Olympic park, Temple of Heaven, and on to Xi’an

12 02 2010

We were on a planning roll at this point, so we had our next day all mapped out and got up early to check out of the hostel, store our bags there and then head out to the Olympic park. We had to transfer metros about five times and then we made it. The Birds’ Nest (the giant stadium built specifically for the Olympics) was large, though we were not allowed in becauseof some winter wonderland thing they had going on there. After that we walked over to the WaterCube (where they had the water events) which was being renovated to make room for a mall or something. And that was about it with the Olympic park. Here is a picture of a kid posing with one of the Olympic park’s Birds’ Nest shaped light fixtures:

After this, we headed over to a restaurant/cafetaria in the vicinity of Tian’anmen Square. They way they work here is, you pay a certain amount of money at a little cash register kiosk, and you get a card with the amount, which you take into the area, a collection of different kinds of restaurants. When you find something you want, you point and you get the food, then the amount is taken off your card. Mine and Dorian’s food was good, though I think the girls didn’t have similar success with theirs. Then we moved on to the Temple of Heaven.

The Temple of Heaven is one of Beijing’s other big tourist attractions. It’s a very large park, which we discovered when we somehow managed to go the wrong way out of the subway station, which forced us to walk for about 15 minutes to the north entrance instead of the East one which was literally 20 feet behind us. Real smart on our part. The temple itself was impressive, though it was a bit gray and ugly outside on this day. After touring the grounds, we took turns dancing on a makeshift dance floor near one of the park’s exits. There is a particularly amusing video of Dorian getting down with a Chinese lady, though we’ll just have to hope he sends it to me. Missy and I also did some rug-cutting, though that was sadly not documented on film. Here is a picture of the temple:

After leaving the temple, we returned to the hostel to grab our things and catch the flight on to Xi’an. The weather began to take a turn for the worst, something which turned out to be a theme for later in the trip. Finally, we’d like to show a picture of the hostel in Beijing, a traditional hutong courtyard place:

-Jeremiah

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