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[Photos] Construction Fences in Beijing

If you want to visualize just how quickly China is modernizing and rapidly developing walking over to the numerous construction sites around China is the way to go. I wanted to focus on the fences/walls that you would see around Beijing and how it lays out with what’s behind the fences. It’s interesting to see that these fences usually have nature or pro-environmental idealistic messages on them.  Here are some photos for the day.

At Tiananmen Square, National Museum and Mao's Masoleum in the background

At Jintaixizhao, Central Business District in the background

A worker takes a rest in front of a fence with a new development area ad in Wangfujing

[Beijing Seen] Observations at the Great Wall

Congratulations. You finally made it to the middle kingdom and climbed the Great Wall of China, which was on the top of your To-Do list in China. At Mutianyu Great Wall, which is becoming much more popular for foreign tourists(i.e. the newly installed Subway sandwich at the entrance of the wall),  you can easily make your way up to the top of the wall in thirty minutes if you’re in shape and roughly one hour if you like to pace yourself and absorb every step up. I’ve been fortunate enough to have enough visitors in Beijing to climb this portion of the wall four times in the last year. It amazes me that every time I go, I run into the same vendors whom are farmers from the region and make a living by selling second-hand drinks and food for five to six times the original price. They climb this wall every day at sunrise and climb down at sunset. They say that they are not registered with the city nor the Great Wall and told me that “It’s not easy to make a living out here nowadays and so we have to be creative”. They told me that they mainly target French tourists who they say are the easiest and most curious customers who are willing to have a conversation with them at the top of the wall. The younger sister of  the vendor is practicing her French along with her English. It’s interesting to get away from the city of Beijing and go past the 6th ring road to see that China mostly is still a developing country with most of its people living off of 300USD per year which is roughly one-third of urban areas in China. The country side and people who reside in these regions feel that they have become forgotten being excluded from the main cycle of life and modernity that is taking place in China.

Another observation I have made is the high level communication for business that surrounds the Great Wall. At Dongzhimen Long Distance bus station(located in Beijing city central), I say that a majority of foreigners are headed towards the Great Wall(either Mutianyu or Jinshanling). These tourists are here since they are going on their own to avoid being with a tour group. At this terminal, are countryside farmers who come out to the city early in the morning and annoyingly follow/”guide” foreigners to the great wall. Trust me, they have a sharp eye for who is a foreigner and who is not.  Once the foreign tourists give in and are on the bus to the wall, these farmer “guides” start making calls to their black cab drivers on arrival times and who to expect. Since I speak a bit of mandarin, these “guides” were communicating my background and China knowledge etc. When we got off the bus, sure enough there was three to four black cab drivers who share the same network with the old lady to discuss plans and prices. Since getting to Jinshanling Great Wall is a bit tricky, you have to ride a black cab  if you are going on your own. The locals know this and this new process and networking by working together  seems to be really helping the local farmers in the region to make some extra cash. The black cabs can range from 300-700 RMB round trip depending on how much you can negotiate and how much you are willing to pay.

Photo taken at the top of Mutianyu Great Wall in the outskirts of Beijing

[Beijing Seen] Malatang at Dongsiliutiao

One of the many advantages of living in Asia is the variety of food to choose from. In the variety of food is also a variety of combinations you can come up with when you decide to eat Malatang.  Of the many options I have seen that being: shrimp, fish balls, tofu, bean curd, lotus root, mushrooms, chicken, beef tendon, and noodles seem to be the malatang all-stars and much more get cooked in a pot of steaming broth laced with Sichuan peppers and sesame oil. Prices can rage from simple snacks(3RMB) to a full dinner (15RMB). My favorite out of many in Beijing is this joint located in Dongsiliutiao Hutong. It’s a nice place to mingle with locals and the owner, Mrs. Ma, who is originally from Sichuan has been cooking up Malatang for almost 2 decades. If you like your food real spicy then it is definitely worth a try when you’re in China.

[Photo Essay] Intro: Beijing Electronic Music Festival 2011

In its third year, INTRO 2011 is China's largest electronic music festival featuring China's very best electro DJs and international artists. Held at 798 just like last year, this two-day festival with 80 DJs proved to live up to its expectations bringing in over 20,000 Chinese and expatriate music lovers raving all weekend long. I didn't get to capture too much of this event but here are some snapshots that I came out with. Nonetheless. if you're in Beijing during this time of the year, it's a party that you cannot miss. I'll be adding more throughout this week.

[Photo] Basket Kid

I’ve seen all sorts of ways parents carry their children around the city but this one was just too good. Happy Friday from Beijing.

[Photo] Happy Moment at 798

I was originally going to post this yesterday since the air quality in Beijing the past couple days has just been tragic. But what do you know, the wind kicked in over night and Beijing is beautiful today with bright blue skies. Rain and wind are our saviours! But I wanted to post this photo from 798 art district, where will be the place to  be this weekend for the Intro: Electronic Festival in Beijing. I’m really happy that they are holding the event at 798. Hope to see all of you at 798 this weekend.

