resources Building Lunch, Llama Temple (Yonghe Gong), & Peking Duck Restaurant

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Entrance to the Temple of Heaven

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The main gate to the Temple of Heaven

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Drawing Chinese characters in water is a popular form of exercise for the elderly.

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The Round Altar, where the Ming and Qing emperors prayed for good harvests

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Looking back at the main gate

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View from on top of the round altar

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A view of the gates and buildings ahead

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The temple grounds are popular places to practise Tai Chi

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A wooden cabinet inside one of the buildings

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A building beside the round echo-wall, so-called because a person talking loudly behind one building can be heard on the other side of the complex

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Detail of a roof corner

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View of the long walk to the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests

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A large pot of flowers along the way

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The well-kept lawns to the side along the way

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Detail of the gate leading to the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests

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The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests

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Close-up of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests

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Me in front of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests

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A bronze pot outside the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests

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A long walkway where locals enjoy knitting, making music, and talking with friends

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Lunch in a traditional restaurant at the China Resources Building

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The waitresses wear traditional dress

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… and traditional high-heels!

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A build at the Llama Temple (Yonghe Gong)

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A pleasant view inside the Llama Temple

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A bronze sculpture at the Llama Temple

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Detail of a building off to the side

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The hall that houses the 18 metre tall Maitreya Buddha carved from a single sandalwood tree (no photographs were allowed)

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A cloud of incense with a roof-top view in the background

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Block of marble with inscriptions outside the main hall

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View of the street & sky outside the Llama Temple

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A discussion about a traffic accident on the way back to the hotel

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Chefs preparing ducks at the Qianmen Quanjude Roast Duck restaurant (built in 1864)

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The number of roast ducks served since 1864

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Decorative dragons hanging in the centre of the restaurant

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Our chef getting ready to carve the duck for our table

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Slicing the duck

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Our table

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The restaurant has seen some important visitors: George Bush Snr and Helmut Kohl

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Yasser Arafat and Fidel Castro enjoying the best Peking Duck on the planet!

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Another view of the dragons in the centre

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The duck-counter isn’t an up-to-the-minute record, apparently

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Two Chefs having a chat whilst cooking roast duck

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Entrance to the Forbidden City at night

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The centre of Tiananmen Square at night

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Wangfujing Subway Station

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Subway station billboards. The Dulux dog is a familiar sight in Beijing, too!

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A subway train approaching the platform

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The subway train coming to a stop

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The view at the end of Wangfujing Street (I think)

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Looking in the opposite direction

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Beijing 2002 – Day 4: Beijing Zoo, The Summer Palace, Cloisonne Factory, & the Chaoyang Theatre Acrobatics Show

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The Giant Pandas at the Beijing Zoo

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They’re like Koalas – they eat all the time!

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Close-up of a Panda eating bamboo

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More of the same…

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A Little Red Panda running around

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What’s that Little Red Panda doing?

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I can’t remember what was in this tree but I remember we were all fascinated at the time

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Ducks swimming in one of the lakes

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View of the other side of one of the lakes

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A Polar Bear climbing on top of some rocks

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Another Polar Bear resting

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Another lake on the way back from the Polar Bear enclosure

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A compact car at the zoo that the locals call “the little turlte”

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Pants with slits at the back are the go if you haven’t been potty-trained yet

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A dragon statue in the first courtyard to the Summer Palace

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A bed of peonies along a walkway off the main courtyard

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View of an impressive, octagonal, building across the lake

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A bridge linking a small island in the lake

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Entrance to an imperial bedroom in another courtyard

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Picturesque roof-top view from one of the courtyards

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Another courtyard view; grassy gardens are very popular in China – they look good, too!

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Detail of another doorway

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Detail beneath the ceiling from one of the rotundas along the edge of the lake

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View from beneath the large octagonal building

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Bronze statues are common-place in front of important entrances in China

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The pontoon ferrying tourists back to the main entrance of the Summer Palace

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The entrance to the building at the foot of the hill below the large, octagonal, building

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The restaurant in the building below the large, octagonal, building

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The entrance to the men’s toilet at the restaurant – flashy, huh?

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I think this is where the emperor’s throne was located during the summer

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A view from beside the emperor’s throne area looking up the hill

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Detail underneath the ceiling above the emperor’s throne area

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Extreme close-up of the detail on the ceiling of a wooden walkway

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Detail of the ceiling directly the emperor’s throne

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Another view looking up at the octagonal building

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Chinese tea ceremony. The best tea I’ve ever had, too!

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Ron always made friends with the girls!

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A marble boat docked at the Summer Palace (the original was destroyed, unfortunately)

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Another view of the marble boat

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View of the front of the marble boat (btw, it’s too heavy to actually leave dock!)

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View of the octagonal building from the pontoon on the lake

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Another island in the middle of the lake

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A bridge joining the island close to the main entrance of the Summer Palace

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A view of the octagonal building off in the distance

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Chinese worker at a cloisonne factory adding detail to some copper pots

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Adding the many layers of special paint

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Firing the cloisonne vases

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The cloisonne shop. This stuff don’t come cheap!

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One of those large vases will set you back around $5,000 Australian!

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I can’t remember the price of the one in the glass cage; let’s just say that I couldn’t afford it!

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Inside the McDonald’s restaurant a few shops down from our hotel

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In front of the Chaoyang Theatre

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The empty stage, before the performance

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Chinese girls twirling rugs in mid-air

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Chinese Lion and various performers in balancing acts

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Men, and men in lion costumes; I usually took the photo just after the good bit :-(

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Again, just after they had performed an amazing somersault!

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My trigger finger got a little better for this one!

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Four men, in two lion costumes, balancing and moving across the stage on a rubber ball

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A boy balancing on a plank of wood and flicking plates onto his head

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Balancing before flicking one of the plates

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A boy balancing on top of a man and flicking plates onto his head

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A boy half way through jumping off the platform held by the balancing man below

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Girls twirling discs on the end of bendy-rods

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Twirling discs in a stack

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Variations on a theme

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This was truly amazing! The girls in mid-air were being spun around and juggled back and forth!

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The highlight of the evening…

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It took quite a run-up to jump and twist through the top ring!

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Extreme close-up!

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Jumping through the top ring and each other!

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You’d be showing off, too, if you were as good as these guys!

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About to jump through the middle ring.

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A backward somersault through the top ring!

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A backward somersault through the fifth, and final, ring!

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Two troupes of girls riding together in circles

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Doing fancier tricks on the bicycles; you don’t see your average Chinese doing this in the street, though!

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Riding in circles standing on top of their bicycles

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What a finale!

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The End :-(

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