Piran & Family in Beijing

25November
2012

Last night in Beijing

Lunch with Prof. Ding and his family was superb!
We went to a restaurant in the west of Beijing, in a quarter that is mostly frequented by the military.
The restaurant mainly serves Kantonese-style food but with a twist: The chef has lived in France for several years and modified the dishes slightly to be more appealing to Westerner’s tastes. He definitely succeeded! I was thrilled! It was an amusement park for the taste buds.
Prof. Ding ordered several dishes that we all shared and so we dined on pork, fish, goose, pancakes, salad, beef, shrimps... *sigh* It was food heaven.

Prof. Ding's father speaks English and French and told us a little about his life: He studied at a Jesuit's college here in China in the 1930s and learned French that way. Later he went to university and became a translator.
In 1953 he and his wife went to Europe by train (from Beijing to Prague) and they visited several European countries.
Sadly we didn't have time to hear more about all that.
I really hope we can visit Prof. Ding and his family again one day in the future.

Justus and I took a nice little nap and then we went shopping in the afternoon.
After having been VERY disappointed by the Silk Street Market yesterday (if I can haggle down to one tenth of the starting price something is wrong and it is annoying as hell) we tried a shopping center that Prof. Ding had recommended near Fuchengmen station. That was a lot nicer, no people screaming at us, no people tugging at our clothes, no extreme prices.
We'll go there again tomorrow. But first we'll pack our stuff so that we know exactly how much more we can take with us.
And then, in the evening, we're off to the airport and on our way back to Germany.

 

Justus getting his first hair cut

In the park

Streetlife

23November
2012

Another long day ends...

I wish I had something creative or surprising to write but we're still just enjoying our time here in Beijing.

We explored some more and found another temple nearby but this one is huge. And we had it all for ourselves (nearly), there were maybe three other visitors on the whole areal. I'll post some photos when the internet is better again.

On Sunday we'll eat with Prof. Ding and his family. Prof. Ding studied in Germany for a few years and now teaches German law here in Beijing.
He invited us to his place to eat with him and his family wife and daughter), but there was a change of plans and his parents will all so join us and we'll eat in a restaurant. I'm very much looking forward to that, I'm sure it will be an exciting dinner and I'm also very curious to see what kind of restaurant Prof. Ding will choose. As usually all the food is great here I was quite disappointed with the restaurants we tried today and yesterday, and I hope for another pleasant surprise on Sunday.

Justus also likes the food here a lot, especially the thick noodles.

In the afternoon we did some more shopping and got some high-quality green tea for Felix.

21November
2012

Enjoying Beijing

We told the staff of our hostel that our room was smelly and they fixed it right away (a problem with the plumbing in the bathroom).
That's an experience we made here in China several times: If you manage to convey what the problem is, it will be fixed. In some way. Maybe not how you think it would be fixed but fixed nevertheless.

Our hostel:

All bundled up and ready to go!

On the bus:

Today we discovered a Buddhist temple near here and went to explore it. Such a beautiful and serene place!


Later we met Agnes and went souvenir shopping in a more crowded and tourist-y part of town. We've been to that part of town before and ate in a tiny and dirty-looking restaurant in a back alley. The food was wonderful! Definitely among the best food we had in China so far!
When we walk the bigger streets where many China tourists roam we have to keep in mind not to stop for window shopping. Because if we do we'll have a mass of Chinese people around us within a minute taking pictures of Justus, wanting to touch his hands and pinch his cheeks when he's in the stroller or they want to hold him if he's not.
That's really stressful.
(Only a small crowd in this picture)



Justus is getting at least three new teeth that I can see, but he's still being quite easy-going. Tough little guy.
AND: Today he made his first unassisted steps!


Some random pictures:
Evening stroll at the edge of the Forbidden City



Strange playing cards

20November
2012

Beijing City Area

Our transfer to Beijing went smoothly and we're now staying in a charming although smelly courtyard hotel. (I'll upload photos soon.)

I'm feeling a lot better but Felix got a cold. :-(

Using the Beijing subway with a stroller is tedious as elevators are difficult to find, the stroller only fits through the wheelchair gate (and that usually only opens in one drection which is out), and in the evening we couldn't fit in the trains because they were too full. So we're using the bus now which is actually very nice because we see a lot more this way.

