China 1

travel china

I went to Beijing to work on fuel cell research along with some American students.

Arrival and Beijing Zoo

After two weeks of travelling in Korea and Taiwan I arrived in Beijing ready to start research. So I met the other Americans in my program and we went to the zoo.

2011-05-17 I spend a lot of time in airports on this trip. A LOT of time. PEK is a nice airport, and I could easily spend a long layover in it again. Except for the music, it gets in your head. They need more songs in the playlist. This bumped Seoul up to my favourite airport for layovers. photo credit - Ashley

2011-05-18 The first night with most of us present (John was busy with a wedding and arrived a couple days late) we wandered around just outside of the school to get our bearings. We loved this car, which was rare but I saw more than one during my stay. photo credit - Ashley

2011-05-19 One of our first priorities on arrival was to find mobile phones. Conveniently, we were introduced to Frank (in the middle), who took fantastic care of us during the trip. This photo is me, Taylor, Frank, Ashley, and Holden. photo credit - Carl

2011-05-19 Frank did not want to come to the zoo with us. We had passed the zoo earlier that day, so we took the same bus back, and after wandering for half an hour, we arrived at the front entrance just before close. Pictured is me, Holden, Taylor, Ashley, and Carl.

2011-05-19 We passed a KFC with delivery bikes outside. I've seen many of these bikes in Korea and Taiwan, so I felt like a huge tourist while everyone posed next to the bikes.

2011-05-20 The next day there was a lunch with all of the grad students of the lab which we work in. Not everyone is in this photo because a bunch of guys were accidently locked in the bathroom for fifteen minutes, which scored us a fruit platter!

2011-05-20 Here is everyone finally at the table and ready to eat.

2011-05-20 After lunch we headed over to the zoo again, now that we were told about the North gate next to our school. Here is an advert for the aquarium which we never went to. photo credit - Carl

2011-05-20 Carl, Ashley, and Taylor paid to feed the giraffes, and spent ten minutes looking for photo ops. It was fun.

2011-05-20 Here is the old monkey house, next to the new one. Quite a few exhibits were similar to this where the exhibit is closed and just becomes overgrown.

2011-05-20 These little carts were our first run in with Xǐ Yáng Yáng, the children's cartoon character. Xǐ Yáng Yáng would become Ashley's adopted name, and would become a source of much enjoyment for us.

2011-05-20 These stone tortoises were optimal for pictures, however there were fewer of them than the stone elephants, so they were in much higher demand. I like the guy on the back of the tortoise.

2011-05-20 The big cats were kept in close proximity, however signs like this left me quite confused. I'm sure the problem is that I cannot read Chinese.

2011-05-20 Here is the biggest of the big cats. Unfortunately, he is fossilized and I could not read signs to figure out when he went extinct. Also fun: at the bottom of this photograph, that is real razor wire in the zoo. It adds a nice look to the statue.

Tiananmen Square

Probably the most famous landmark in Beijing is Tiananmen Square, so we stopped by and paid Chairman Mao a visit.

2011-05-21 Before leaving for Tiananmen Square we stopped in the school store. Here is both Red Bull and Red Bull Extra, I struggled to tell the difference. I think the Extra version has more carbonation.

2011-05-21 Leaving the South gate of the university we saw a lot of commotion and went to take a closer look. There was a massive book sale going on, people would lie out a blanket with a bunch of textbooks (around 50) and sell them. I didn't see any in English photo credit - Holden

2011-05-21 Here we are in front of the Forbidden City photo credit - Carl

2011-05-21 A panorama of Tiananmen Square, showing the Forbidden City, National Museum of China, Monument to the People's Heroes, and The Great Hall of the People.

2011-05-21 Everyone in front of the Monument to the People's Heroes

2011-05-21 Here is the line outside of Chairman Mao's tomb. It wrapped around the whole building, but went rapidly, taking around half an hour to see Mao. photo credit - Carl

2011-05-21 Mao's tomb did not allow flip flops in, and we didn't know, so we were initially turned away. Luckily as we were returning to get our things from the lockers outside we saw some Australians who were throwing out these cheap shoes as they had run into the same problem. The shoes I inherited were much too small, and I had my sandals under my shirt in my belt, making for an awkward viewing of Mao. photo credit - Holden

2011-05-21 We were getting hungry and left Tiananmen Square looking for food. Never found it, but we managed to arrive at the Temple of Heaven. In the back of this photo, the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests can be seen. photo credit - Holden

2011-05-21 Here is a proper look at the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests.

