Odd numbers are very auspicious in China. The most auspicious number is 9 (being 3 x 3). The doors in the royal buildings have large brass bolts on the front side. Each door has 81 bolts (9 rows of 9). Here’s a typical door from the Temple of Heaven.
Posts Tagged ‘china’
On my last day in Beijing I spent the morning at the complex incorrectly called the Temple of Heaven. Infact there is no Temple of Heaven but the whole complex is literally called Tian Tan or Altar of Heaven. The largest building is called Qinian Dian or Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests. It was built in the Ming dynasty and was used by the Emperor to ask for good harvest.
The temple is an iconic Chinese image and is featured on most tourism brochures. As usual the royal colours feature – green, red, blue and yellow. The temple is 38 m high, made completely from wood but with no nails at all!!
During our visit to the Temple of Heaven, I admired the locals simply enjoying the parks. Many people use gymnastics ribbons to exercise and maintain flexibility. This is obviously not a normal occurence in Australia and I stopped to capture the beautiful ribbons. Michelle, being her normal quiet but adventurous self, decided to have a go and provided heaps of photo opportunities.
I’ve had a wonderful day with another of my Chinese hosts. He took me to a Sizchuan restaurant – I’ve always loved Sizchuan food. When the wonderfully fragrant food arrived, I hungrily started eating. I noticed my host held back a little and then he ordered a bowl of warm water. When I asked why, he said that the food was a little hot and he was washing off the chilli. He had brought me to a restaurant with food that was really too hot for him! I jokingly aksed if this was a test and he said I had passed the test!!
We then spent the afternoon at Tianenmen Square and the Forbidden City. It’s very hard to get a sense of scale when photographing the Square and I simply enjoyed it. We also went to the outer gates of the Forbidden City. The detail on the buildings is exquisite and we climbed the outer gate to look inside. Unfortunately there was no photography inside the gate which was a real shame. The roof was incredibly bright with splashes of red, blue and green and many beautiful lanterns. Here’s the first of my images – this is the outer gate.
I must say thanks to Michael and Michelle for their wonderful hospitality! (chinese hospitality is second to none) They took me to a Korean BBQ restaurant and enjoyed the real thing. I loved the sesame dipping oil and discovered that the Unagi (grilled eel) I love from japanese restaurants is also available in Korean restaurants. I also enjoyed the group atmosphere. It is traditional to order more food than a group could eat but I feel guilty leaving food behind.
I loved our trip to the Olympic complex. The buildings are spectacular and have so much colour at night. I recommend visiting them at night to really appreciate them. My favourite was the Water Cube. The curved surfaces fascinated me and the image below doesn’t do it justice.
The hotel where I am staying is very close to the Olympic venues of the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube. My kind hosts Michelle and Michael took me to visit both buildings. They are beautiful from the outside but we were not able to go inside. The structures are so large that admiring from the outside is just fine.
I tried the new Gorillapod on some rubbish bins. Despite being a little unstable I managed to get some night exposures which I will process with HDR. Here’s a a tourist shot of Michelle, Michael and myself at the front of the Bird’s Nest stadium. It was below zero and we didn’t have any beanies. Michelle and Michael kindly bought me the Panda hat I’m wearing. You might notice I’m wearing a ski jacket – and there’s 3 layers under it and I was still cold!
Michelle is a mining engineer as well and seems to be in a similar mining environment that I was in after graduation.
In the absence of my mobile working (despite Telstra’s assurances that it was international roaming!), this blog will be the main way I record the Beijing adventure. Apologies to anyone who is looking for Pilbara images.
Must make a comment about customs. I was a bit worried about all the supplements I carry as far as customs. The entire procedure to get into the country was
1. go through a temperature scanner (I guess this is to detect fevers associated with swine flu, bird flu, etc). I was rugged up ready for the outside temp (and fighting a sinus infection) and was boiling hot when I went through the scanner but it didn’t go off.
2. passport control. The lines were really short when we went through and only waited a few minutes. The officer didn’t talk to me or do anything unusual.
3. Train to baggage collection
4. Collect bags
5. Head through the declaration area. There is a red and green channel as per normal. No forms to fill out though so you don’t actually declare anything in writing – bit strange. It looked like the red channel was physically closed and everyone was just walking through the green channel. There actually wasn’t anywhere to go through your bags so I think the idea of declaration and bag search is not actually put into practise!!
The pollution is much less today. I have been out of the hotel and gone for walk and was still able to breathe. It’s subzero overnight and around 2 degrees C right now. I’m sure this is obvious to everyone but from a photography point of view, there really is no colour. I am in the middle of the university district. The uni that I am working at has over 40,000 students on campus. Lots of concrete everywhere!! Ironically, it’s very clear and crisp this morning, making the photo ops quite high contrast. Here is the hotel.
There is a small park behind the hotel. All of the trees are painted white at the bottom. I’m really not sure why! It also has concrete statues of bugs (snails, crickets, etc) – interesting. And of course all the trees have no leaves. As someone from gum country, it’s a refreshing change.