Monday, December 31, 2012


Bells in Taimiao in Beijing

On Sunday afternoon, Margot and I took a walk down toward Tian'anmen Square and the Forbidden City. We decided to check out the park just east of the entrance to the Forbidden City called Taimiao.

Like the Forbidden City this was built in the 1400s. It was an imperial temple for offering sacrifices and ancestor worship. This building is the Halberd Gate.
The Hall for the Worship of Ancestors at Taimiao in Beijing

This is the Hall for the Worship of Ancestors. Notice the three-tiered platform that means it has a lot of status.

The entire complex was renamed the Beijing Working People's Cultural Palace in 1949.
Bells and drum inside Hall for the Worship of Ancestors at Taimiao in Beijing

This is an arrangement of bells and drums inside the hall.

Here you get another view of the scale of the bells and the hall.

The wooden ancestral tablets disappeared during the Cultural Revolution.

The center is dominated by a large painting with a number of imperial dragons.

For more info about Taimiao see the following site. Taimiao

The columns are huge. I guess about 6 feet in diameter.

These 2 guys asked Margot if she would pose with them. After they took turns getting their picture taken with her I asked them to pose for me.

These guys were having fun posing for a picture outside one of the halls.

This picture shows the relationship of Taimiao to the Forbidden City. Taimiao is in the lower right hand part of the picture. If you click to enlarge you can see Mao's picture on the Tian'anmen Gate in the lower center of the picture.

This is a picture of the gates at the back of the complex.

This picture is at the back of the complex looking toward the Forbidden City.

Here are two pictures looking at the tower at the southeast corner of the Forbidden City. That is the moat along the wall in the foreground.
Tower at the southeast corner of the Forbidden City in Beijing

Here is a close up of the tower. Margot  and I couldn't agree on which picture of the tower we liked better so I included both.

On the way back we walked through a quiet park that parallels Chang'An Ave. This is gate along the edge of a park.

We saw these two signs in the park. They are nice signs but I have no idea what they mean.

Maybe one of my Chinese friends will offer a better translation.

Changpuhe Park in Beijing

This picture is looking down through the park. I imagine this scene will be just beautiful in spring.

The name of the park is Changpuhe Park.

Here is one more Christmas decoration picture. We passed by this hotel on the way home.

Here is a picture of entrance to the Beijing Hotel. The decorations in front says xinchun kuaile. Kuaile means happy. My translator says the xinchun refers to the first 10 to 20 days following the Chinese New Year. Seems a little early for that but maybe they are covering both Jan 1 and the lunar new year with one decoration.

Click here for more history on the Beijing hotel (scroll to the bottom)  Beijing Hotel

Here is another shot of the Tian'anmen Gate from the other day. It is from about the same spot as the shots at this link.  Tian'anmen

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas In Beijing III

Christmas singers at Sanlitun

OK. There isn't a lot about Christmas in Beijing here other than this picture. This is of some singers at an outdoor shopping mall as Sanlitun.

There is a video at the bottom of the post of them singing.

Dried fish, goose and hogs head at Walmart in Beijing

I hope some of our friends in Newburgh will forward this to Larry Marschel. This in the deli department of the WalMart down the street. I can see some dried fish on the far end, ducks or geese in the middle and I'm pretty sure that is a hog's head on the right side.

Here is Margot trying to figure out what the round things are.

Click to enlarge.

Oh, the Christmas connection? We went shopping on Christmas Eve.

She seems to have figured it out in this picture. I'm not sure if she is correct or not.
Mini Cooper display at Sanlitun

On Christmas Day we went shopping for some accessories for the electronic gifts we received. We stumbled into this Mini Cooper display.
Chandelier at Sinopec Headquarters

Didn't know where else to put this picture. The week before Christmas I had a series of meetings at the Sinopec headquarters in Beijing. This is the lobby from the sixth floor. The chandelier caused a huge controversy a couple of years ago when a rumor was going around that it cost 12 million yuan or about $2,000,000. The citizens were upset that they were getting gouged on gas prices and the largest oil company in China was 'wasting' so much money on frivolities. Sinopec reported that it only cost 1.6 million yuan or about $250,000.  Chandelier

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas in Beijing II

Christmas tree display on Wangfujng street in Beijing

I went out to take a few pictures on Wangfujing street this evening. There were a lot of decorations here, also.

One thing that jumps out at me on this picture is that watches must be big business. I count 3 billboards in this picture.

Christmas display on Wangfujng street in Beijing

I've got to say that the budget seems to be a little lower than at Oriental Plaza.

For reference, here is a link to the post the other day.  Christmas in Beijing
Christmas lights and shoppers on Wangfujng street in Beijing

The crowds were definitely down from what you usually see. Maybe the 18 deg F temperature had something to do with it.

