Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Beijing Lightning Trip April 2014 (Day 4 & 5) 

Today is the main event! We go to 白云观 (Baiyun Temple)!

But first, we go to the Temple of Heaven. The last time we were there on the group tour, we did not go to the echo wall or the round mound where the Emperor stands when praying to the Heavens. So I wanted to bring my parents there. 

We checked out of the hotel and left our luggage in the hotel. We walked around the Temple of Heaven park and my mum saw more Peonies! She said that these were really lovely :D I also wanted to bring her into the Forbidden Palace to see the Peonies there if possible but I don't think we can make the time.

When we reached the Echo Wall, people were shouting left and right. You really don't have to shout to get it to work, but I didn't manage to get my mum to hear the echo.. such a shame. Maybe we were a bit far from the wall (there was a fence, and on my first trip there, there didn't seem to be a fence, or we were just doing it all wrong.

After the echo wall, we went to the round mound where there was actually a queue formed up for photos! Amazing! My mum took a shot there lol.

After the Temple of heaven, it's time for  白云观 (Baiyun Temple). On the way to the subway from the Temple of heaven, my mum bought a honeydew slice.. and I realised that Singapore Honeydew is the one that is lousy tasting... cos the one we had in China was tasty like the one in Hokkaido. So it is not the case that the Hokkaido honeydew were extremely tasty (ok lah probably tastier than the China one) but rather the ones we get in SG are just............

The temple is not directly accessible by subway. You have to walk a few KM from the subway to the temple, but well. a little exercise can't hurt! We alighted at 木樨地 (muxidi) station and started walking towards the temple. You get to see so many things along the way really. You also get assaulted by the flying fluff that goes flying all over the place. Feels like a furball is building up in the throat.

We got to the temple and I was amazed at howmuch different it looks as compared to what I remembered of it. I remembered the entrance as a little dingy but I believe that must have been my mistaken memory. There is now a shopping centre of sorts opposite the temple. You can buy a ticket for RMB 10 and you slot it into the automated gantry at the gates. Wow. back when I came here years ago, there was no automated gantry. No guards at the gate. Times have indeed changed.

We spent quite some time in the temple and I am pleased that my mum is pleased. She is happy that after so many years, she has finally arrived at this temple. She is ordained by a Taoist priest of this temple. 白云观 (Baiyun Temple) is of the 全真派 (Quanzhen branch) of Taoism. Sounds really like something that came out of a Chinese Martial Arts novel eh?

After the visit, we went to 王府井步行街 (Wangfujing shopping street) to walk around and have dinner. I, of course had to go and take a photo of the well. I feel obliged to take a photo of the well every time that I ma there and I believe that if I were to go Beijing again and I ended up in Wangfujing again, I would still do that!

After dinner, we went back to the hotel collect our luggage. On the way, we manage dto see the flag lowering ceremony at Tiananmen. The security is crazy. Really. It's fun though! SInce I can't wake for Flag raising.. this is the next best alternative.

After collecting out luggage, we headed to the airport. On the subway, we took the wrong direction (it's a circle line. REAL circle line) but we still managed to get to the airport on time. Checked in, and then went to have a hot drink for my parents... now this is where stuff started to suck. By the time we went to move through customs and all that, we got into a bad jam at the security check. It was really bad. My parents got through before me and I was still stuck. I admit that I should have bulldozed my way through.. but I didn't really wanna do that with customs!! I should have done it though! Anyway it's too late for regrets because in the end, we missed the flight. SUPER SUCKY.

My airfare could be changed with a small fee but I had to buy new tickets fro my parents. BAH.

We flew home the following day on the afternoon flight and we check in and went through customs as soon as we could and there was no jam!! There should logically be more people in the afternoon than at night but... well. I think it's just the way things were meant to be I guess.

Annoyed. Ticked. Spent more than I expected but the good thing was.... I had already taken leave on Thursday so I didn't have to extend my leave. :D The little good things that happen.

0 Adorations

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Beijing Lightning Trip April 2014 (Day 3) 

Only full day of Beijing for my parents! Today we head to Tianjin via the high speed train.

My father wants to go to the 妈祖 (Ma Zu) temple in Tianjin. It's located in the cutural street where all the arts and crafts of Tianjin are on display. Hordes of tourists are here. It just so happened that today is also 妈祖's birthday... I didn't really plan it on purpose but I guess it's good that we're there on that day! We missed the festivties because went on in the morning and we arrived only around lunch.


We also walked around the cultural street a bit but there really isn't anything much to see as we had already visited this place previously on the last group tour to Beijing. It's more like a slowly stroll wherever kind of thing. So after we were done with Tianjin, we took the high speed train back to Beijing.

When we got back to the hotel, I asked for bedsheets and it turned out that they were supposed to make up the tea sofa as a bed..... so they got one of the staff to actually do it up properly. >.<.

No wonder I saw the next door bed was done up quite nicely. grr.

0 Adorations

Monday, April 21, 2014

Beijing Lightning Trip April 2014 (Day 2) 

Lazed around all morning... watched some movies on TV.. just the same as last night. Oh, I watched 十二金钗 last night, it's a movie about the Sino-Japanese war and it's really good! Today, it's 太极张三丰 (The Taiji Master) which is quite apt since I am going to a taoist Temple hahaha. And to add to that, they were showing "Man of Taiji" as well. Overdose much.....

Anyways.... watched TV... walke around a bit... had KFC (with soya bean drink!) and then made my way to the airport. The chicken at KFC was small, but delicious!

