Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Kicking it, Beijing-style

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[18 July 2012.  It's well past time for an update.  After several more trips and much time since my last post, I still have words - and importantly for this blog, more photographs! - from my last travels to Asia (& beyond..) to share.  So here goes.]

  Smog-hidden farming village in winter, en route back to Beijing.

Light smog among valley farmsteads, en route back to Beijing.

16 Feb 2011 sees our return to Beijing and everywhere I find signs of the impending thaw.  If nothing else, the temperature no longer hovers below freezing on a good night but the days retain their blistery wind chill despite the clear, brilliant sun.  Even so, Chris and I took full advantage of slowly improving weather to explore Beijing either alone, or at times with Tim, Natasja, Sasha, Craig, and other friends.

Not all that is gold glitters.  It shows when looking downtown.  Here, UBS, HSBC, AIG, RBC watch over prolific new construction of the New Beijing.

  Long hallway (top) near the Temple of Heaven after-hours, and encircling pedestrian lanes (bottom), when the locals play mahjong and stroll about - an unceasing vestige of the Old Beijing.

Tiantan, or Temple of Heaven, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Original complex and site dates to ~1420 AD. 

Maybe I'll remove this one... Cats' eyes in the dark.

Gondola at ski spot outside Beijing.  Air pollution so dense you can barely see the top. 

Once forbidden for commoners even to glimpse under pain of death, the Imperial Throne now sits alone in the People's Republic. Forbidden City.

Veranda approaching throne room; expansive, but enclosed, view.  Forbidden City.

One of my favorite places in the world - Yonghe Lamasery.  Built in the early years of the Qing dynasty as a royal residence, it became national center for Lama administration; & it perists in this role.

While Chris & I did not get to visit the Great Wall on this trip (I had camped out overnight and hiked along a more remote section near Inner Mongolia 2009), we got to delve into contemporary Beijing with locals and friends.  Among regular forays into BJ's exuberant nightlife, jaunts through random districts and 'hoods with local friends, and exciting (but cheap!) street food adventures, we still had tons of time to check out standard hot spots for first-timers and off-track places.

Unusually placed lights along this alley in BJ made for a fun picture. Yup, more smog - visible on the same block!

En route to an Dashanzi art district (a la Factory 798), the walk gets (even) more interesting... say nothing of what we see once inside the district.  Here: Concrete Mustang.

Bricks like dominoes. Wish I had seen it all go down..

Nice piece speaking to effects of carte-blanche experimentation of GMO worldwide.

Strike your warrior pose!


Buddha.   :)

Framing & context.  Yeah.

Speaks for itself....

..and so does this one.  Imagine rubbing elbows in this club.

By the same artists as above.  Brilliant - but what would say the State?

 Yet another piece from the same brothers.  Spent a good few hours conversing with these guys on a whole gamut of issues affecting Chinese societies.  Art as critique.

In summary - despite the modern facelift, the core of China survives.  And has great potential to thrive...

I look forward to my return to China - again.  More blog updates soon!!!

The photos laid out heretofore are taken with an Olympus Stylus 1050 SW 
 Creative Commons License
These works by Tim Paez are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License