How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE

Beijing Part 5



Image Courtesy of Sally Cronin

Temple of Heaven:

The entrance to the Temple is a wide avenue meant for masses of foot traffic. It is clean and well-traveled, not only by foreigners like us but by the Chinese people as well. I did not see wrappers or bottles lying around anywhere.

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Click below for a three-minute video, which explains better than I can. Sorry for the advertisement. The first few seconds will show you the exercise in the park again but keep watching. Those pink feathers the man is tossing with his feet are the Badminton birdie I had referred to earlier.

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The English 8 Group (us) had removed our light jackets. The sun rose higher and the temperature grew warmer, yet around us, young Chinese ladies wore (wool?) leggings under skirts, long sleeved jackets, heavy pants (no jeans) and high heels. I love heels and wear them on occasion, but not in this kind of environment. There were lots of stairs to climb and broken concrete and uneven bricked areas all around. How they walked in those shoes without breaking their necks, and for so far and long, I cannot imagine.

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  • The park area is 660 acres
  • Commoners were not allowed inside its gates until 1918
  • It is a UNESCO World Heritage site
  • All the buildings were refreshed prior to the 2008 Olympics
  • Although the doors remained open, visitors are barred from entering. We fought for a spot to look inside from the blocked doorway but could not make out much.

Forbidden City:

We walked until our feet screamed for mercy. Again washroom locations were uppermost in our minds and where bottled water could be purchased. The following video is an hour and a half long. I cannot remember all the interesting history we learned, but take time to take a peak:

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The bus driver dropped us at the restaurant. The French group followed soon afterward as well as lots of locals. All platters of food were automatically delivered and placed on the large lazy Susan in the center of the table. Choices of one (small) free glass of soft drink, water, or beer were again offered. All the food served was family style. Our plates for eating were smaller than some bread and butter plates at home.

  • French fries (What? Shocked us too)
  • Deep fried, breaded white fish (mild taste)
  • Cooked cauliflower
  • Noodles (tasty)
  • Thinly sliced beef and cucumber platter
  • Beef meatballs with onions and green peppers
  • One large egg pancake (the size of a dinner plate)
  • White rice
  • Soup with ribbons of Nori in it (I didn’t try it)
  • Green tea
  • Peeled oranges, sections pulled apart and arranged on a plate for dessert

Note: Veggies were not plentiful like they are in the Chinese food we order in the West. They appeared to be more for decoration, except for plentiful onions in meat dishes, along with a few slices of green pepper. I ate till my tummy felt happy. I had no complaints about the food.

Tian’anmen Square

We set out on foot as the bus couldn’t bring us closer to the Square. Shortly before entering the grounds, we passed a strip mall across from the Square featuring souvenir shops and the like. Sue asked if we might shop, but Robert shook his head. Not a chance. We had a tight schedule. (Check out the writing on the building, a different spelling again.)

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The Square is so huge, the danger of being trampled during a ceremony or demonstration crossed my mind. The Square accommodates one million people. That’s the size of 90 American football fields. Soldiers still patrol the area,  although they look way too young and of slight build.

  • The monument of the heroes of the revolution is here

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  • The Great Hall of the People (in the background)

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  • The Museum of Chinese History and Revolution. We were there at the wrong time and it was closed. I don’t believe we had been scheduled to visit anyway.

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  • The Mao Zedong Memorial Hall where Mao lies embalmed in a glass case since his death in 1976. We did not go inside the Hall either. This building is at another end of the Square.

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Tsingtao beer was served, the best beer in China we were told. Ernesto ordered a bottle. I had the one small free glass a change from the water I drank all day. Sue preferred pop or water and the rest chose water.

  • Sliced sausage, fungus (think of weird mushrooms) and cucumbers
  • Cooked green salad (leaves of some kind)
  • Rice
  • Chicken with carrots and cucumbers
  • Duck meat with celery
  • Chicken with celery
  • Battered deep fried fish
  • Sesame bread plus onions and peppers (can’t remember what this looked like)
  • Spring rolls (exactly eight)
  • Soup (forgot to write what kind)
  • Watermelon slices for dessert

Offered separately, for which we needed to pay, were special coffees and ice cream. The waitress quoted 20 Yuan for either (about $4.00 Cdn / approx. $3.30 USD). Sue pointed out the prices posted over the ice cream freezer were 3.50 and 5.00 Yuan. Nope. The price was 20 Yuan. Non-negotiable. We must have stuck out like tourists. With money.

Our restaurant had been backed onto a park-like setting with a large pond of stagnant water. It wasn’t clean and had ugly, black and swampy plants growing in it.

We had time to kill before the bus came at 6:30 to drive to the Opera. Some of our group decided on a walk in the park. Sue and I chose to sit and take a load off. We’d done enough walking all day. My feet shrieked and uttered profanities. No wonder—they must have walked 50 miles on our first day out.

