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

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

Morning exercises

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

Catering students posing for a photograph

(Picture: )

A path off the main quadrangle at the school

(Picture: )

Students learning Japanese

(Picture: )

Some Oxley High students playing basketball with some local students

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

Their acrobatic skills were impressive, too.

(Picture: )

Some female students performing a traditional dance

(Picture: )

Another view of the same dance

(Picture: )

A traditional umbrella-twirling dance

(Picture: )

These girls were very good at this particular dance

(Picture: )

A song to locally-provided music

(Picture: )

A peacock dance performed to some graceful, Chinese, music

(Picture: )

They were twirling quite fast at one stage

(Picture: )

Close-up of the girls’ head-dresses

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

Statue outside the Worker’s Stadium Number 2

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

Workers spinning silk at the Silk Monopoly Store

(Picture: )

Chinese worker weaving something out of silk

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

Performers getting ready before the show

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

The English translations were as entertaining as the performance at times

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

Another amusing translation

(Picture: )

Ren Tanghui still “searching about it” in the dark

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

Ren and Liu still looking for each other in the dark

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

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

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

(Picture: )

Entrance to the Temple of Heaven

(Picture: )

The main gate to the Temple of Heaven

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

Looking back at the main gate

(Picture: )

View from on top of the round altar

(Picture: )

A view of the gates and buildings ahead

(Picture: )

The temple grounds are popular places to practise Tai Chi

(Picture: )

A wooden cabinet inside one of the buildings

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

Detail of a roof corner

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

A large pot of flowers along the way

(Picture: )

The well-kept lawns to the side along the way

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests

(Picture: )

Close-up of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests

(Picture: )

Me in front of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests

(Picture: )

A bronze pot outside the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

Lunch in a traditional restaurant at the China Resources Building

(Picture: )

The waitresses wear traditional dress

(Picture: )

… and traditional high-heels!

(Picture: )

A build at the Llama Temple (Yonghe Gong)

(Picture: )

A pleasant view inside the Llama Temple

(Picture: )

A bronze sculpture at the Llama Temple

(Picture: )

Detail of a building off to the side

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

Block of marble with inscriptions outside the main hall

(Picture: )

View of the street & sky outside the Llama Temple

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

The number of roast ducks served since 1864

(Picture: )

Decorative dragons hanging in the centre of the restaurant

(Picture: )

Our chef getting ready to carve the duck for our table

(Picture: )

Slicing the duck

(Picture: )

Our table

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

Another view of the dragons in the centre

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

Two Chefs having a chat whilst cooking roast duck

(Picture: )

Entrance to the Forbidden City at night

(Picture: )

The centre of Tiananmen Square at night

(Picture: )

Wangfujing Subway Station

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

A subway train approaching the platform

(Picture: )

The subway train coming to a stop

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

Looking in the opposite direction

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

(Picture: )

The Giant Pandas at the Beijing Zoo

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

Close-up of a Panda eating bamboo

(Picture: )

More of the same…

(Picture: )

A Little Red Panda running around

(Picture: )

What’s that Little Red Panda doing?

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

Ducks swimming in one of the lakes

(Picture: )

View of the other side of one of the lakes

(Picture: )

A Polar Bear climbing on top of some rocks

(Picture: )

Another Polar Bear resting

(Picture: )

Another lake on the way back from the Polar Bear enclosure

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

A dragon statue in the first courtyard to the Summer Palace

(Picture: )

A bed of peonies along a walkway off the main courtyard

(Picture: )

View of an impressive, octagonal, building across the lake

(Picture: )

A bridge linking a small island in the lake

(Picture: )

Entrance to an imperial bedroom in another courtyard

(Picture: )

Picturesque roof-top view from one of the courtyards

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

Detail of another doorway

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

View from beneath the large octagonal building

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

Detail underneath the ceiling above the emperor’s throne area

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

Detail of the ceiling directly the emperor’s throne

(Picture: )

Another view looking up at the octagonal building

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

Ron always made friends with the girls!

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

Another view of the marble boat

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

View of the octagonal building from the pontoon on the lake

(Picture: )

Another island in the middle of the lake

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

A view of the octagonal building off in the distance

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

Adding the many layers of special paint

(Picture: )

Firing the cloisonne vases

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

In front of the Chaoyang Theatre

(Picture: )

The empty stage, before the performance

(Picture: )

Chinese girls twirling rugs in mid-air

(Picture: )

Chinese Lion and various performers in balancing acts

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

Again, just after they had performed an amazing somersault!

(Picture: )

My trigger finger got a little better for this one!

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

Balancing before flicking one of the plates

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

Girls twirling discs on the end of bendy-rods

(Picture: )

Twirling discs in a stack

(Picture: )

Variations on a theme

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

The highlight of the evening…

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

Extreme close-up!

(Picture: )

Jumping through the top ring and each other!

