Wednesday, March 10, 2010

China Diary Day 2 Temple of Heaven and Chinese Opera

It's Wednesday and... it's time for our midweek escape to China! See all posts here.

On our second day we decided to cover more attractions: Temple of Heaven, National Museum of China which is located at Tiananmen Square and the art gallery. I honestly can't remember which gallery we chose, there are several in Beijing, it had to be a bigger one... Regardless, this is an ambitious agenda, let's see how we did.

We asked the hotel staff how to take the public bus, they were so helpful they even drew a map to show where we can take our bus. Each bus ticket costs 1 RMB, that's 14 cents Canadian. Each bus station has a sign that lists the stops and on the bus there is an LED sign that says in English the name of the next stop.

There is a short walk from the bus stop to the temple. We saw a street cleaner, the green characters on the side say 'The Queen of Street Sweeping'.
A bike at a construction site, equipped with mechanical remedies of sorts, with the characters 'Repair Car' painted in red.
At the Temple of Heaven, we were greeted by rows and rows of trees. The air was cool and very refreshing, we felt so relaxed we wished we had not planned such a busy day.

A visitor told us she frequents the garden daily, as do many locals. Since she is retired, she receives an annual pass from the government. Her visits are free to every state run park in China.
A bird species we encountered. I do not know it's name, but am completely engrossed. It looked like the ones from Chinese paintings. As it flew, its long tails flutter in the breeze, so pretty.One of several rows of roses that lined the park, alas it is not as fragrant as it looks.
A walkway that leads us to the main temple. There are 3 white lines, in the olden days the one in the middle is reserved for the Emperor. When I walked down this centre lane, I felt I'm on top of the world!
And finally the main temple where the Emperor prayed each year for good harvests.
Some shots of architectural detail. The row of dragon heads that used to spout out water.

A fancy looking door, looks like it was newly painted.
A close up of the roof, it is blue in color to symbolize Heaven.
One of the legs of a metal vessel, the urn is about 4 feet tall.
We left the Temple of Heaven and arrived at the National Museum of China to find it closed for renovation. We skipped the gallery too as it was already 4 pm so we returned to the hotel to ready ourselves for some evening entertainment.

Earlier in the day we had asked the hotel staff about Chinese Opera. A quick phone call to the tourism board resulted in more bus instructions to the Beijing Theatre Museum, also called Huguang Guild Hall or Huguang HuiGuan in Mandarin. Built in the 1800's, it is one of the best preserved halls that is a museum by day and theatre by night. We sat in the last third section of the theatre, for 200 RMB per ticket we can see the stage very well.

Here is a snippet of the show we saw that night. Click on the picture and a new window will pop up, press play to see. Thank you David for shooting the video.
Despite missing out on some venues, we had a splendid day. We enjoyed our visit to the park very much and was delighted to see a traditional opera performance befitting of China's past.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, amazing details. I especially like the blue roof.