Monday, September 16, 2013

Beijing Skyline - Beautiful Clear Day

Saturday was an extraordinarily clear day in Beijing. Again, here is a shot from our apartment balcony. I guess most people in the U.S. will not find this unusual but trust me, in Beijing clear skies are to be remembered.

I was surprised that we can actually see mountains from our apartment. I hadn't been able to see them for the previous 2 weeks and figured our apartment wasn't high enough. But low and behold, they are there if the air is clean enough.

This view is to the west from our bedroom balcony. The mountains are a lot closer to town on the west but I had still never seen them from the apartment. I took this shot just as the sun was going down.

As you can see the mountains are fairly rugged.

This shot is just a few minutes after the sun has set.

A couple of hours later it looks like this. Notice the strands of lights in the center of the picture.

These must be lights attached to kite strings. Flying kites in a very popular pastime for kids and older men.

The long string must be about 1000 ft long.

Take a look at the dark building to the left of the CCTV building. It is to the right of the building with the white antenna on top. This is part of the CCTV complex that burned in 2009.

The building caught fire in a fireworks accident during the Chinese New Year celebration that year. Here is what it looked like in 2009.

As it turns out, it was still structurally sound so they gutted it and rebuilt it. I'm not sure if it is open already or not.

Not sure what happened to the guys who took the rap.

Here is my original blog posting on it.  Original post

I didn't know where else to put this picture.

The other day we opened the window and heard a guy on a loudspeaker. It took a few minutes to figure where it was coming from. It was a wedding ceremony in the small garden behind the Trader's hotel. I'm not sure of all the details but it seems pretty common to have a ceremony at hotels. Compared to the U.S. there aren't that many churches and most people aren't that religious, anyway. A marriage is mostly a civil process but it does seem common to do the white dress, tuxes, bridesmaids and groomsmen thing. If  I have it right, the groom and henchmen will go to the brides location, usually a hotel, and have a ritualized struggle to drag her away (followed by the bridesmaids) to the ceremony/reception which involves a dinner and gifts. There is a traditional Chinese ceremony of the family giving the bride away and acceptance in the grooms family (I think tea is involved) but I don't know if that normally happens or not. I'll ask around on this subject and update the posting. 

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