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Old 06-13-2014, 07:55 PM   #1
Cousin Orville
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China Trip Report 2014

Prenight 1 - Beijing

Well we arrived! After a year of planning and anticipating, we've arrived in Beijing. For those of you that had a chance to follow us on our Jewels of Southeast Asia trip report, I'm going to try to do something similar here in China. It's my son, Gavin, and me traveling together again. My wonderful wife is staying home with our younger children. We'll be here in China until close to the end of June and then turn right around and be with the entire family on the Venice - Barcelona cruise in July.

We arrived 2 nights before the ABD starts to get over jet lag and see some of Beijing. We got settled in our room and walked around the hotel a bit. We got in late afternoon and decided to grab an early dinner here in the hotel, the Peninsula, before heading to bed. I'm a big Peking duck fan, and the hotel has one of the top contenders in Beijing... Duck was awesome. My son Gavin gave it a thumbs up. Overall great dinner.

Pictures to follow...

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Old 06-13-2014, 08:57 PM   #2
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Oh, yay! I loved your trip report! Looking forward to this one. The China trip is still on my Bucket List!

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Old 06-14-2014, 02:37 AM   #3
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Old 06-14-2014, 07:11 AM   #4
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Your wife must be a saint.
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Old 06-14-2014, 11:38 AM   #5
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Quote:
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Your wife must be a saint.
His wife is a saint!
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Old 06-14-2014, 12:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobo912 View Post
Your wife must be a saint.
Quote:
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His wife is a saint!


Wonderful pics! Looks like you're off to a great start. That restaurant looks beautiful! Your son is getting big!

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Old 06-14-2014, 01:43 PM   #7
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Hi Cousin Orville,

What a tasty way to start your trip! I'm looking forward to following your adventure in China. Please post lots of pics!
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Old 06-14-2014, 03:25 PM   #8
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Can't wait to read about your trip. This is high on my list for 2016. Have a fabulous time with your son.
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Old 06-14-2014, 06:35 PM   #9
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Prenight 2 - Beijing

4:30 am - Gavin opens the windows for our room overlooking Beijing and proclaims, "good morning, china!" There's no way I'm getting him back to bed. Thankfully breakfast is served early downstairs in Jing. Breakfast is a nice buffet with a good mix of western and Asian. As an aside, it's a day later and I'm typing this at breakfast now.

At 9:00 we met Jessie our private guide for the next 2 days. Today we're heading to the Temple of Heaven, Jingshan Park, an old Hutong, and the Lama Temple. We ended up squeezing in a couple of other things as well.

Jessie and her driver whisked us away to the Temple of Heaven. There's a large park that's inside the compex where people are exercising, doing tai chi, playing musical instruments, dancing and generally having a good time. Gavin got into the action and tried some of the exercises and some of the people were nice enough to encourage him to join in their games. It was a lot of fun. From there we went up to what I think of as the Temple of Heaven, what the China pavilion in World Showcase is copied from. I believe it's actually called the Hall of Prayer of Good Harvest inside the larger complex of the Temple of Heaven, or something similar. It was beautiful. Of course it reminded Gavin and me of Epcot. How could it not, but it was great to see the real deal in person. I was looking around for the circle vision theater but didn't see it.

(Time to take a time out. About to meet Jessie again today. Will continue the report later....)
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Old 06-14-2014, 11:46 PM   #10
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Very excited to read your trip report. Loved your Southeast Asia TR. China is definitely on our ABD list. I'd be interested in your feedback on pollution/air quality and temps/heat. Those are the two factors that give me pause about this trip, but the itinerary looks fabulous. I was wondering if taking the first trip out of the gate in June might mean a bit less heat than the trips later in the summer.
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Old 06-15-2014, 01:01 AM   #11
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Prenight 2 continued...

After the Temple of Heaven, we headed over to Jingshan Park. It's claim to fame is it's on a big hill which overlooks the Forbidden City. So, you effectively get the arial view of the Forbidden City.

We then headed over to the Drum Tower and an old Hutong around it. The Hutong's are old traditional neighborhoods of Beijing. There are several around the city. There lots of shopping and a few restaurants. The Drum Tower (along with the nearby Bell Tower) were responsible for telling the city what time it was. It was a very steep long Stairway to the top. At the top you find a lot of drums. I'm not sure this was entirely worth the stop. Glad I did it, but it's on the "B" list of things to do.

Let's see, after the Hutong and Drum Tower we drove to the Lama Temple - a Tibetan Buddhist temple. It was beautiful. We didn't stay too long. Walking through the temple was beautiful. It has a the worlds tallest wooden Buddha sculpture, so that was impressive.

Our last stop was over by the CCTV (Chinese Television) Tower. It was a personal request of mine to see. Crazy Modern. I'll post a picture soon.

We got back around 3pm, had a late lunch over at an Irish Pub of all places near the hotel. Molly Malone's. It was ok. No Raglan Road, but it was ok. I could probably do Chinese day in, day out, but Gavin needs an occasional break. We did some swimming and resting prior to dinner.