[Photos] Beijing Capital International Airport

Completed just in time for the Beijing Olympics in 2008, the Beijing Capital International Airport is now the most busiest airport in Asia. Living in Beijing makes it simple to travel around Asia and I myself have called Beijing my home for the last year. Coming back to this airport always has a special feel to it, well assuming that it’s not polluted outside, but when I came back from Seoul last month I took my time to snap some photos of the ceilings in Terminal 3. It’s massive and the photos don’t do justice.

At its opening, It was the largest man made structure in the world in terms of area covered, and a major landmark in Beijing representing the growing and developing Chinese city.

A 98.3-meter monitoring tower stands at the southern end of T3

The expansion was largely funded by a 30 billion yen loan from Japan and 500-million-euro (USD 625 million) loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

[Photos] Wudaoying Hutong: The Next Nanluoguxiang

With all the construction taking place around the Gulou area in Dongcheng District, Beijing and  with the new  subway line planned to run through the old city, I can’t help but to notice all the changes being made all around this area. Wudaoying hutong, located right by Lama Temple Subway station is another project; similar to the Nanluoguxiang hutong, this hutong is slowly transforming into a much more commercial themed hutong. If you walk along the street, the exterior is accompanied by  hutong style architecture but the interior is occupied by trendy boutiques and cafes serving up western food. I walked by Wudaoying two weeks ago and it already looked a lot different from what I could remember from last year.  The entrance to the hutong from the Lama Temple side looked as if it was almost complete. Here are some photos I snapped from Wudaoying hutong entrance.

[Photos] Green Forbidden City

One of the most recognized monuments in the world, the entrance to the Forbidden City shows up in countless articles and photo blogs when talking about Chinese politics and Beijing. I wanted to take a fresh perspective by focusing more on the nature that surrounds this monument. Enjoy.

[Photo Essay] Dalian Beat

Located in Northeast China in at the tip of the peninsula in Liaoning Province, Dalian has served as the major seaport in China as it faces Bohai and Yellow sea. From a historical standpoint Dalian has gone under the occupation of the British, Japanese, and Russians. With the surrender of Japan in 1945, Dalian was passed to the Soviets which they eventually returned the land back to China in the year 1950. Since then, Dalian has seen much changes and has become one of Asia's largest shipping center. Dalian has a unique feel unlike most other cities in China as the hills within the city reminds me of San Francisco and you rarely see anyone on a bike or bicycle. The numerous number of squares and natural parks along with Russian and Japanese architecture makes Dalian a destination definitely worth visiting. This photo essay is an attempt to capture Dalian as it is today.

Breakfast time in Dalian by the main railway station. The area around the train station was crowded with people at this time.

Russian Street is the first avenue ever built-in Dalian. Now under slight construction, as you can see in the image, this road is mainly a tourist attraction with shops along the sides.

You can see that the architecture in this city doesn't resemble China and has a much more European feel to it than anything.

Gorgeous dogs. With some cities in China being limited to have only one dog per house hold and larger dogs being limited nowadays, this person seems to have it all.

Unused fountain at the end of Russian street

Out of the many squares in Dalian, People's Square is the largest and is the most popular. The green grass caught my attention right away with government buildings surrounding this entire area.

Flowers at Peoples Square

A female police officer navigates traffic around Peoples Square. The TV tower is in the background.

Policewomen on horseback is much more of an attraction than anything of practical use.

Street shops line up on the staircases. People are busy doing their weekend shopping while vendors kill time playing cards. I mostly saw antiques sold here.

Ruso-European style architecture. Again, no bikes or bicycles on the streets.

Dalian Olympic Square: the first ever Chinese athlete to compete in the Olympics was from Dalian.

Soccer seems to be really popular in Dalian.

Mother and son take a walk in the park.

Almost everywhere you go, you can't get away from this blue fence in Dalian. Dalian Subway is under construction like many other cities in China.

The streets of Liaoning Normal University

A little boy rides his 'horse' at Xinghai Square: a popular destination for younger people and families to spend their afternoons in the sun.

People enjoy all sorts of activities and hobbies here.

The amusement park was packed with visitors on a Sunday afternoon.

The weather conditions in Dalian is supposed to be one of the best in China and attracts visitors from all over China.

Seagulls flying around the port makes for a perfect photo opportunity.

Playing with bubbles.

At Xinghai Square. One of the most luxurious apartments in Dalian stand in this area.

A man observes families and friends searching for shells and seaweed on the dock.

The seaside was full of people and couples enjoying the afternoon.

Luxurious housing on the seaside on Xinghai Square.

More luxurious house in the seaside that are being constructed.

There were hundreds of newly built residential towers like this one in the city being constructed.

Sunset reflection on the bay by Xinghai Park

A ferris wheel at Xinghai Park.

Let the dancing begin.

Chinese dance groups shows their talent at Lushun under the cherry blossoms.

Cherry Blossoms just make everyone happy here in Lushun.