The Mongolian pot

The Mongolian pot is the culinary event that marked our first day in Beijing, we still look back … with disgust.

Harassed our first day marathon, we wanted a place where we ask to restore us a little while continuing the optical discovery of the trip. Who refuse certain restaurant / greasy spoon on criteria rather random, we finished, great adventurers that we are, in a pot of Mongolian restaurant.
Of course the servers are fun to see land two laowai wholesale jackets winter … It gives us the menu, and there big moment of solitude (yes it happens sometimes) there are tons of stuff and I do not know what to take how we eat a Mongolian pot??

Once the machine made ​​and placed in the hole in the middle of the table, I understand that it will boil stuff, then it starts with Sandrine, potatoes, mushroom-shaped chicken thighs some meat and noodles, the Snitch short, anything that pif obviously risky when we hear the servers laugh … moment of solitude, when you hold us …

The most legendary it was when we made ​​the sauce, something foul (which I learned that it was made ​​from plums) I surreptitiously left behind … Everything was super expensive, not really feeding and stay soft … not good at all …

So things will happen, better to avoid restaurants that display a Mongolian pot on their brand, or go with someone who knows, because with me, or you may regret it …

Instant noodle

And yes, freshly arrived in Shanghai, we started early in the morning to visit Tian’anmen Square and the Forbidden City, and after covering the major part of the site, we were delighted, once arrived in the gardens, to find some kind of grocery instant noodles all served hot …
For instant noodles in China is like ham and butter in France: they are everywhere, it’s cheap and not bad in general
Good by cons to eat while walking, it is less obvious …

In grocery stores as there was in the Forbidden City, you can find tables, but at peak times, it is better to look elsewhere to find where to ask. Good for us, the sun shines just so it will be tasting the fresh outdoors with a bunch of other tourists hungry: modernity, even on ancient sites, it is good to warm

Temple of Heaven , a symbol!!

Continuation of the visit with the “Imperial Vault of Heaven.” Here it is interesting, it is not really the rooms to visit, but the secrets contained in the enclosure.
Both sides of the fence, 2 bathrooms symmetric diametrically opposed, and it would seem that if two people are placed behind each room and one speaks in a normal voice, the other distinctly hear. We were not tried too many tourists there already strove, and shouting

Another trick: multiple echoes of three large rectangular slabs forming the axis of the enclosure. When claps his hands on one gives a single echo, double the next triple in the last … too loud, especially to see all these people kneeling, the ear on the pavement to check something
For in fact, the entire Temple of Heaven was built around symbolic.

The first of these is true in the geometry of the temple. The park has a square base with the image of the Earth, and monuments, above, are therefore the image of Heaven: round, as it was imagined at the time (1420).

Another great symbolic of the number 9, a symbol of longevity homophony. The park is 270 ha (9 × 30), the steps leading to the rooms are always number 9. 1420, year of construction of the palace is also the 18th (9 × 2) of the reign of the emperor was the head of the Empire. We finally found the most extreme form of this symbolic altar of Heaven.
The Altar of Heaven, large circular ceremonial, is indeed surrounded by 360 (9 × 40) marble balusters and floor is made of 81 tiles (in slabs 9 of 9 rings each) marble … and guess what, the ceremonial pronounced that it was composed of nine sentences …

After such brain activity to verify the legends mathematics governing Chinese historical sites, nothing beats a little … a great … a great walk in the park of the Temple of Heaven, with the key, a small souvenir photo with an unknown Chinese who specifically requested that I am on his photo, bah if you can please

The Temple of Heaven

after the hunt of the day to join the Summer Palace, today we set sail on a site much closer to the center but not really less, the Temple of Heaven welcomes us …

The day before, we indeed have felt the bus system in Beijing (I’ll talk …) throughout the city from south to north, to join a Summer Palace which deserves the shot that day , we thought we had the right to test another means of transport: taxi
Hop in less time than it takes to say (10 minutes anyway), we are returned to the Temple of Heaven (Tiantan), which is located just south of Beijing Railway Station finally brought this course measures Capital

The Temple of Heaven in fact covers a huge park (twice the surface of the Forbidden City) and all the monuments. Thus, like many sites to visit, it will take TICKET THROUGH, understanding that gives access to the whole site.