Uber - my new favorite travel app. We used it for dinner. Basically it allows you to call for a private car (rather than a taxi) to pick you up. You tell uber on your iPhone (or whatever) where you are, where you're going, and you place a cc or paypal on file with Uber and you're all set. We were heading to Made in China, another famous Peking Duck place. It took about 5 min for the car to arrive. uber tells you the driver's name... And you don't pay the driver for anything. It's auto charged to your uber acct. It's very cool. The trip was about $4.50. Beijing has the occasional dishonest taxis and some drivers really have no clue where the destination is... Uber somewhat manages that as I understand it. It's offered in many cities.

Made in China was fine. If you look up enough top Peking duck places, both Made in China and Huang Ting show up. I personally prefer Huang Ting, and that's at the Peninsula so it's even more convenient. We walked back down Wangfujing and strolled through the night market where you can buy all sorts of food including weird bugs, and starfish etc. I asked Jessie if any Chinese eat those things, and she said only the tourists eat them. Figured. I'll pass on the scorpions. I'm trying to cut down...
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Old 06-15-2014, 01:09 AM   #12
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Wangfujing in the morning



Temple of Heaven park










At the top of Jingshan park overlooking the Forbidden City




Inside the Drum Tower


the Bell Tower


Lama Temple






CCTV Tower


Wangfujing in the evening


Apple store on Wangfujing! I'm home! I actually did go in and buy the SD card hookup to upload these photos to my iPad (forgot my other one).


Gotta love it




Starfish, really?! Come on now. No one eats that...





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Old 06-15-2014, 04:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calfan View Post
Very excited to read your trip report. Loved your Southeast Asia TR. China is definitely on our ABD list. I'd be interested in your feedback on pollution/air quality and temps/heat. Those are the two factors that give me pause about this trip, but the itinerary looks fabulous. I was wondering if taking the first trip out of the gate in June might mean a bit less heat than the trips later in the summer.
As far as heat, it's hot now in June. I'm not sure if it gets hotter in July and Aug. I would think so. Due to school and other vacation plans we have during the year, summer is pretty much our only option. Spring might be better temp wise, but I asked my guide when the worst pollution was and she said during winter and spring. So, I dunno if there's a fall trip. Haha. You know the heat is a fair price to pay for me. We're going to Venice and Greece next month. I'm sure it's going to be hot there too, but it will be worth it. The only place I generally won't go during the summer is WDW. Not going to do it...

Pollution. A little worse today than yesterday. We've got a nice room up pretty high, and this morning Gavin noticed it looking out over the city. Very very hazy. I bought 3M masks from Amazon just in case. Haven't used them, and haven't seen anyone in masks either. It's not that bad right now. China is a place I've wanted to go for a while.. And I'm kind of afraid it's just going to get unacceptably worse over the next several years. For now, it's not great, but it's not a game changer for me. I wouldn't let it affect your decision on whether you should do a China ABD. Not yet at least.
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Old 06-15-2014, 12:13 PM   #14
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Great pics, Cousin Orville!

Would you mind posting some pics of the Asian food selections at the Jing breakfast buffet? We really loved the breakfast buffets there.

Also, are you planning to try any stinky tofu?
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Old 06-15-2014, 02:38 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cousin Orville View Post
As far as heat, it's hot now in June. I'm not sure if it gets hotter in July and Aug. I would think so. Due to school and other vacation plans we have during the year, summer is pretty much our only option. Spring might be better temp wise, but I asked my guide when the worst pollution was and she said during winter and spring. So, I dunno if there's a fall trip. Haha. You know the heat is a fair price to pay for me. We're going to Venice and Greece next month. I'm sure it's going to be hot there too, but it will be worth it. The only place I generally won't go during the summer is WDW. Not going to do it...

Pollution. A little worse today than yesterday. We've got a nice room up pretty high, and this morning Gavin noticed it looking out over the city. Very very hazy. I bought 3M masks from Amazon just in case. Haven't used them, and haven't seen anyone in masks either. It's not that bad right now. China is a place I've wanted to go for a while.. And I'm kind of afraid it's just going to get unacceptably worse over the next several years. For now, it's not great, but it's not a game changer for me. I wouldn't let it affect your decision on whether you should do a China ABD. Not yet at least.
Thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated. How hot is hot? Looking forward to more of your trip report.
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MAGIC June 20-27, 2009 (Eastern Caribbean) MAGIC June 18-29, 2011 (Med) WONDER August 6-13, 2012 (Alaska) MAGIC September 7-12, 2012 (Canada) FANTASY April 13-20, 2013 (Western Caribbean) ABD Scotland: A Brave Adventure August 4-12, 2013 WONDER May 19-24, 2014 (San Diego to Vancouver) ABD Austria, Germany & Czech Republic July 5-13, 2014 DREAM November 24-28, 2014 (Bahamas) WONDER May 15-17, 2015 (San Diego) B2B with WONDER May 17-20, 2015 (Ensenada) MAGIC June 29-July 10, 2015 (North Norwegian Fjords and Iceland) B2B with MAGIC July 10-22, 2015 (Baltics) with ABD add-on
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