Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Picture a Week | 20/52

Baby O is ready for work! Well maybe not ready for work, he probably needs pants but it has been way to hot/humid around here for pants. Baby O is currently obsessed with trying on our shoes (and our friends shoes too). 

A Picture a Week | 19/52

Baby O has recently decided that he would like to help with the groceries, sometimes "helping" also means that he gets to have a snack on the way home.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Weekend in Beijing: Forbidden City & Slow Boat Brewery

Our next day in Beijing was mostly spent at the Forbidden city. That place is massive! Like oh my goodness when does it end huge! It was also really interesting to see. I could have done with a few less people, but in a city of 21.5 million you just have to get used to it.

Before heading into the Forbidden City we walked around in Tiananmen Square.
This is the back side of the building in the above picture.
There was a lot of walking (and people stopping to look at Baby O) and two check points to get to this point and we hadn't even gotten our tickets yet. Tickets in hand and we had one more security check point to go though before getting into the Forbidden City. There wasn't much information or signage around the city, I wish that I had done some research before visiting. J had visited a month prior and decided this time he would get the audio tour. He said that it wasn't as informative as he had hopped.
We entered the Forbidden City though the Meridian Gate to an enormous courtyard. There is a stream going through it called the 'Golden Stream' with five bridges going over it. We headed to the west side of the courtyard to visit the calligraphy and painting gallery in the Hall of Martial Valor (middle picture above).
Next we passed though the Gate of Supreme Harmony to the heart of the Forbidden City. Baby O and I are standing in front of the Hall of Supreme Harmony. This is the largest and most important building in the Forbidden City.
At the very back of the Forbidden City there is a garden. It was similar to other Chinese gardens. We got an ice cream and enjoyed a little bit of shade before leaving the city.

We were in need of a good beer after all that walking we did, so we walked some more to Slow Boat Brewery. The beer was good and the air conditioning was great! Baby O loved being out of the carrier and walking around the small bar.
We had a great time in Beijing, but we will definitely need to go back. There are SO many things we didn't get to: Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven Park and the Capitol Museum just to name a few.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A weekend in Beijing: The Great Wall & Yonghe Temple

At the beginning of June J had a meeting in Beijing so Baby O and I decided to tag along. We stayed the weekend and got to do some sight seeing (we still have a ton of Beijing to see). I'm going to write this in a few different posts to keep them each a reasonable length.

Our first full day of sight seeing we were up bright and early to head to the Great Wall! We went to the Mutianyu section of the wall. It was an hour and a half car ride, but it was well worth the early wake up. There were very few people on the wall and it was a beautiful sunny day.
This section of the Great Wall is one of the preserved sections of the wall. It used to serve as a barrier to defend the capital and imperial tombs from the north. This section was first built in the mid-6th century and then rebuilt in 1569. The wall was mainly constructed with granite. It is approximately 23-28 feet tall and 13-16 feet wide.
The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall has a few unique characteristics. There are 22 watch towers on the 1.4 mile section of wall. From the watchtowers guards could fire at the enemy on both side, which isn't possible at many other locations on the wall.
That afternoon we walked through Ditan Park. I didn't take any pictures, but it was a nice park. It would have been a good spot for Baby O to run around, but he happened to be napping. We also went to Yonghe Temple as it is just across the street from the park.
The Yonghe Temple, also called the lama temple, is a temple and monastery for Tibetan Buddhism. While we were visiting there were many people there to pray as well as tourist. The buildings are all beautiful with vibrant colors.

Monday, July 13, 2015

A picture A Week | 18/52

Just standing on the step and looking out the window with friends. 

A Picture a Week | 17/52

We have definitely entered toddlerhood at this house! Below Baby O was screaming at the door to the kitchen because I put the broken broom back in the kitchen and wouldn't let him play with it.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Tongli Watertown

At the beginning of June we spent the afternoon in Tongli. This little water town is a thirty minute drive from Suzhou. (You can also take the bus from Suzhou or Shanghai.) There is an admission fee of 90 Yuan (about 14.50 USD) which gets you into the town and most of the attractions.
We spent the day walking along the canals, wandering in gardens, stopping in museums and of course taking pictures. The museums were small and not all of them had English descriptions. I believe you can hire an English speaking tour guide, but I am not sure the cost of this.
We spent about 15 minutes getting lost wandering around trying to find a garden. We ended up on a dead end, upon turning around we were greeted by the group in the below picture. At least two of these girls had been following us for a while probably thinking we are crazy as we went in circles. (Yes, we did finally find the garden we were looking for.)
While we were in the garden we saw the woman in the picture below getting pictures taken. We had pasted a few photography shops where you could dress up and then take pictures around town. Think black and white western themed pictures, just Chinese style. We also saw a small pagoda and many very hungry koi!
We ended our day in Tongli with a boat ride around the canals. The boat ride is a separate fee not included in the original entrance ticket. This was neat, but probably my least favorite part of the day. I felt uneasy on the small boat (J assured me it was perfectly safe) but I felt like I was going to fall in the (icky) water (I'm not a fan of water when I can't see the bottom, just as my family) and halfway through our "captain" asked if we wanted to pay to see some birds fly around (I'm also not a fan of birds).




Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Picture a Week | 16/52

Last week we were in Japan visiting family and doing some sightseeing. I couldn't decide between these two pictures (even though both of them are slightly blurry) so I am posting both.
At the train station in Hiroshima
Playing at the park after picking his cousin up from daycare.

A Picture a Week | 15/52

Just hanging out with all his toys.

A Picture a Week | 14/52

I know, I know I am way behind on posting weekly photos of Baby O (and everything else that we have been up to). We've been busy. Week 14's picture was taken on our flight to Beijing.