Monday, October 22, 2012

Tienanmen Square - 2012

A trip to Beijing would not be complete without a visit to Tienanmen Square.  A very historical place due to the massacre that happened there in 1989.  You can read about it at, Wikipedi_Tiananmen_Square_protests_of_1989.  The conclusion to this event was don't mess with the Chinese government or you could die.  The media in China was very quiet about the event and it wasn't until recently that even the Chinese citizens learned the people died during the protest, some say as much as a few thousand.  
Caomei with her 10 RMB hat on.  The square to
the left and that's Forbidden City way in the

I've now take two trips to the square.  The first was in January when it was empty and the second during the autumn holiday when it was full.  In fact, I tried to go for a run on National day and at about 15 minutes past sunrise, I could hardly walk towards the square due to the 1,000s of people walking my way.  Some kind of flag raising ceremony at sunrise.  

But in the square you can see Chairman Mau in the mosuleum, you can see the flag, we say a massive pot of flowers and you can see massive amounts of people (in October).

Here was the Square in the winter.

Those red signs are screens showing scenes from China.

Here's a similar view during the October holiday.  It was ugly!!

There was a beautiful vase
of live flowers
spilling over the sides.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Running a Race in Shanghai (JP Morgan Challenge)

This is in the starting line pointing back.  The runners went for about 500 meters or more.
There are firsts of many things each week.  This last week was our first running race in Shanghai.  Both tai tai and I hope to run more races in the future but this was quite the experience.  The best way to describe it was like running through a crowded subway or airport since you are about to miss your plane.  The race was like this because the organizers didn't place the runners in order of their expected finishing time.  This wouldn't have been so bad if all the racers were running but many were not in the race to run, they were there to walk.  So the speed demons, not me in that group, were 1,000 people back in the pack and there were 4-5 wide walkers crowding their way.

This was looking to the front.  The starting 300 meters was up over a bridge.
It was the only incline in the whole race.
It took about 0.5 km to get going and start the serious dodging.

Other than that, the race was well organized for 6,500 people.  They had music, some energetic aerobics instructors leading stretching before the gun and the race course was nicely laid out.  The distance was 3.5 miles or 5-point-something kilometers.  Only companies were allowed to register so we had about 15 runners on our JV team.  GE, GM, JP Morgan, Eaton and many others were represented quite well.

Some guys I ran with.  
This was after the race.  We were given a nice shirt, some water and gatorade.
It was a gorgeous day for the race.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Simply China - I

This entry is a hodge-podge of photos that don't fit into a theme but are interesting, at least interesting to the author.  

A banana protector.  Amazingly it works very well.  Maybe they have these
in America but this guy hasn't seen one...or be caught using one.

We visited a Pearl market where they allowed us to select a fresh water pearl.
Each of us made a guess at how many pearls were in the one we selected.  Baba won with '8' in one oyster!

Yangmei in a Hutong kitchen.  A hutong is the community-housing in China.
She looks very comfortable with that pot.

The boys in a taxi.  With 7 of us in Beijing we had to get two taxis everywhere.
No seatbelts in the majority of the taxis...

Caomei.  This is what they do when there is nothing on TV.
There are some benefits of having only 12 channels!

Grandma in our dining room.  Those are moon cakes on the table and cheap beer.
That liter bottle is about 50 cents.

The moon cakes are a little like a fruit cake but there are all types of flavors.
These were a company gift.

Yugege loves his local hat.

Local teenager posing stylishly in her Chinese garb on the great wall.
She flashed the peace sign  afterward, which would have also been a fun photo...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Chinese Touch Rugby

Yugege is an athlete so he has played many sports in his short 10 year life.  But playing rugby was never something that Baba would ever think he would see his son doing.  Rugby is one sport that most Americans just don't understand, me included.  Just like many non-American don't understand American Football, Rugby has some rules that are just not obvious.  Touch-rugby is even a little more challenging to understand.

A horrible rainy day.  Team practice before the match.
 The rules as I picked up were the following:
- Single touch is a tackle
- After a tackle the other team has to give them 5 meters to start the next play.
- You start the next play by rolling the ball backwards with your foot to the initial passer.
- You have to lateral the ball to others on your team
- If you don't lateral then you turn is over
- If you drop the ball then you turn is over.

- You get 6 tries to move the ball down the field and get the ball into the 'endzone'.
- A score is called a "try".
- If you don't get a try after 6 'plays' then the other team gets the ball.

The games were at the Concordia field.

Here is a play were the player is running straight with the ball.

Yugege is No. 4.  He is lateraling it to No. 10.

Yugege is lateraling again.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ying's at the Summer Palace

Summer palace was a getaway location for the Emperor, now it's a tourist destination.  This was part of our trip to Beijing.  

Caomei at the entrance

Baba's Parents

Whole clan at Summer Palace.  

Filled with Lotus plants in the water and temples.

The is a long corridor with ornate paintings over every square centimeter.

Some pagoda on a hill.

Very ornate detail on each pagoda.

A famous cement boat.  I don't think it moves, it's just for show.

We took a dragon boat across the lake with every one else,

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Ying's on the Great Wall

There are two holidays in China that allow all citizens to have a full week off from work and school.  These holidays are the mid-autumn festival and the China national day.  Mid-autumn festival is a fall lunar festival and the national day represents the day that China became the People's Republic of China from Chairman Mao in 1969.  

Baba's parents arrived on the Thursday before the holiday week and two days later were on a fast-train to Beijing (5 hours and $85).  The activities in Beijing included:
The Great Wall of China;
The Summer Palace;
The Bird's Nest and The Cube (Beijing Olympics);
The antique market;
The pearl market;
The hutongs (old homes);
The Forbidden City;
Tianemen Square; and
The City Wall museum.

I'll add more photos from the other sites but this entry will be about the Great Wall trip.  We went to the location of Mutianyu, which is about 1.5 hours away from Beijing and is known to be much less crowded than the closer points.  It was a beautiful day but the stairs were too much for my mom.  

Chairlift to the wall

The Wall travelers.  The Yings with Baba's parents.

They start you coming down the wall stairs.

We agreed that the Great Wall of China would be better named the 'Great Stairs of China'.
Then they have you go up this very steep sloping stairs.  Grandma had to pause after this climb area.  The rest of us went to the end of the restored area.  

A look back from the highest point.

Yangmei, Yu gege, Yanyuan and Caomei.

This is Mongolia.  Yuyuan and I had to trek into Mongolia (off the wall) without a passport to go take a pee.  We learned that Mongolian bathrooms are really smelly...

These were the steep stairs behind them.

This slide was the way down the hill!  It was great fun.

Here is the token picture with the toothless Mongolians.  For $3, it was worth it.