We currently just randomly explore the city and enjoy what we find and see.

18November
2012

Blegh!

Not feeling much better today so I stayed in the hotel room drinking my electrolytes and taking my pills.

The hotel is pretty busy today - it's Sunday the 18th. Every date with an 8 and without a 4 is considered lucky and a Sunday is good day to marry as many people don't have to work, so we have at least three weddings here at the hotel at the moment.

Tomorrow we'll move to a courtyard hotel in Beijing (we're in Changping right now) if everything works according to plan.

17November
2012

Not much to say...

The internet here is currently errratic at best, not working at worst.

Felix finished his lessions and slept in today.
I tried the food at our hotel yesterday, and today I'm sick with diarhea and foul smelling belching. Bah! I hope I'll be OK again tomorrow so that we can do some sight seeing.


15November
2012

Travel Details

By popular request I tell a little more about our journey to China:

We took the plane from Hamburg to Dubai. The plane was pretty empty with only about a quarter of the seats occupied and we were asked if we wanted to have a whole row for the three of us as that might be more comfortable with a small child. And they were right. The seats we had before were in the bulk head and there you cannot put up the arm rests. Now that we had a row further back we could put up the arm rests, and Justus could crawl and play on the seats between Felix and me.
Justus sucked on his bottle during take off and seemed content. The crew brought us a little back pack for him with a Dr. Seuss book and some baby utensils (a plastic bag for used diapers, a napkin, lotion, wet wipes...) and they also gave him a blanket with a plush toy - a little monster! So cute! They had pureed bananas and pureed vegetable in glasses as baby food on board and we were told thar they would heat it up whenever we needed it. I mentioned that Justus really likes bananas and they even brought him a ripe banana from the first class compartment!
Justus was happy, played on the seats tried the drawing program on the touch screen, walked (with help) up and down the aisle and slept for about 30 minutes.
When we landed in Dubai he laughed and giggled during decent.

In Dubai we spent four hours. It was good to be able to strrecht our legs, eat (we were given a meal voucher) and just move around a bit. Justus waved and greeted all the people that we passed and stayed awake the whole time.

We then got on our plane to Beijing, and he fell asleep as soon as we had started. (And he got another blanket with a different but equally cute monster!) Felix also managed to sleep but I couldn't. We were sitting in front of a wall on the right side of the airplane and the curtain that divided the passenger room from the kitchen was really close to me. Whenever it opened the light shone directly in my eyes and often people didn't close it properly. As Justus was tied to my lap I couldn't get up and close it either. :K
I played some "Bewelled 2" on the board computer with one hand.
After about four hours Justus and Felix woke up, we got something to eat and landed in Beijing.
So that's how we got to China.
The university's driver picked us up at the airport and brought us to our hotel.
I'd say that the biggest challenge has been to change diapers in an airplane toilet.


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Random pictures of some interesting Chinese shops (because I like to post pictures):

 

14November
2012

Parks and People

Justus kept us awake for three hours last night. And then he was grumpy when he had to get up in the morning.

While Felix was at the university preparing his lessons Justus and I wandered around, went to a park and two playgrounds.
We saw amazing paper kites shaped like birds, traditional Chinese spinning tops and even had some contact  with the people on the play ground. I can now say "He's one year old" and "It's a boy" in Chinese, and I also got to know that Chinese grandmothers don't approve of Justus playing on the ground, don't think his shoes are warm enough and are sure that the pacifier (which we rarely use!) will make him have crooked teeth.

13November
2012

Sleepless in Beijing

We're in China!

The trip went actually pretty well, Justus managed everything without problems, and nearly didn't cry at all.
Until now. It's night here in China and it would also be his bedtime in Germany but he just doesn't want to sleep. (And he didn't sleep that much on the plane either.)
He's not hungry, not thirsty, not uncomfortable - he's just awake.

*sigh*

Well, here are some first impressions of our first evening. After doing some essential shopping at the supermarket, we ate at a noodle restaurant and passed a little night market on our way back to the hotel:

 

11November
2012

Off to bed...

Will try to sleep now. Nearly everything is packed, our flight goes tomorrow.

Next blog post from Beijing!

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