Friday, July 29, 2011

Things I like today

Fantastic use of tea towels !
Great design
How many of these can you identify?

Loving these DIY patches for mending

Beautiful dress!

Some of many stunning retro space prints from over here

More Beijing: Tianamen Square and the Forbidden City

I enjoyed visiting the Beijing Police Museum. Whilst few exhibits provide more than basic details in English, it's a fascinating insight into the Chinese policing from it's initial rudimentary origins to combating modern day terrorism. Everything is with a pro-Communist slant which includes early accounts of washing out pro-democracy dissidents. Some of the accounts of confessions and political prisoners, I found quite chilling. In China, crimes against the state (not just murder) and corporate crimes can be subject to capital punishment.

Identity cards are very much in practice in China, even for pets!

We visited Tiananmen Square. It's simply massive! Quite exhausting to walk around but also very interesting. Of course, there's no mention or commemoration of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. When we've mentioned it to Chinese people in the past, they had no knowledge of it.

We also visiting the Forbidden City with it's mind boggling 980 buildings, multiple galleries, gardens, halls and pavillions. Fascinating stuff!

A cute cat I found in the forbidden garden which had the most beautiful pale green eyes. Cats are not common as pets in Beijing.
It was very crowded and quite overwhelming after a while.

Some other things which amused me from my visit to Beijing:

Roses. I also found fruit like apples and oranges individually wrapped in glad wrap.

We went to the 'western tourist' area for dinner one night and I had to laugh to see this t shirt

Sadly I was unable to find a Chairman Mao doll for Pablo the cat (get it?)

Art in Beijing

We visited the Beijing ArtZone, a collection of over 100 galleries in a disused electrics factory. Some simply amazing works of modern art.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Holidays: Beijing-part one

Beijing is a fascinating place. It's more urban than we found Shanghai, yet is still a combination of modern technology and rural basics. Add millions of people, building sites everywhere and massive parks with grass you aren't allowed to sit on and you'll see it's a place full of interesting contradictions.

Our flight to Beijing was literally sickening in that it was woefully hot on the plane and constantly turbulent. Quite challenging and I was extremely glad to depart the plane!
We stayed in the suburbs which gives a great insight into local life outside of the tourist precincts. The area included massive apartment buildings of over 2000 apartments per building and a communal park area.

Our host grew her own vegetables in pots in the window, a great idea!

Modern phones in Beijing

Eating out in Beijing was certainly a challenge. Our greatest successes with veggie food were when we had our hosts with us, otherwise we'd point at a vegetarian dish on a menu and they'd come back with beef noodle soup! I found very few people speak English (fair enough too) which made daily transactions quite exhausting. Pointing, smiling and please and thankyou only get you so far. The dish above was a cold tofu and vegetable dish which was delicious. In general, most vegetable dishes were cold salads or sides rather than a meal in their own right, assuming you could decipher the pictures and chinese characters on menus.

In general, the Chinese food (which differs from region to region) bore little resemblance to what we eat in Australia bar the rice. Meals were often bland or heavily oily which sides of chilli oil and vinegar, no soy sauce in sight. Tofu was typically used only a thickener and served with something else, goose pate anyone? Alcohol at most places was limited to Chinese beer so I had to stock up on Chinese spirits which tasted similar Jaegermeister. The chronic heat meant I was dying for a gin and tonic to no avail hehe.

We did visit a middle eastern restaurant which had a bizarre fusion of Chinese and Middle eastern food. Delicious bread! There were also plenty of roadside bbq carts with omelettes, sausages and the like in the morning, (ahh the joys of not eating eggs either)!

As always, I struggled with the guilt and shame of not speaking the language. I feel embarrassed that I do not learn languages easily.

I found Beijing less frenetic than Shanghai, roads had traffic lights and pedestrian crossings and there was generally signage. Public toilets were amusing, taps and soap (where available) would be operated by a sensor motion yet all the toilets were squat toilets. Somewhat precarious after drinking lots of rice wine and spirits! It was odd, I saw very few western women walking around alone and it was a challenge being stared at and talked about constantly, we even had people taking our photos at some of the tourists site as they are visited by all kinds of people, some of which may never have seen an anglo person in the flesh.

I'll write about some sights and such in my next post...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Things I like today

I was very disappointed when my favourite Pyrex bowl cracked in the microwave the other day....
Loving this bracelet!

Crochet cookies! Insanely cool

Gotta make one of these! They could be awesome in our little Green Renters shop with some variations and tweaks if I could work out an economical way of shipping them

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Things I like today

I'm not entirely sure what the purpose of this is, but it could make a great cat bed DIY style

Ah I do love teapots :)
Just told Chris we're getting some more bunnies!

Loving these glasses. I'm always breaking our glasses!

Button bobby pins are cute and easy to make. They make great gifts

Cute idea to add cosiness to open plan living

Monday, July 11, 2011

Things I like today

I keep meaning to make some of these as I like the way they look ;)

I bought this dress on sale to wear in the UK!

Betty Jo's lino workshop sounds amazing, sadly I'll be overseas but you should all go!

too cute!