Thursday, July 28, 2011

China sights! - Beijing and Tian Shan

Some busy days, some quiet days here in China this week. We have been to Beijing before, but took the opportunity to go to a few places like Tienanmen Square and the Forbidden City Palace area, which are always so thought-provoking. And the last evening we went with our friends Sophie and Julia to the Bird's Nest area of the 2008 Olympics. It was great to be with them. The days were hot and visibility was down to half a mile or so because of smog and haze. We took some days to rest, read, think, and do some internet. You would think internet would be super here in China, but it is intermittent, perhaps because of the government's heavy involvement in the oversight of it all!

Before our time in Beijing, Kathy and I spent a few more days with Shakira and Wang Feng in Tangshan last week, going to some restaurants and a quick visit to a small fishing port. I found the port so interesting because there was nothing "touristy" about it... only the normal going out and coming in of fishing boats hauling in their crab catches and whatever else they fish.

Now Kathy and I are in Shan Yin in Shanxi province, visiting Shakira and Wang Feng for a few more days. Tomorrow we head for Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia, north of Beijing.

Inside the Forbidden City

I like his haircut. How would I look with the same? :)

Kathy inside the Forbidden City

Our friend Sophie who was so kind to us while in Beijing

A common sight in China. I love the lights, the colors, the old look...

Some fishing boats near Tangshan

Wang Feng and others we were with in Tangshan

A boy, happy to catch a crab in the mud... :)

Our friend Wang Feng

Sophie, Kathy and I went to an acrobatics show while in Beijing

The Bird's Nest in Beijing, home of the 2008 Olympics

Sophie, Kathy, Julia and me at the Bird's Nest

A boy selling kites at the Olympic Park area

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Our Friends' Wedding in Tangshan, China

Kathy and I flew to Beijing from our home in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia last Thursday. We have been to China 5 or 6 times before, but this time seems different. I think it is because now we live in Asia and it only takes 2 hours to fly here. And perhaps the novelty of things has worn off a bit because we have lived in Mongolia for a little more than 3 months now. Anyway, it is great to be here.

Our first stop was the city of Tangshan, southeast of Beijing about 2 hours by car. Our friends Shakira and Wang Feng live there. We had the privilege of being honored guests at their wedding. Fabulous!!! Shakira is like a daughter to us, and she calls us her American Mom and Dad. We learned more of Chinese customs regarding family and marriage. Shakira invited us to be with her and her family in the room where preparations were made for the arrival of Wang Feng when he would pledge his commitment and faithfulness to her. It was both a fun and serious time for everyone, especially Shakira and Wang Feng. And I was able to take a bunch of photos of the proceedings.

I have posted photos here of the preparations, the arrival of Wang Feng, the drive to the wedding at a magnificent new hotel, and the reception there. I have posted so many of the wedding to give you a flavor for a segment of Chinese life. Kathy and I love Shakira and Wang Feng, and wish them the very best!! There families treated us like royalty for the day we were there!

Now we are in Beijing for several more days before we head to Shanxi with Shakira and Wang Feng for a reception in Shakira’s home town next weekend. We are having a time to rest, visit some friends, meet new friends, and take care of things here. I will post photos of our time in Beijing in the near future.

Kathy and I at the hotel the wedding took place in

Shakira ... the bride ... our friend... :)

A friend of Shakira preparing some traditional food

Shakira ready for the arrival of Wang Feng

Shakira;s maid of honor on the right and one of her best friends on the left

My dear Kathy!

Shakira's maid of honor

Shakira waits while the others keep Wang Feng out until he makes the promises

Wang Feng is let in after he has made his promises of commitment!

Shakira accepts the bouquet and Wang Feng's pledge

Shakira and Wang Feng have the traditional meal with Shakira's family

Fireworks set off by friends and family in front of their apartment!

The couple received gifts from friends and family at their apartment

Next stop... the hotel where the reception will be

The wedding party goes in. The couple had made posters of themselves for the entry

Me a day earlier next to a ship in the hotel