Sunday, November 30, 2014

October in Arkansas

We couldn't be in the States for Thanksgiving but here are a few family pictures from our visit in October.

Left to right: Theresa Brue, Greg Brue, Nancy Savage, Margot Savage, Tom Savage, Sue Inich, Bob Inich.

Here is Emily playing in the corn at Farmland Adventures.

Ben had to bring in the heavy equipment to get it just right.

Emily and the goats.

A pensive Ben. Or an uncooperative Ben. Your call.

Uncle Tom and Emily lapping the field.

Lauren and Ben pulling up the rear but having just as much fun.

Another day we went to Little Giggles to let them run off some energy.

Emily posing for a picture at the "store".

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Chengde Imperial Resort - Day 2

On day 2 of our Chengde trip we visited most of the 8 temples built there.

This is in Puning Temple - built in 1755. Puning means universal peace.

It is an active temple as seen by the large number of offerings in the incense burner.

Here is a link to day one in case you missed it.  ===> Chengde Day 1

This is a prayer wheel. If you aren't sure which way to turn them they offer a handy arrow to guide you.

This is another view of the temple from a lower level. The smoke you see is from the incense burner in the first picture.

Another view from near the top.

We have seen the masses of locks before. The locks are inscribed with a couple's names and then locked to the post in the temple as a testament to their undying love.

This is us.

You aren't allowed to take pictures inside the halls. I took this one from outside as you see.

This is a corner of a large tablet. The tablets here are generally inscribed with 4 languages - Chinese, Manchu, Tibetan, and Mongolian - in deference to the 4 major ethnic groups ruled by the Emperor.

The outlying temples were built as a sign of respect and to facilitate the religious practices of visitors to the Mountain Resort.

At the time, Mongolian and Tibetan Buddhism were very similar and the visiting officials were very religious.

This is the Putuo Zongcheng Temple. It is influenced by the Potala Temple in Lhasa, Tibet.

Many of the windows are solid and not really windows at all.

This picture and the next several are part of the Xumi Fushou Temple. It was built in 1780 to make the number 2 in the Tibetan religious heirarchy, the Panchen Lama, feel at home during his visit.

Another hall in the temple.

I snuck a couple of pictures as we walked up to the top of the temple.

Same with this one.

Click to enlarge.

This building, Jixiangfaxi Hall, was the home of the Panchen Lama when he visited.

The Panchen Lama died of smallpox in 1780 in Beijing after his visit.

Here is another view. That is the pagoda from the Putuo Zongcheng Temple in the background.

After lunch we took a long cable car ride up to Sledge Hammer Peak or Qìng chuí fēng.

Geologically, it is similar to Arches National Park in Utah.

Along the way, we passed this grave.

Here is a closer view from the path up to the base. The part sticking up is about 120 ft tall from the base.

This is in Pule Temple.

This is Zhongyin Hall in Pule Temple. It was end of the day and the light was very nice, I thought.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Chengde Imperial Resort - Day 1

Back in September Margot and I took a trip to Chengde to see the Imperial Mountain Resort and other sites. Chengde is located about a 3 hour drive northeast of Beijing. The resort was build in 18th century starting in 1703 and finishing in about 1790.

The resort covers over 2 square miles and includes palaces, temples, lakes, fields, and mountains.

The royal court would come here to escape the summer heat. I understand they would also come here to escape the smallpox epidemics that would ravage Beijing from time to time.

This is the room in the Hall of Simplicity and Sincerity where the emperor would hold court, receive guests, etc.

This hall was built from nanmu which is a southern Asia evergreen that is very resistant to decay and is a natural insect repellant.

This room is also in the Hall of Simplicity and Sincerity. He would have discussions with his advisers here.

This is the bedroom.

The boat is delivering tourists from one side of the lake to the other.

I think this guys job is to pick up trash out of the lake.

There were just a few lotus blooms at this time of year.

That's a lotus seed pod in the center.

This is Margot.

This pagoda was built in 1751. At 230 ft tall it is one of the largest in China.

After dinner we took a walk along the river. Click on the picture to enlarge. The face is projected onto the mountain from some distance away.

That is a pedestrian bridge on the left side of the screen. It changes colors every few minutes.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Beijing Construction

I have mentioned before that there is a lot of construction going on in our neighborhood. This picture is from our apartment. I count about 15 cranes on this construction site.

They are erecting a new tower crane here. The vertical mast part is erected then the jib is lifted by the portable crane. The mast will be able to jack itself up and add new sections as the building rises.

This is what it will look like when it is finished.

This is another project in the neighborhood. If you look closely you can see a few guys on the jib. They are installing the pendants that will support the jib and the cables for moving the trolley and lifting. The hydraulic crane is holding the jib in place while it is being assembled.

Here is a close up of several riggers on the jib. I don't think the harnesses would pass OSHA muster but at least they are tied off.

Another close-up.

I didn't realize it until I went to the web to find out the correct crane part terminology but you can buy crane models at 1:50 scale.

Crane Model

This is a street view from another angle of one of the projects.

This is one of two sites just across 3rd ring road from our apartment. It looks like the have just finished the foundation work on this one as seen in the lower left.

This project, Zhong Guo Zun, is just to the left of the one above. The steel work is still below ground but eventually it will be 108 stories with a total height of 528 meters or 1732 feet. It will be the tallest building in Beijing.

Click to enlarge.

I included this one just for fun. This is the Yintai Center. The SABIC offices are on the 36th floor of the tower on the right.

Here is another shot of the CCTV (China Central Television) building from a different angle.

This shot was taken in mid-July. Compare it to the more recent picture below.

The building under construction on the left side with the red and black cranes will eventually be 58 stories and obscure our view of the penis building and most of the CCTV building.

Penis Building

This shot is from 14 months ago. The building in green scaffolding net above was just a hole in the ground.

Click to enlarge.