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

About to jump through the middle ring.

(Picture: )

A backward somersault through the top ring!

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

Two troupes of girls riding together in circles

(Picture: )

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

(Picture: )

Riding in circles standing on top of their bicycles

(Picture: )

What a finale!

(Picture: )

The End :-(

Beijing 2002 – Day 3: The Great Wall, “Pub Street”, City at Night

(Picture: )

Toll gate on the Badaling Express Way on the way to the Great Wall

(Picture: )

Getting close to the Great Wall

(Picture: )

The bottom of the Great Wall at Badaling

(Picture: )

There are a lot of steps along the way!

(Picture: )

View of the Great Wall across the valley from the path I chose

(Picture: )

Upon reaching the top, I found that it kept on going!

(Picture: )

Yet another path I didn’t take – there was plenty of wall to go around

(Picture: )

Me at the Great Wall

(Picture: )

Me standing at another section of the Great Wall

(Picture: )

A view of the wall with a guard tower

(Picture: )

Walking back is just as hard; walking down on a steep slope is very slow going!

(Picture: )

A view of the buildings at the bottom

(Picture: )

One last look at the top

(Picture: )

A view of across the valley from the bottom

(Picture: )

Souvenir stalls at the bottom: be prepared to bargain hard!

(Picture: )

Italian restaurant in “Pub Street” at night

(Picture: )

Waiting at the traffic lights, some children in the car next to us were playing with the electric windows and waving at us

(Picture: )

We asked the taxi to drive around Tiananmen Square on the way home

(Picture: )

Driving past The Great Hall of the People

(Picture: )

The gate at the south end of Tiananmen Square

Beijing 2002 – Day 2: Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, & the Ming Tombs

(Picture: )

Walking along the eastern side of Tiananmen Square

(Picture: )

Walking across the road to Tiananmen Square looking at the Great Hall of the People

(Picture: )

The Great Hall of the People

(Picture: )

Portrait of Sun Yatsen still on display after the national holiday.

(Picture: )

View of the entrance to the Forbidden City from Tiananmen Square

(Picture: )

Me standing at the north end of Tiananmen Square facing south

(Picture: )

The entrance to the Forbidden City

(Picture: )

Closer to the entrance

(Picture: )

Close-up of Mao Zedong’s portrait over the entrance

(Picture: )

The first gate within the Forbidden City walls

(Picture: )

Followed by a courtyard with the Meridian Gate at the north end

(Picture: )

The Gate of Supreme Harmony

(Picture: )

The Hall of Supreme Harmony, looking north

(Picture: )

Close-up of the Hall of Supreme Harmony

(Picture: )

The Imperial Throne inside the Hall of Supreme Harmony

(Picture: )

The Imperial Throne inside the Hall of Supreme Harmony

(Picture: )

A male lion bronze statue in front of one of the many gates

(Picture: )

Bronze statue of a crane with a view of the Dongcheng district in the background

(Picture: )

A building of lesser importance along the eastern side of the Forbidden City

(Picture: )

I think this is the other side of the Hall of Supreme Harmony, looking south west

(Picture: )

The Hall of Medium Harmony, facing north-west

(Picture: )

The Hall of Medium Harmony, facing west

(Picture: )

Inside the Hall of Medium Harmony

(Picture: )

The Hall of Protective Harmony, facing north north west

(Picture: )

Imperial residential quarters, facing north

(Picture: )

Close-up of a roof corner

(Picture: )

Close-up of roof tiles; more animals indicate an important building

(Picture: )

Walkway leading to the Palace of Heavenly Purity to the left (which we didn’t see)

(Picture: )

Walkway leading to officials and servants quarters

(Picture: )

Approaching the entrance to the Ming Tombs

(Picture: )

Chinese national flag flying at the Ming Tombs

(Picture: )

The wording of most of the signs provided some entertainment

(Picture: )

Exiting the Ming Tombs walking up to the tall building on top of the hill

(Picture: )

Stone monument inside the tall building

(Picture: )

The view of other tombs in the distance from the top

(Picture: )

The vendors at the Ming Tombs; once you express your interest in an item it’s very hard to get away!

(Picture: )

The “Spirit Way” on the way to the Ming Tombs

(Picture: )

Me standing next to one of the dozens of statues along the “Spirit Way”

(Picture: )

A large statue of an elephant

(Picture: )

The triumphal arch at the beginning of the “Spirit Way”

(Picture: )

The store at the jade factory

(Picture: )

The Song He Hotel where we stayed

(Picture: )

Wangfujing Street near our hotel, looking north

(Picture: )

Wangfujing Street, looking south

(Picture: )

Karina, Holly, Josh, Natalie, and myself at a Heineken bar near our hotel

(Picture: )

The glass stage at the Heineken bar with bottles underneath

(Picture: )

Making our way home after a night out