Beijing Opera 7:30 p.m.

Before the performance, a demonstration was given on stage of a male performer applying face makeup and donning a costume with a dresser assisting.


This is not an art form I appreciated, although the costumes were colorful and dazzling. One of the men in our group complained he couldn’t even catch a nap.

We arrived at the hotel somewhere between nine and ten o’clock. A jam-packed day three had ended. My brain, over-saturated with information, shut down. Goodnight Beijing. Hello, pillow and bed.

~ *~

Next on February 17th – The Great Wall

© 2017 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

FYI: This is a re-blog of the best parts of my trip in 2014.


Author: Let's CUT the Crap!

I'm getting a little LONG in the tooth and have things to say about---ouch---AGEing. I believe it's certainly a state of mind but sometimes it's nice to hear that you're NORMAL. I enjoy reading by the truckload. I'm a grandma but I don't feel OLD although I'm not so young anymore. My plan is to stick it out as long as I can on this lovely planet and only will leave it kicking and screaming!

60 thoughts on “Beijing Part 5

  1. I can’t read some of your posts without getting hungry. You certainly were well fed on this trip; Photos are amazing Tess, I almost feel like I was there.


    • The food was plentiful and I confess to stuffing myself. Still, I lost weight or toned up a lot because of the miles of walking we did all day for 21 days. I subtracted the two days we used up arriving and leaving. I’m pleasured to have you along for the ride. Glad to hear you find this tour enjoyable. 🙂


  2. Another great post, Tess. I would think arriving with a closed museum must have been an aggravation. Thanks for the tour. 🙂


  3. So interesting to see your trip to China


  4. How interesting your trip is Tess. I have friends that went to the Great Wall I hear it is amazing, I am sure you will agree. Thank you for sharing photos they were excellent. ☺☺


    • Indeed, the Great Wall is amazing but is already feeling the stress from the multitudes stomping all over the brickwork. I heard there are bodies in the wall. If someone fell / died on the job, he stayed there. Eke. Glad to have you along for the tour. Thank you for joining in.


  5. Glorious pictures. I really want to travel.


    • I’m itching to travel too. Will finally go away this year but not till May. It’s been a long wait.
      Glad you like the pictures, Jacqui. Give yourself a vacation and travel. Why not. Everyone needs a break. Even you. 🙂 ❤


  6. What a fascinating place Tess, so easy to be overawed
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx


  7. This is so interesting, Tess. I am glad I don’t live in China.


  8. Fabulous photos, especially the first! What an amazing place.


  9. THis post brings back so many memories, Tess. Thank you. Sometimes I can’t believe we’ve been there.x


    • It will be almost three years since I visited but already I can’t believe I’ve been there either. Are all holidays like that? Had I not posted about the trip, it would be long gone. Thank you for joining in. May your memories be happy ones. ❤ ❤


  10. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    This week’s chapter in the travels of Tess Karlinski across China is a cultural treasure trove.. Beijing is a massive city but Tess also shares some of the ancient and more modern areas that hold historical and political importance such as The Forbidden City and Tian’anmen Square – and for foodies there are menus provided and some humorous commentary on the offerings #Recommended


  11. Looks fascinating and at last you got some sunshine!
    We get Tsingtao beer in UK supermarkets, I expect you do too?
    Does look clean, no nasty chewing gum debris or stains on the footpaths.


  12. You did a great job in bringing out the bad along with the good with these travelogues, Tess. I always enjoyed knowing about the reality. I thought I was headed into a lovely meal, with the restaurant in the parklike setting — and then the stagnant pond. 🙂 Having had plenty of time away from the trip now… would you do it all again? Mega hugs!


    • No, I don’t like to do the same trip a second time. I would love to travel someplace else, though. Now, I have a problem with U.S. exchange. Yikes, but I am traveling with my sister come May–not as far as China, though.
      I thought I’d taken a photo of that pond. It wasn’t small and the stagnation was an eyesore.


  13. I am loving this retrip Tess. I love all of the detail, from what you saw to what you ate.


  14. do you miss the fact you didn’t get inside the museum and the Mao memorial? It’s such a huge place I can imagine the compromises you have to make.


    • Both buildings border Tian’anmen Square which made for miles and miles of walking. We were all ticked we couldn’t go inside as there was nothing to see outside but the open space, thin and immature soldiers with big guns, and digital screens screaming advertisements.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. It seems that you had such a wonderful trip Tess. Good food, plenty of culture and LOTS of walking!!! 🙂


  16. Fascinating, Tess and I’m amazed at how much you packed into those days. Looking forward to seeing the Great Wall with you.