Just arrived, we seek and find the famous rotunda we spotted our guides, it was imperative that we too can make beautiful cards … But just arrived, we are disappointed … For approaching the monument, we discover, frightened! that it is under renovation and covered with scaffolding disfigure! Farewell cards …
We circumvent anyway, and there we find that the Chinese also understand the rules of tourism: a third of the surface of the monument is completely clear, we are reassured and train strafing

For if he had really been a shame not to bring back beautiful pictures of this room so special, first by its circular shape “equilibrium and harmony” after our Backpacker, especially with the triple blue roof , which radically changes the yellow roofs usually encountered on other monuments of Beijing.

The harmony palace

Past the gate of Supreme Harmony, here we are in front of the palace of the same name. We already reports of the vastness and the rigorous symmetry places.

With the Palace of Supreme Harmony (Taihe Dian), we find the elements that are characteristic and recurring palaces of the Forbidden City. Everywhere these same red walls, these rooftops yellow gold this entry background blond showing the name of the palace, and the crowd of tourists who congregate at the entrances of the palace to try to see and even take pictures for the more adventurous, the interior of the palace in which it is impossible to penetrate.

Illustration of the crowd around the palace …
Here, it seems to me that this was the worst, outside the Palace of Earthly Tranquility, where there is the bedroom of the Empress in the Ming, which will subsequently the bridal chamber of the emperors.

We then decided not to approach us. By cons, bypassing the palace on the right, we followed the custom of touching recommends (handfuls attention:]) bronze statue (?) Which obviously must be lucky to believe by the number of Chinese caressed the statue.
But just be carried away by the movement of visitors and traditional music can be heard in places to finger the soul of the Forbidden City. No no, this is not a CD that you hear, but this old violin player who plays Chinese in his corner.

If the doors that separate courses and palaces are unfortunately often invaded by “the merchants of the temple” (which you propose to put in such regalia …), we have fallen in love with the red enfilades speaker and small during which we see the golden yellow roofs stand out against the blue sky in Beijing.

Very good prospects on the roofs of temples …

But … colossal works, including the famous Ming marble slab carved with nine dragons with a pearl in the mouth, swaying between clouds, waves and cliffs.

If only for the story to move the 17 m and 25 tons of this sculpture which now attract many eyes, it took 28 days and a tip ingenious slab was transported on an ice rink, marked hundreds of wells to water the track and make it slippery with frost, wicked;]

Not to mention the imperial gardens, where we made our break snacks, instant noodles or rather;]

The opportunity to discover strange houses towering over stones with strange shapes …


Another detour through the various rooms that contain objects of life of Emperor Puyi, Chinese emperor of the 20th century very open to Western culture, this will be the only rooms where we could enter.

And we take the north exit of the Forbidden City, we understand clearly now the other name of Purple City. But the visit is not for all over …

To conclude the visit to the Forbidden City in style, I recommend you (when the sky is clear) to cross the street and take your ticket to the Jingshan Park, the Coal Hill, just opposite. The park has little value in itself, except for the brave will rise to the top and can see the last time the Forbidden City, panoramic version …

Beijing again :-)

There he must learn to navigate through the different queues:

The first to go is the one to buy his ticket, a 40 yuan per person.
Then the second queue, the audio-guide: with Sandrine, we say that there is surely a lot of interesting things to know about the places, then we pay 40 yuan rental (plus a deposit ). Note that good tourists, we first sent to stop audio guide, but it was actually faster to go directly to the people near the large wooden table where you decrepit glue directly on the audio guide ears with the nice lady at the boiboite already starting to chat while you are gently pushed to the third queue …
Which … will finally return, once, of course, we have taken care to tear the right side of your ticket.

Finally here it is, here we are. It should be about 10am and we can only see that there is in the world. We will have to face crowds of Chinese and other tourists from around the world to approach the various palaces that we will discover.

THe forbidden city

Next logical step in our first day marathon in Beijing after Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City!

The Forbidden City was the residence of Chinese emperors (and their concubines and children, and empress dowagers), we dealt with the business of the Court, celebrated the grand ceremonies: it constitutait and the center of political power, and even the center of the world after the Chinese philosophy …
Before you show more, some figures of history the scene.

The Forbidden City is:

14 years of construction, 1407-1420
200,000 workers
960 m in length
750 m wide
12 million bricks for paving
9000 rooms
up to 20,000 eunuchs (staff) of the Ming

Here is where I had left from Tian’anmen Square. This is the southern entrance of the Forbidden City, clearly identifiable by the portrait of Mao that easy to spot from afar …

We distinguish here the 5 inputs that lead to the city, but I could not tell you what’s behind because with Sandrine, we passed by a kind of park to the right of this entry, “park culture people “or something like that …

The fact is that we borrow this entry (very busy …) or side roads through the park beside it ends up the real entrance to the Forbidden City, which happens to be the Gate du Midi, Wumen.

