Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Sanya - China's Hawaii - Day 2

I guess this is actually day 3. We spent all of day 2 in a training session. On Saturday we headed off to the Haitian Fairyland Torrid Zone Paradise. That is quite a name. I'm not sure if there is a better translation for Fairyland but Torrid Zone Paradise can be thought of as Tropical Paradise.

It is a large new park near Sanya. Did you count the toes on the dragon sculpture? Five means that it is an Imperial dragon. Doesn't really mean much for a new sculpture like this.

I really like the shape of this tree.

Click to enlarge.

This gentleman was sketching the scenery. Particularly the cable bridge in the background and the roof line of some cottages near the bridge.

We took a walk across the  bridge. It was pretty stable even with a number of people on it.

This is my colleague and friend Jia Wei and his wife.

I've commented and posted on the wedding photographers before. There were several in the park this day.

In China wedding pictures are generally taken months before the wedding. Basically all the dresses and props are provided by the wedding arranger company and the photographer.

This guy is dressed up as the Monkey King. The Monkey King is the central figure in a classic Chinese novel titled Journey to the West. You could pose for pictures with him. We passed.

I have no idea what these flowers are called but I thought they were beautiful.

On the way back to the hotel we stopped at a small grocery/fruit market. Some of the folks wanted to get some fruit for a snack later. I see papaya, mango, dragon fruit, banana, pomelo and watermelon.

When we got back to the hotel some of the people in our group decided  a beach volleyball match was in order.

Click to enlarge.

This is a shot of the main pool at the hotel at night.

Here is a link to Sanya - Day 1 pictures in case you missed them.

Sanya - Day 1

Monday, December 29, 2014

Sanya - China's Hawaii - Day 1

SABIC China organizes team building events each year by department. Since our project team is so small we throw in with the Corporate Strategy team. This year the event was held at the Westin hotel in Sanya. Sanya, on the southern end of island province of Hainan, is at about 18 deg N latitude - about the same as Hawaii.

The weather is pretty nice in the winter although we didn't hit particularly nice days.

The hotel is right on the beach.

Family members can join at their own expense but don't attend the training sessions.

We didn't rent a jet ski. It was a little cool for that in my opinion.

There were a lot of interesting flowers in bloom.

I thought this one was interesting with the spiral shape.

Does anyone know what these are?

These were interesting, also.

We had dinner at the Intercontinental Hotel nearby. The restaurant features a large aquarium.

The divers come in during the dinner hour to feed the turtles and stingrays. It turns into quite a feeding frenzy.

This is the Sanya duty-free shopping mall located between the Westin and Intercontinental. It is huge mall that allows tourists to purchase items free of import duties. We didn't go in but I understand that once you make your purchase you pick it up at the airport before you get on the plane. Lots of high-end brands - Giorgio Armani, etc.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Fabric Market

Margot wanted to buy some sequins for a table cloth project so we headed off to the fabric market near Dahongmen. There were many choices but the only problem is that the package sizes are huge. She can probably make 50 table cloths. Get your order in.

Must of the shops seem to specialize in cloth or fur. If you need material for a fur border on the hood of a coat or for an entire coat this is the place to get it.

Here is a wider view of this street. The whole area must be about 3 or 4 blocks square and we didn't go across the street. The fur is on this street.

The fake fur is on this street.

Not sure but this might be the fuzzy fabric street.

On the way back we ran into this character doing some kind of promotion in the shopping mall.

This was his partner in promotion.

Click to enlarge to read the sign and see what they are promoting.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Decorations in Beijing

Christmas decorations are more and more popular in Beijing. Every self-respecting shopping mall and hotel will have decorations. This picture is the outside of the apartment building where we stay. The apartments are part of the China World complex which chose purple as the theme this year.

This is the main shopping mall entrance. Most people use the office building entrances  or the subway to enter the mall.

Here is a link to last years decorations. --> 2013 Decorations I guess purple was a theme last year, also.

A little different theme across the street. This is the Yintai Center. My office is located here. Of course there is a shopping mall associated with the office building. Click to read the logos.

2012 Decorations 1
2012 Decorations 2
2012 Decorations 3

The decorations are distinctly secular. You'll have to find a church to see a creche.  This display has Louis Vuitton's name on it.

I have to say that I have heard hymns as background music in malls. I imagine the meaning is lost on most casual listeners whose English is weak.

This is the front interest of the very tall building in the background of the picture above. Again, part of the same complex.

This is the lobby of our apartment complex.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Xishiku or Church of the Savior

I often get asked if there are churches in China. The answer is an unequivocal - yes, although the relationship has been pretty rocky over the centuries.

Catholic missionaries came to China in the 13th century while the Protestants arrived in 1807.

The picture above is of the Church of the Savior in Beijing. The church was originally built next door to the Forbidden City in 1703. It was moved to it's current location in 1887 after the emperor asked that in be moved so that he could build Zhongnanhai park.

During the Boxer Uprising in 1900, approximately 3900 Christians, including about 100 Europeans, sought refuge on the grounds for 2 months. About 400 died from gunfire, bombs, disease and starvation during this time.

The interior seems to pretty standard for Catholic churches - just with Chinese characteristics.

Here are the side windows. The organ was in the back.

Click to enlarge.

You can learn more here --> Xishiku on Wikipedia

This is the Gangwashi Church about 2 blocks away from the Catholic Church. It was founded in the 1860s but was destroyed in the Boxer Uprising. It was rebuilt in 1903. It has hosted a number of notable foreign worshipers including George W. Bush.

A service was in progress when we arrived. They were singing "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" but they were singing in Korean so we didn't go in.

Click here to learn more about Protestants in China over the last 2 centuries ---> Protestantism in China

This is the Wansong Laoren Tower just down the street from the church. It is a Buddhist monument.

As we were wandering around looking for the sites in this neighborhood we stumbled onto this shop.

This house number 84 was once the home of Lu Xun. One of the great Chinese writers of the early 20th century.

This is a bicycle/tricycle repair shop set up in the alley. Looks like there are set up for slightly heavier repairs than just flat tires.

Friday, December 12, 2014

JIngdong Grand Canyon

SABIC Beijing office held a family day event last month. We visited Jingdong Grand Canyon for a hike. The park is in a very narrow canyon east of Beijing.

We took a bus ride to the eastern suburbs of Beijing but arrived at the restaurant a little early for lunch. They had a pile of corn in the courtyard so some of us city slickers played around with shucking some of the corn.

We also took a quick trip to a local orchard to pick some apples.

At this orchard they put a paper bag on every apple to keep the bugs off without using pesticides. That takes a lot of work but I have to say the apples were uniformly perfect.

Here is the spread for lunch. That, of course, is fish in the middle. I see tofu at the bottom of the picture. That may be pickled pig's ear in the lower right.

These chickens were wandering around in an enclosure at the back of the restaurant.

Here is the first of several pictures from inside the canyon. The pollution was pretty bad that day so difficult to get nice pictures.

The canyon is very narrow is certain sections.

Here are some of my colleagues taking a rest along the way. There are a series of lakes (all man-made) along the length of the trail.

This waterfall was at the head of the canyon.

I think the leaves on the water were interesting.

There were some fall colors on display.

After the hike a ride back into Beijing, we  went to a Japanese style restaurant for dinner.

I think these are mushrooms wrapped in bacon.

They do the flaming thing during dessert preparation.

During the preparation of the meal, the entire cook staff jumped up and starting performing Xiao Pingguo or "Little Apple". "Little Apple" is all the rage in China this fall. You can think of it as the China version of Gangnam Style.

All-in-all it was a fun day.