    • Thanks, Mary. You wouldn’t believe how many people visit the Great Wall every single day. Not only Chinese people from far and near but busloads and busloads of tourists like us. I hope you like the pictures next week. 🙂


  17. Wow, what a trip and, like you, I’m staggered at how clean everything looks. I’ve often wondered, from a social perspective, if things look that tidy are people less inclined to litter? Did you see anyone just drop crap as a tourist? It seems a place that must get thousands of visitors per day. Do you think they dare litter or just comply because it looks so beautiful?

    From a food perspective, I’ve just eaten…which is fortuitous…otherwise like a previous commenter…id be ravenous by now to. Wonderful trip, amazing photos and great videos… Holiday envy here 😳


    • I hear a law was passed in the not too distant past that even spitting was forbidden. Seems spitting had been a huge problem there. About the cleanliness, I cannot say. Cannot recall if I saw grounds people picking anything garbage. Of course, we tourists were shown only the best places. Once in Shanghai, my girlfriend and I scooted off the beaten bath looking for cheap(er) stores and found ourselves on a terrible street but still, I don’t recall refuse of any kind lying around.

      The food was plentiful and tasty, the opposite to what we enjoy in Chinese restaurants in the west.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Best places or not…it’s still refreshing not to see rubbish all over because people are too lazy to either take it home or find a bin. I appreciate it might just be showcase zones but it makes such a difference. Here you can find crap yards from a bin. Don’t get that myself…if you can actually see a bin then it’s pure don’t give a stuff lazy. Says a lot about society really. I’ve heard the cooking thing before. The Indian restaurant where I used to live said on Friday nights they just made hot spicy because that’s what revellers wanted. His day food was totally different.


  18. This was the best episode yet, Tess; perhaps due to the expansive alfresco feeling. The photos are beautiful, and I loved the Temple of Heaven video. It’s near bedtime, and this is a lovely post to go to sleep by 🙂 💚


  19. Tess I am struck by the enormity of the structures! The opening photo of the temple is particularly striking. Loved the description of feet screaming for mercy. The joys of touring. 🙂


    • I have never walked so much in my life and I like walking–thank goodness. A lot of these structures were refurbished for the Olympics so they were freshened up with new paint. We could only crane around corners over half-doors. The enormity of the pillars inside, which held up the buildings were unbelievable. 🙂 Thank you for coming along for the ride.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I’d really love to go and see those sights, trouble is I don’t know what I’d eat!


    • Over the years and more than ever now, they are used to feeding westerners. The food change from north to south where it became spicier. There were few similarities to the Chinese food we have in the west.
      Are you a fussy eater? The girlfriend I went with was and on occasion wasn’t happy with the food. We both brought energy bars in case we didn’t like the food. I ate everything in front of me.


      • I don’t eat meat Tess and only white fish. Foreign travel is always difficult for me food-wise. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’ll be okay with desserts,fruit and breads and if anything good turns up it’s a bonus!


  21. Can’t decide if I’m more enthralled by the temples or hungry for Chinese food – maybe I’m thungry. 😉
    Thanks for letting us tag along on your adventures, Tess. 🙂 Hope the week ahead treats you well. 🙂


    • Good to see you, Donna. I had no occasion to be hungry and ate everything, three times a day–everything put in front of me. I was a little surprised how different the food was from our Chinese restaurants. Though farmers grow vegetables and bring them to the city, vegetables were scarce–more for decoration than an event.
      Hope this week is kind to you as well. ❤ ❤


  22. Really an incredible journey for a day out! Lots to see. All that food fueled all that walking! My brother visited here as well, but I didn’t see many of his photos. Yours gave a real life view of how the areas looked!


    • Thank you for coming along, Terri. I have never been one for pictures but with everyone clicking away like Japanese tourists in the west, I tried to keep up with them. I had to make the best of this opportunity because I know I’ll never go there again. My new-at-the-time iPad mini took over 600 pictures. Yeah. I don’t believe I remembered to keep clicking. Some pictures I’m positive I took, I didn’t find on the iPad. Grrr. ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  23. We’ve heard so much about Tiananmen Square, but I had no idea it was that huge.


    • Yes, it’s huge. I cannot imagine being there lost in a hoard of a million bodies because they take up every space available. Can’t bear to think of it. We had been warned to keep our elbows tucked in because we’d find ourselves ‘carried’ by a crowd. We had a couple scary occasions.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Fascinating but an exhausting day. If you’d had to visit all the museums too it would have taken a whole week! Not surprised you decided to have a rest. Looking forward to more, Tess. Thanks


    • Wonderful to have you along, Olga. Thank you for joining in. No doubt, whoever made up the tour schedule knew these buildings would not be open. We didn’t doddle and though there wasn’t much to see except for the outside, we were on a tight schedule. 🙂


  25. Oh my word! Look at that list of sumptuous mouth-watering food. The temple is magnificent.