Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Old And New

IMG_4093, originally uploaded by yellojkt.

The Minority Ethnic Park has many building that are built in the style of traditional homes and temples. This building overlooking a beautifully landscaped lake has modern high-rise apartment buildings visible through the omnipresent Beijing haze.

Birds Nest Haze

P1000779, originally uploaded by yellojkt.

The Ethnic Minority Park is adjacent to the sight of the Olympic (aka Birds Nest) Stadium. Because of the haze inherent in Beijing, it is barely visible through the landscaping from most places in the park.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Vietnamese Ethnic Group

P1000829, originally uploaded by yellojkt.

Most of China's minority ethnic groups are on the border areas that have not always been Chinese territory. This group called the Jing is shown wearing a native dress that bears more than a mild resemblance to the ao dai worn in Viet Nam.

More about the Jing can be read here which also has information on all 55 official minority groups.

56 Ethnic Groups

IMG_4192, originally uploaded by yellojkt.

The Chinese love statistics and one that is commonly bandied about is that China has 56 ethnic groups. The majority of Chinese are Han, but the other groups are scattered around the country.

This chart at the Ethnic Minority Park lists them by region and shows typical native dress for each group.

For a more legible version of this picture see the original 8 megapixel version of the picture.

Ethnic Minority Park

IMG_4024, originally uploaded by yellojkt.

One of the tourist attractions in Beijing is the Ethnic Minority Park. This cut-rate EPCOT style theme park is divided into different regions. In each region the local native dress and ethnic dances are shown and demonstrated.

I have tn true translation of the sign in this sign so I'm a little curious what the exact translation of the park name is.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tienanmen Square Guard

IMG_3561, originally uploaded by yellojkt.

A soldier is standing at attention in Tienanmen Square in front of the iconic portrait of Mao at the entrance to the Forbidden City. There were small groups of soldiers or police around the square. On a later drive-by we noticed a formation of military equipment for a parade or ceremony.

Drilling Soldiers

IMG_3511, originally uploaded by yellojkt.

Small groups of soldiers can be found in many parts of the city conducting marching drills. These soldiers are on a parade ground near the entrance to the Forbidden City and by Tiananmen Square. Small groups of eight to ten soldiers would do different drills on a rotating basis. These soldiers are practicing marching in formation.

Martial Arts Drills

IMG_3515, originally uploaded by yellojkt.

These Chinese soldiers are drilling with batons. The movements closely resemble tai chi or some other type of martial arts practice.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Tall Steps at the Forbidden City

IMG_3468, originally uploaded by yellojkt.

This building is one of the central temple buildings within the Forbidden City. The large decorative stone to the side is a single block of stone over 100 feet long weighing over 200 tons.

Large Stone Carving Sign

IMG_3467, originally uploaded by yellojkt.

Knowing that I would not remember all the details about the Large Stone Carving, I took a picture of this sign explaining its size and history.

The mind boggling feature of it is that it weighs over 200 tons and was brought to the Forbidden City by dragging it over a frozen pathway during the winter.

Large Stone Carving

IMG_3462, originally uploaded by yellojkt.

One of the frequent decorative features of Chinese temples and palaces is a large stone carving that is part of the steps up to the building. This one at the Forbidden City is the largest in Beijing and weighs over 200 tons. It is intricately carved with dragons and other symbols.

This picture is taken at a very low angle looking up the steps.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

China Pandas

IMG_3733, originally uploaded by yellojkt.

The Beijing Zoo which is a wonderful large spacious park-like oasis in the city has five pandas as part of the panda habitat. The panda area requires a separate admission ticket, but is well worth it. The pandas have indoor and outdoor areas and could be in either. Like pandas the world over, they seem to be camera shy and like to find secluded spaces to rest in.

Sleeping Panda

P1000506, originally uploaded by yellojkt.

On hot summer days, pandas do what they do most days, sleep. This panda is inside the main panda building taking a rest by his supply of bamboo.