Upon reaching the airport, I realised that the time of flight arrival given to me by the tour agency was wrong... so I had to while away another 3 hours of time in the airport. BUMMER....

It' so fun and exciting to be meeting and picking people up at the airport and this is even more so when it's an overseas airport! I did it once last year and I tell you, when I was waving to my friend as she came out of the arrival area, I felt almost like a local in Japan lol. If you can't be it, you gotta fake it!

Nothing much to do today after picking up my parents but to bring them back to the hotel, have dinner and settle in... but oh... that in itself is an adventure!!

Before I had left the hotel that day, I went down to the reception to ask about the hot water because I was almost frozen silly the previous night as the water was merely luke warm and I was freezing. The answer I got from the reception was to let the water run longer... I was like.. at the end of my bath the water was still not hot, so how long did I need to run the water for? They could not give me an answer.... It was not undertil someone who was in ordinary clothes and using the PC at a table to the side asked me fore more details did I feel that some attention was given to my problem. I also told him about the toilet bowl that was getting choked. It was like epicly choked. Really. Almost overflowing. I was told that someone would look at it and so I left the hotel happy.

After returning with my parents, it was discovered that not only was the toilet bowl problem not solved, the water flooded even more than when I left it! I am not sure how that was even possible. Perhaps someone went in to take a look, attempted to flush it and realised they couldn't get the water to recede and thus left it at that.

I went down to reception about this... and ... the guy found me a plunger.

Yay. Thanks. I got a PLUNGER. For the toilet bowl. I was expected to clear the choke myself. He didn't even want to look at the choke. I had to force him to look at the choke and then he ran away. I should really have taken a photo of the choked toilet bowl and the plunger. As proof.

What nonsense, I had to pay around SGD 100 a night for this experiential stay is it? And so, I had no choice but to clear the choke myself. Seriously. The location of the hotel is great. The service? No.

After clearing the choke, I went out with my parents for dinner and they suggested Mac's!! So of course we went to Mac's. The cashier was serving us when the manager asked us to change our orders to takeaway cos they were closing. Sow e were getting kicked out.. and he only gave me like 2 packs of sugar for 3 cups of tea and that was after I asked for more sugar. Haiz. Really. I think the service we get in SG from PRC personnel is heavenly in comparison.

Returned to the hotel and wanted to ask for bedsheets so that I could lay it on the tea sofa and sleep.. cos really, the cushion of the tea sofa was quite dirty and you would be ok to sit on it but not sleep on it. The reception guy (the same one who passed me the plunger) said that the room service staff had left for the day and there were no bedsheets to be had. WHAT NONSENSE AGAIN?

So I removed all the cushion off the friggin tea sofa and slept on the wood. Had to clean off the bottom as well since there were dust and nut bits from long ago..... And of course the aircon was dusty (occ health habits die hard)

I say again. Hyde Hotel Beijing, great location, terrible service. I don't think all the staff are like this, but as along as you have staff like that, it's enough.

0 Adorations

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Beijing Lightning Trip April 2014 (Day 1) 

On my previous trip to Beijing with an organised group tour, my expected half day free and easy (which was the reason why I chose that trip in the first place) evaporated. The person who sold me the tour suggested that I fly via Jetstar for a cheaper price, but the problem was that this meant that when we met at the airport at night, that was already considered the first day of the itinerary. I had specifically asked if flying at night meant that we went one day earlier and the day we arrived in Beijing would be considered day 1 of the itinerary. The person who sold me the package said yes.. but in the end it wasn't so and I lost the half day free and easy time which I wanted so that I could bring my mum to 白云观 (Baiyun Guan) which is a Taoist Temple of long history and great importance in Taoism.

Anyway, my mum wanted to see Peonies, so I booked my parents on a trip by CTC to Shandong and Henan for a trip to see peonies, cherry blossoms and other flowers. And I figured that it would be economical to join them after their trip in Beijing since their flight would transit in Beijing. The idea only popped after I was informed by CTC that they were opening up another flight for the trip which was already full. The original flight goes straight to Shandong.

Anyways, I managed to get everything in order after much struggle, but thankfully quite a few people helped out to make everything go smoothly. I could finally bring my mother to 白云观!! Such excitement!

My flight departs in the morning, so I got myself to the airport in time to check myself into the lounge and grab some breakfast there. Really nothing much to eat in there though, but it's free....... and I spent some time on the massage chair.. hehehehe.

The flight was packed with movies. I believe I had more choices to watch on this Air China flight then I had on KrisWorld. Such a disappointment KrisWorld can be.

Reached Beijing in the afternoon and made my way to the hotel that I had booked. I took the express subway from the airport which costs RMB 25. And then when I got into the city, all rides regardless of distance were RMB 2.  Very cheap and economical way of getting around Beijing. When I first visited Beijing, they had 2 lines. Now, 10 years later, it's around 15! Fares used to cost RMB 3, now it costs RMB 2!! Taxis no longer factor into my plans!

I really recommend using the subway to get around in Beijing. It's quite convenient.

Anyways, 27 RMB and some walking later, I arrived at Hyde Hotel which is located rather near to Tiananmen Square. It's location is really pretty good. I booked a room for 3 people and the price was around SGD 100 per night which I felt was a good price for the location.


As you can see from the photos, there is a double bed and there there is a tea sofa kinda thing that is the third bed... but I don't see myself sleeping on that without bedsheets so I shall sleep on the double bed for the night, since my parents will only be arriving tomorrow!

Tonight I shall feast on Mac's :D Time to be lazy and rot in the room!

0 Adorations

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?