R.I.P my little chicken....
Chicken was born and raised in Beijing, China. Although we are unsure of her exact birth date or even if she WAS a 'she', she came into our lives August 2004. She was always very active and lively and loved playing with the other birds we had (two tiny tiny squirrel birds). They both died within the first week of us buying them as they were way too young and should have been with their mummy. Chicken got lonely and so we had to play with her much more. She would follow me everywhere I went..you had to be careful that you didnt step on her! We noticed as she got bigger that she had this huge lump on the side of her neck. We dont know if it was that which killed her, or the fact that it was freezing cold! I was away for the Christmas holidays and Charles rang me one day and told me he had found her outside frozen cold one afternoon! How sad I was to hear this news. She was my little baby, and I only lived to see her first four months. But as Charles said, we probably gave her a better life than if she had been bought by a Chinese person, as they would have already eaten her by that age! I hope my little chicken is with her squirrel friends somewhere in chicken heaven.
Speaking of Spitting
In Singapore you will be fined if you spit in public. But in Beijing, it seems like they will be fined if they dont spit. You will see people, specially the elderly and men, spitting on the street all the time. Im told that the fact they try to drag the thing out of their throat with sound effect like that is a way to get unhealthy thing out of their body. Obviously, they dont care about others....
Fayuan Si - Buddhist Temple
I like to come back to Fayuan Si again and again. I like the quiet and solemn atmosphere, the sound of chanting and drums. Fayuan Si is a lively temple, where some Buddhist monchs live and Buddhist ceremonies are held.
The Fayuansi, one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Beijing, is situated in the Xuanwumen area in the southwest quarter of the city. According to the Shuntian Prefecture Annals, Li Shimin, the second emperor officers and soldiers who lost their lives in battles, built the temple in 645. At the time it was called the Minzhongsi (the Temple in Memory of the Loyal). It was rebuilt in the Zhengtong period (1436-1449) of the Ming Dynasty and renamed the Temple of Exalted Happiness (Chongfusi). Its present name dates from 1734.
Occupying an area of 6,700 square meters, the temple contains a number of fine early cultural relics. The bronze sculptures pf the Four Heavenly Kings (Davarajas) and lions date from the Ming Dynasty, as do the rare gilded figures of the three Buddhas-Vairochana (Piluzhena), Manjusri (Wenshu), and Samantabadra (Puxian). The huge stone urn in the form of a Buddhist alms bowl, which stands on a double base before the Hall of Pure Karma (Jingyetang) rivals the jade urn in the Circular Wall (Tuancheng) in Beihai Park in terms of size and decoration. The sides of the Platform in Memory of the Loyal (Minzhongtai) are inscribed with a cursive rendering of The Ode to the Pagoda by Zhang Shijin in the calligraphy of Su Lingzhi, who lived in the Tang Dynasty. There are also many fine examples of stelae, stone carvings, stone pillars inscribed with Buddhist sutras, plaques inscribed in the calligraphy of emperors and printed Buddhist scriptures, all dating from the Ming and Qing dynasties.
In the past, the temple was famed for its lilac gardens and was also known as the Sea of Fragrant Snow. Each year when the trees came into bloom, the monks would hold vegetarian banquets, which were attended by all the celebrities of the day. Pines from the Tang Dynasty are found in the front courtyard, and cypresses from the Song stand before the drum and bell towers. A gingko reputed to be several hundred years old is growing next to the Sutra Tower (Cangjingge).
a lesson in patience, the silk market
lots of shopping to do in the Silk market. You do need to really bargain hard. get used to hearing that "you are killing me" with your counter prices or that you are getting a special price because you are nice or in our instance because we were aussies. just remember that most stuff are copies and as such don't factor in the original item prices in your barganing. i love shopping and barganing but I must admit I was so sick and tired of the games they play that i came home with much less than i intended on buying because i could not be bothered with finding something i liked and then wasting 20 minutes to get to a semi reasonable price. All you need to do is glance at something and you are instantly grabbed and dragged into their stall, forcing us to walk into the stall to try and grab him back. My son found this quite upsetting as he was constantly picked up or dragged into stalls and held onto as if he was being held captive. He is a seasoned traveller and yet this experience took ages for him to get used to. The silk market has everything that you can imagine , from electronics, clothes, makeup, glasses and of course copy handbags and everything else in between. as an absolute minimum you should expect to pay less than half of the quoted price. At times when we were sick of the games , we settled on a price we were willing to pay, picked up the goods, put them in a bag and lstuffed the money in their hand. I had better things to do than quibble for ages over the price. They never once followed us or demanded more which meant that they still made a very tidy profit.
Getting to Mutianyu Great Wall
According to LP guidebook it seemed a very complicated thing getting by public transport to Mutianyu Great Wall. Neverthless we decided to give it a chance. We got by taxi to Dong Zhi Men coach station in order to find out how. There a local guy called Mr Liang, holding a sign promoting his shuttle service to Great wall stopped us. I was about to ignore him but luckily my travelmate started negotiating the price. I can't recall the price (not too expensive) but thank god we did it. Not only we travelled there in our own pace but also by the time Mutianyu Wall opened to visitors. So we were able to wander around in almost complete serenity.
You will find him towards the Dong Zhi Men coach station in Beijing. His destinations are to any part of great wall and his moni van can host up to 20 persons