I used a tripod for these pictures to try and get them as sharp as possible.
Wangfujing snack street on a cold evening in December

Here is a shot of Snack Street. Apparently, indoor restaurants draw away customers as the temperature drops.

For reference, here is a link to what it looked like a couple of months ago. Scroll down a few pictures after clicking the link.  Snack Street
Christmas tree display the lobby of Tower Apartments at Oriental Plaza, Millennium Block, in Beijing

Here is a shot of the decorations in the lobby of our apartment complex.

The integration of Christmas into Chinese culture isn't 100%. I went out to find wrapping paper for Margot's gift today and couldn't find any. I'm not sure where to find it. I'll try googling it.

Christmas in Beijing

Christmas display at night at Oriental Plaza in Beijing

Well, it is Christmas time in China, also. This display is outside the Oriental Plaza mall on ChangAn Ave.
Christmas tree at Fortune Plaza in Beijing

Christmas in China is decidedly secular. The only religious aspect are the Christmas carols playing on the PA system in every shopping center and hotel, and even our apartment building elevators. Of course,  for most of the population, the meaning or even the exact words of the songs are a mystery.
Singles event at Fortune Mall in Beijing

Margot and I were headed to a western oriented grocery store on Saturday when we stumbled on this scene.

A couple of men approached us, the first was around 50 and another about 30. The younger one spoke good English and explained that this was an event for singles to meet one another.

There were some ice-breaking events that seemed to be geared for the general attendees. The event was sponsored by Samsung to promote their new Note 2 phone-tablet device.

Then we see the couples in wedding regalia. I was thinking that this was a fashion show but the couples didn't look like the professional models that I've seen before at events.

Margot counted about 22 couples. They are lining up in this shot.

Then all the couples process onto the stage and lines up in 3 rows.

All the commentary over the PA system was in Chinese so we really had no idea what was going on other than what we see. The couples went through a couple of exercises to demonstrate the features of the Note 2.

They seemed to write notes using the stylus and then took pictures of themselves and each other.

Then it morphs into a wedding ceremony. Here the men get down on one knee.

Here the men kiss their bride.

Here the brides in the front row toss their bouquets to the crowd in front of the stage. I'm still thinking this is just a staged event but as the couples leave the stage they seem to be receiving genuine congratulations from friends.

Later it dawned on me that the first guy that approached us was probably hitting on Margot. I can't come up with another explanation for a middle aged man to attempt to strike up a conversation with a westerner in Chinese.
Christmas display during the day at Oriental Plaza in Beijing

Here is a shot of the display at the top of this post taken during the day.
Two women pose in front of the Christmas display at Oriental Plaza in Beijing

It was a very popular place to pose for pictures.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Rogers, Arkansas and Crystal Bridges

The tortoise of "Tortoise and Hare" sculpture by Nancy Schön

Mom, Margot, and I took a walk at Crystal Bridges one nice afternoon while we were in Rogers.

This is one half of Tortoise and Hare by Nancy Schön near the back entrance of the museum.

The hare of "Tortoise and Hare" sculpture by Nancy Schön

This is, of course, the other half of the sculpture. These are on one of the walking paths at the museum.

It is a very pleasant walk from downtown Bentonville to the museum.
Roxy Paine's "Yield" at Crystal Bridges in Bentonville Arkansas

This is Roxy Paine's Yield. It is displayed at the main entrance to the museum.

I encourage everyone to visit the museum if you have the chance. It is pretty remarkable - especially when you consider its location. Bentonville isn't exact New York or L.A. or Chicago.

LA Times Article

Here is a shot of part of the museum from the trail just a little ways past the tortoise.

Here is an earlier post with some pictures of the art work inside.

Crystal Bridges
Crystal Bridges from the north lawn

This is the view from the north lawn of the museum.

Did I mention the price of admission?

Zero, nada, nothing - thanks to a grant from the Walmart foundation.

Another view from the west side on the walking trail.
Nancy P. Savage and Margot E. Savage

Mom and Margot.
Nancy P. Savage and Thomas H. Savage

Mom and me.

I have to give this dad credit. He was rolling down the hill with his daughters. They were having a great time.

This little ice rink is in near downtown Bentonville.

Someone has done a nice job fixing up this old house just down the street from the ice rink.

Back in Rogers, we see this guy in the yard next door to Mom's house.

The car makes a very effective blind. Margot just  rolled down the window and took these pictures of the deer.

He had several buddies with him.

They seemed to be grazing for acorns.

Click to enlarge.

A view of the lake from the front porch. The lake level is down quite a bit.

If you click to enlarge you may be able to spot some kayaks in middle of the lake.