White Cloud Temple

2/19 line 1, Muxidi stop, exit C1 (walk past capital museum, turn right down Baiyunlu. Cross the canal, take 2nd left down Baiyunguan Jie. Temple on left.)

Cost: Adult Y10, Kids Y5, 120 cm and under = free (I think… they kept our tickets here)

The mosque was a quick visit, so we also visited the White Cloud Temple (also known as Bai Yun Guan). This is a Daoist temple in Beijing. The Temple Fair here was over, but it was still decorated with lanterns and streamers. Beautiful!

We asked (when I say “we,” I mean Becky because she speaks Mandarin and is super handy to take places) why everyone was touching the horse and the answer was that it would bring success quickly. So we all touched the horse statue. Then there were stone carvings of all the Chinese zodiac animals and people were feeling them and leaving coins. We decided you were probably supposed to leave a coin on your zodiac animal for good luck, so that’s what we did… or at least tried to do. It was hard to get the coins to stay.

I LOVE the circle archways! I think this was one of the kids favorite temples to visit because we could purchase “coins” to throw at the drum hanging from the bridge. We’re planning on going back with B.

Leaving, we walked over a river  that had a little power boat driving through sheets of ice to break it up. Everyone was very interested.

Niujie Mosque

2/19  Line 7, Guang’anmennei stop, SE exit

Cost: Adults Y10, Kids Y5, under 120 cm = free

The Niujie Mosque (also known as the Cow Street Mosque or sometimes Ox Street Mosque, Niu means cattle and Jie is street) is the oldest Mosque in Beijing. We went with the WAs and with my visiting teacher (KD and her husband). It was colder than we had expected, but fun to see, and we found the best sign translation yet in Beijing!

Temple Fair at Ditan Park (Temple of Earth)

2/10  Line 2, Yonghegong Lama Temple stop, exit A

The week following Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) a lot of parks/temples around town have temple fairs. It wasn’t quite what I’d been told it was, more county fair or carnival with game booths than anything else… and crowded, but it was still fun to experience. It was mostly booths selling handicrafts, food or game booths.

We met our friends the WIs (only 3/4 of her kids came) there. They are leaving at the end of March so we wanted to hang out with them as much as we could.

The Chinese woman posing with the giant gorilla above… behind the red rope, got yelled out after I snapped this picture. She crossed the rope, touched the gorilla and had food she was eating. So annoying!

We found yummy Chinese pastries. Squidgems is eating a purple sweet potato “cupcake.” I don’t think it’s technically a mooncake because those are for a festival in September… but it’s the same idea. The fish shaped one is filled with a sugary black sesame seed filling. Both were tasty. We sent some to the US for the Ps to try.

After leaving Ditan Park, we walked by Lama Temple on our way through some hutongs  (small alleys) to go to the Confucious Temple to see about a wishing tree. Admission to the Confucious Temple was higher than I’d planned for and we weren’t sure there was going to be a wishing tree to tie ribbons to, and we were tired, so we headed home.

Squidgems requested I take his picture whenever he found a little spot to sit down.

Hong Kong – Day 2

12/23

Every morning Buddy and I got up, got dressed and went out in the neighborhood in search of bakeries and grocery stores where we could buy breakfast to bring back. The other kids slept in a little (but were usually awake when we returned) and B could start out his morning working on reading, catching up on the news, etc.

 

Buddy is a HUGE fan of 7-Eleven (and their Slurpees) so we’d been excited to find out that

(some of) the 7-Elevens in Hong Kong have Slurpees.

 

Money here is way more exciting than in Beijing. First, instead of dividing by 6 (now 6.5) to get the US price, divide by 8 (or more accurately 7.77). But it looks cooler and they have 1, 2, 5 and 10 dollar coins! So British! B tweeted, “My 1st time in a country w/ competitive note issuance. We’ve had money from 3 different banks so far! Might be the highlight of my trip!”

Buddy and I, along with breakfast-like foods, also brought back new candy to try. For some reason, there is no Cadbury chocolate in Beijing so we were excited to have it in Hong Kong.

A lot of the stuff we wanted to do (Big Buddha and Victoria Peak) involved being able to see a view. The air pollution in Hong Kong wasn’t bad (compared to Beijing) but it wasn’t great and add to that fog, so we skipped both of these destinations. Victoria Peak is where the post card pictures of Hong Kong everyone is used to seeing is taken from. It would have been nice, but we’d only be looking at fog.

Outside our hotel there was a double decker tram stop (in Hong Kong, they are called ding dings by the locals because of the bell sound they make). This was super fun for everyone.

 On the tram around Hong Kong Island.

 

 

Our first stop was the Central-Mid-Levels Escalators on Hong Kong Island. In the morning, they go down (toward the northern coast of the island) and the rest of the day they go up. It’s a series of maybe eight escalators.

Next would have been Victoria Peak but instead we walked around a bit (making our way back down from the Escalator’s top) and made our way toward Star Ferry to ferry across to the mainland part of Hong Kong.

 

Next, exploring Tsim Sha Tsui, Mongkok and Kowloon areas of Hong Kong. We wandered around looking for lunch and ended up getting a variety of pork buns (zhu par bao or maybe Char Xin), pineapple buns (bo lo bao), cocktail buns (coconut -guy may bow), egg tarts, etc. from a bakery. Then we made our way to the subway and headed toward the Hong Kong LDS Temple.

I wish I’d gotten a picture of our little camera tripod wrapped precariously around a street sign pole in order to capture a self-timer picture of our family in front of the temple.

It was late afternoon by now and we were pretty warn out (and pretty far away from our hotel), so we headed back to Hong Kong Island, had dinner (at Uncle 4… picture below), got Slurpees at 7-Eleven and tried some new candy.

 

 Once we got the kids in bed, B started flipping through different tv stations and came across a live horse race in Hong Kong. Our hotel was right next to the Happy Valley Racecourse so we looked out the window. The track was lit, but we could only see 1/4 of the track so we had to wait until the next race started on tv and then watch for horses outside. Sure enough, it was live from our race track!