Beijing Theatre

And … we begin by finding all musicians, no more than 5 or 6 after my memories, arranged in an arc each occupied with his typical Chinese instrument and no conductor. Then they move to a hidden end scene where they remained until the end of the show.
Representation itself actually degrades into several tables, independent of each other, probably to allow tourists come here to see a condensed version of a sample large enough that the Peking Opera offers.

Singing a goddess of the mountain, fighting a duel and jokes pass between an innkeeper other before our eyes. Our ears rather difficult to bear elk voice of the goddess of the mountain, whose movements we have yet colorful ribbons happy, and we will époustouflées by fighting acrobatic executed in time with the music and jerky special Peking Opera.

What artists sing … we did not understand anything …

Of course the songs were in Chinese, but more importantly, the sounds were modulated as they can be in our Western operas, making it impossible to distinguish phonemes possible that I could recognize.

While we had the screens for subtitles. But we have just used, perhaps simply because the visual speak for itself. While many subtleties have escaped us, but we enjoyed representation in our own way …

Thus, if only by intellectual curiosity or interest in Chinese culture, I think it’s worth seeing at least once (if you can of course) Peking Opera. After, like everything that is suggestive of more in art, love it or do not.

I was not a fan of music, but I applauded the acrobatic and theatrical performance.

I miss you Beijing

This Saturday night so we were the only two people in the hotel had booked for the show. We are led taxi with the girl service booking: Liyuan Theatre is actually on the ground floor of a hotel in downtown Beijing. Time for our guide to get our tickets and give us money for the taxi back and the little card “Take me to this address, blah blah blah” (like we are not heading to fend for themselves ….) , we are installed in the theater.

Hostesses try to sell us several times audio systems to monitor performance in English, but we refuse, wanting enjoy the show.

– From my side more, I had the immense joy of having to close a user of these systems that made me enjoy his translation as the volume was high … so if you want a board simultaneous translation, do not buy but ask your neighbors up the volume –
Also before the start of representation, we could attend the makeup artists in the room that adjoined the theater.

We then discover the transformation that occurs on their faces. Everyone disguises himself before a small table mirror, brush in hand, a dash of red to it, a task white one …

Actions seem to follow a ritual that we dare not disturb, even if the artists remain impassive face strafing photographic tourists
Back to our seats, more than a few minutes before curtain. We note in front of us a table type restaurant table with what it takes to munch during the show. And yes, it is a Chinese habits, theater, during performances (which can be long do not forget …) we eat together around a good table.

And gradually as the room fills, we see different groups sit around these tables and get to know them. More user friendly than the popcorn itself before a large screen

But already the room darkens, the screens that display subtitles starting to panic over again, the moment is now, the curtain will open …

Beijing memories

Upon arriving, we first Noticed the Museum of the Revolution, Where We received our first invitation and Declined to an “exhibition of fine arts student.” It est aussi the entrance to the museum you can read the countdown of the Time Remaining before the Beijing Olympics 2008. Message of hope or umpteenth means clustering to repress the past?
Having crossed the broad avenue Qianmen, we find Ourselves on the spot.
Opposite the museum is the Palace of the People’s Assembly, Where continuous political history as home to the legislature, and to Sandrine Which Took a break

We aussi Perceive the Monument to the People’s Heroes, a wide obelisk Where We read That “Heroes are Immortal” (Mao Zedong), and behind the mausoleum of Chairman Mao still alive emblem (long tail for the visits That We n ‘oddly not Have the fortitude to face) Communist China of the Mao years in a country now turned to capitalism.
Perhaps the goal more eyes are on the other side of the square. Indeed opposite is the entrance to the Forbidden City. Behind five stone bridges, a huge portrait of Mao Seems to attract the cameras. On Both Sides of the picture, I can read the two entries in our guide translated “Long live the People’s Republic of China” and “Long live the union entre le peoples of the world.” We do not derogate from the rule.

We too take a picture with Comrade Mao, It Has beens aussi not without difficulty … if so look at Any little Carefully Between Sandrine and I



We have here in this market place of history, A FEW minutes in the sun fresh from Beijing to Become aware of what was and what might be, before heading to our next site of discovery: The City prohibited.