Wednesday, September 17, 2008

another corner of the Forbidden City

The Forbidden City (故宫) is so impressive, and its main buildings and areas so worth exploring over and over, that it's easy to forget how massive and intricate it really is and that it's really worth taking a peek at those sections where the throngs of tourists set foot not.

So, here you have, that other side of the Forbidden City, a side you won't find that often in photos because, really, it's only after many visits to the really important stuff that you can make some time for the also beautiful, but not so famous...

Like canals, bridges, weeping willows...

An ancient dictionary exhibition! (needless to say, this was almost without doubt my favourite part!)

And gorgeous, peaceful, colourful courtyards...

And a royal theatre! The Pavilion of Pleasant Sounds (畅音阁). Isn't it absolutely gorgeous?

All in a pleasant September afternoon around the less visited  parts of the Forbidden City.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Paralympic Judo!

Why, we were not going to miss the Paralympics, right? We got tickets for Judo with visually challenged competitors!

All I can say is we were in awe. Because of the technical skill of the athletes. Because of the added element of touch superseding sight. And, yes, I admit it, because of the impressive physique of the competitors. Absolutely loved it! 

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Olympics Post part IV - the video-fest!

Here are most of my videos from the Olympics: sports, venues, partying! and even one of the closing ceremony! (it's the very last one, at the bottom, and was actually taken and edited by my habib)

This entry's a bit different from previous ones, it's main aim is, well, just to have some Olympic mad fun. No need to watch all the videos. Consider this some sort of "vidstallation" (nice made up word, hey?).

Monday, September 01, 2008

Qianmen - the front gate

What do you do when it's a gorgeous late summer day with blue skies? And by the way, thank you Summer Olympics for making the Chinese government shut down factories, restrict traffic and limit people's movements as needed in order to secure minimal pollution and allow blue days to happen again! Why use a bottom-up model and let people question and demonstrate against unsound ecological practices when you can use a top-down model and simply decree blue skies?

But I digress. So, gorgeous days. Well, we headed first to Qianmen (前门), the front gate guarding the southern side of the Forbidden City. I can't believe how beautiful these buildings look with blue skies! Amazing! I don't think I'd ever seen it like this!

And you know what else was great? Qianmen Avenue (前门大街)! This is a recently renovated and pedestrianized street (as many other things, done as part of the showcasing of Beijing during the Olympics), and though most of the buildings have yet to open and fill up with shops and restaurants, it's really nice to be able to walk around, look at the architecture, and enjoy the views of Qianmen in the distance. 

Thank you, blue skies. Thank you, renovations. Sorry for all your trouble, citizens.