Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Day 1: Starting With Temples

Tropical Manila has yet to taste the wonders of a single digit climate, but don't deny it - you can barely take a bath at 6am two months ago without shivering. I liked that. I must say that I like the cold far more that the hot and humid climate we have, and not because I'm suffering from a 'grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side' syndrome. That brought me to Beijing, China where according to Google, has max/min temperatures were 8/-3. Yahoo, freezertime! If I had written this while I was in Beijing, my fingers would've fallen off, and pieces of my chapped lips would've been littering the keyboard. Yuck.

Before I gross most of the readers out (apart from showing my self-shot photos, all 174 of them), Day 1 started with an early flight to Beijing, landing at around noon time, then I proceeded to meet my host Aaron. I must say that Beijing exceeded my expectation in terms of ease of navigation. The road signs are easy to read, the city is laid out on a perfect grid, and the orientations uses the NEWS standard. Directions are absolute - bei, nan, dong, and xi. You'd never get lost as long as you now which direction you're headed. Street names are descriptive too, so that helps.

The may may be small, but the city is massive!

Having said that, English speakers for locals are still scarce. Good thing that I played a lot of Charades when I was in high school. I knew those board games were worth cutting class for.

More on Day 1, I decided to take it easy and just drop by the Yonghegong Lama Temple, a Tibetan lamasery (it's a real word, seriously) in NE Beijing. There were pretty cool corners in the sprawling courtyards, and I ended up taking quite a lot of solo photos. I'll spare you the agony of that, but I'll be posting some photos at the Temple Of Earth. The park may not be as impressive as the others that waited for me, but it surely gave a good preview of sights that await.

Lama Temple in North Beijing

Yonghe Temple, which is the same as the picture above

Altar Of Earth. One of 5 altars scattered in the city. Wee!

3 talkbacks:

Andy Briones said...

Nice! I wanna go to Beijing! How are the people there? I mean, attitude-wise? We got traumatized when we went to Hong Kong. The people were a bit, uhm, you know.... Ehehe.

monsterboy said...

Hey Andy!

Mabait naman sila. What do you mean traumatised? City people are a bit aloof and snobbish naman talaga, so expect that in HK and Shanghai. I loved my first visit to Shanghai, but when I had a basis of comparison, mas mabait ang tao sa Beijing.

Andy Briones said...

We had several bad experiences when we went to HK. I remember going to this magazine shop. Since their magazines were not wrapped in plastic, I was like, Hey, why not browse through one right? The guy manning the store went straight at me, grabbed the magazine from my hands, then proceeded to berate me like crazy. I was like, Is it me or are they really like that?

There's this other time when my Dad asked a stall owner how much their beer was. The guy went crazy, as in rabid-crazy, telling my Dad to, I don't know, maybe go to hell?

It was insane.