We caught a taxi a little after noon and headed to one of the most popular entertainment districts in town, which strangely I’ve never visited before. When we got out of the taxi, the first thing we saw was how Beijingers make use of their lakes in the winter time.
This is Qianhai, one of a series of lakes west of the Forbidden City. It’s just north of Beihai, which I wrote about a while ago. They have chairs mounted on rails, and propel themselves with metal poles.
There are also ice skates for rent. I like the tricycles parked on the ice. Off in the distance, straight beyond the skate vendor in the chair, you can see that even the ice chairs can be tricky to control. That’s a woman down on the ice with a man helping her.
This part of town is highly commercialized, with old-style hutong buildings renovated into trendy restaurants and night clubs.
Here you can see one of the ice chairs better, as well as one of the other contraptions they rent, a pedal-powered ice cycle.
The north end of Qianhai turns into a little channel that connects to the next lake in the chain, Houhai. The banks of the channel are crowded with shops, restaurants and bars.
I saw these decorations in the window of one of the restaurants.
We came across these guys, who had just finished with a swim in Houhai.
From the end of the lake you can see all the way to the China World Trade Center Tower that’s being built.
I am going to have to come back to this place when it’s warmer. You’ve got Aladdin, Nilotic Monkey, and the Water Nymph Café, and some nifty Egyptian style decorations.
And here are the namesakes for the little island in the background, Wild Duck Island.
After completing our circuit of Qianhai and Houhai, we found a taxi to take us to Ditan Park, which held the big festival I visited last year. SJ is heading back to the US tomorrow, so I suggested it as a good place to get a real look at China celebrating their biggest holiday.
For the most part, it looked very similar to last year, so you can just go back to the old post for pictures. This time we arrived earlier in the day than last year, so there were a few things I missed last time round.
Like people burning incense at an old religious site. Ditan was the Temple of Earth opposite the more famous Temple of Heaven. There are also temples of the Sun and Moon to complete the four sides.
We were in time to catch some of the entertainment. This group played traditional instruments along with an electronic backing track. And to be honest, they could have been playing along with the whole arrangement for all I could tell.
And here’s a little emperor being conveyed around by his loyal servants.
I took this standing at the intersection of two major paths in the park.
That made for a pretty tiring day, so I came home and threw some veggies in a pot with water and chicken bouillon to make a soup. I watched a bit of the CCTV Gala rerun and started organizing the day’s pictures.
This notice in my building’s lobby is how the management office greeted us for the holiday:
Spring Festival is approaching, our property department officer send our best wishes to you!
Spring Festival period, strengthens the safe guard work, asks you to come in and out of the building on own initiative to carry access card. Regarding the visit visitor, like is unable to determine the concrete room number, the great hall security temporarily does not give the gate and informs the property department to carry on the inquiry, the relation. Holiday period like you egress, please close, the windows and doors, the engineering department can help you to closes the electric circuit, the closure water supply pipe valve, please leave your urgent telephone at the property department.
The weather in Beijing is dry and windy, so it is very easy for the plants in and around our mansion to catch fire if they meet spark. To ensure our owners/residents have a neat and safe living environment, our management office kindly advise you not to ignite firecracker when you celebrate the Spring Festival with you family. You can ignite firecracker at designated locations outside the south gate of the east gate.
Thanks for your cooperation
Wish you to have a happy and healthy holidays!
I’m guessing this was translated from the Chinese original by Google.