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Sunday, April 21, 2013

MUGA Day #27: My Day in Beijing

The big story in China is the 7 magnitude earthquake which struck Sichuan, although the USGS thought it was a 6.6.  More specifically, in Yaan, 161 are confirmed dead, with almost 7000 injured and 1.5 million people affected.  It was just five years ago that nearby Wenchuan suffered from an 8 magnitude temblor, killing nearly 70,000, with 18,000 still missing and 375,000 injured.

Yesterday, I showed TIME magazines ten unusual things to do in Beijing.  The following is the conventional list:

  #1  Tiananmen Square
  #2  Forbidden City
  #3  Temple of Heaven (this one is for good harvest; the one in Seoul is for good hunting)
  $4  Great Wall
  #5  Ming Tombs
  #6  Summer Palace
  #7  Olympic Sites
  #8  Hutong Tours
  #9  Lama Temple
#10  Beijing Roast Duck

Well, I did #10 last night, and been to most of the above, so I'll see what I can find on my day in Beijing.


I decided to go to #6, Summer Palace (right).  The subway station, which looked like it was around the corner from the St. Regis, turned out to be a ten minute walk.  Those Beijing maps are deceptive.  One block can be a mile.  Within a subway station, the walk from one line to another  can be a mile.  However, everything is in Chinese and English, including the announcements, and when you're in the train, you know exactly where you are and where you're going.  The best part is that it costs around 30 cents per trip, anywhere you go, all of 275 miles!  However, the Airport Express will cost you $4.  The 18 line system services 10 million people per day, and is the largest in the world.

I had to transfer, and noticed that a few stops before the Summer Place was the Beijing Zoo, which is five times larger than the Honolulu Zoo.  So, I hopped off, and paid $3 for the entrance fee, although you need to add $5 for the Giant Panda section.  The new (1999) aquarium costs $20 more, but only $10 for anyone 60+.  I was running out of time when I got here, so something to do on my next trip.  Plus I did not carry my passport, which was necessary to get the half price.

Well, here are my zoo photos:



Actually, the gator above is from Australia, but here is a strange one from China:


A griffon and cranes:


A begging bear and two cheetahs (spent a whole safari in Tanzania and Kenya and saw only one):


There was a wide variety of flowering plum trees:


The children were really cute:


I returned to the St Regis to have my free evening drink at the Press Club, and had a chance to meet with Elena from La Jolla:


The Cabernet Sauvignon from China seems to be in giant Riedel glasses, but that's only because of the perspective.  Elena is traveling through China and returns home to La Jolla just to pay her bills so she can fly on to Europe for a Viking river cruise.  I think I convinced her that in the future she should use one of the around the world packages to only fly West.

I then went on to Danieli's, said to be the best Italian restaurant in Beijing.  First came some parmesan with green olives and a glass of Tsingtao beer.  Followed a salad with corn on the cob, Italian tomato soup and wagyu ravioli.


Danieli's has won many awards:


A bit pricey, but the service, ambience and food quality were outstanding.

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1 comment:

John Knowles said...

Amazing wildlife! Clearly, there's so many things that make China so special. Thanks for this wonderful post!