2011-05-21 The Temple of Heaven includes multiple halls and is a very massive complex. Especially when everyone's feet are tired. Unfortunately, I was being a terrible leader because I had just walked about in Korea and Taiwan, so I never needed to stop. This is the Imperial Vault of Heaven.

2011-05-21 After a long day we headed to the closest metro station, and next to it was a Pearl Market with lots of stuff for sale. More importantly there was this Yoshinoya where we ate, which thrilled me because I wanted to try them in Taiwan but Jeff refused because they are also in California.

2011-05-21 After getting off of the metro, I tried to take the shortest route home, which ended us separated from our school by railroad tracks. We tried to cut across by way of some small alleys, but everyone felt nervous and when we met a fence, we turned around. I don't know why this is such a nice neighbourhood pictured. photo credit - Ashley

2011-05-21 Finally once we returned to school we saw the remains of the book sale we witnessed in the morning - this truck filled with books. photo credit - Holden

The China Science and Technology Museum

While I was ready to walk for miles after Korea and Taiwan, not everyone wanted to repeat a day on our feet after accidentally seeing so many major landmarks the day before, so we went to the China Science and Technology Museum, and met Jon for the first time.

2011-05-22 Here is a picture of Holden and Jon with a tourist who wanted to be in a picture.

2011-05-22 This display was at the front of the museum which snagged our attention straight away. photo credit - Holden

2011-05-22 Here is a cool multi-story DNA helix made of people. It helps show how large this building is. photo credit - Holden

2011-05-22 There seemed to be hundreds of these girls in the museum wearing matching wind breakers, and they all wanted my photo! photo credit - Ashley

2011-05-22 I discovered my true calling while in China.

2011-05-22 Here is DDR for building DNA sequences. The magic of life at work!

2011-05-22 It's magic, I swear! photo credit - Carl

2011-05-22 Everything is bigger in China. photo credit - Taylor

2011-05-22 These are transmission cubes, with a shaft sticking out of two sides, and can be hooked up to find various gearing. Quite cool.

2011-05-22 Here is an example of one of the first electric motors, which uses a mercury bath for a mobile conductive surface. I'm sure that isn't real mercury exposed to a museum atmosphere, right?

2011-05-22 An Aerotrim for your pleasure. photo credit - Holden

2011-05-22 We came and went via the Olympic Park Metro and crossed this bridge on our travels. It was flooded ankle deep, with a path provided for those of us who don't want to take off our shoes.

2011-05-22 The Olympic Park is serious about their grass. photo credit - Ashley


The next week we spend around campus and visited Houhai a few times, which is a Lake surrounded by a thriving nightlife.

2011-05-22 Pineapple on a stick is tasty, however it is even better when carved into a spiral. photo credit - Carl

2011-05-23 For Ashley's birthday we went out and found Ashley's friend Ashley and wandered around in Houhai. Here is everyone trying to get a snack, with our new Ashley in front.

2011-05-24 Here is where I did my research. My group was looking at water condensation from a humid vapor stream in fuel cell operating conditions.

2011-05-24 Here is the other group's research, looking at cold operating conditions of the fuel cell. photo credit - Holden

2011-05-24 Our rooms lacked a proper refrigerator, so I build turned my air conditioner into a swamp cooler for two beverages of your choice. It was surprisingly effective although my air conditioner struggled with the concept of cold air.

2011-05-24 This game is popular in China, here is Dr. Wang demonstrating her expertize on the subject.

2011-05-24 We would play ping pong at night with some other graduate students. photo credit - Ashley

2011-05-24 Here is all the ping pongites, except for me, I'm busy taking the photo.

2011-05-25 Bad idea. photo credit - Ashley

2011-05-25 Here is everyone lined up outside of MIX. On the left is Achang, who frequents MIX, and in the middle is Jobs, who worked in the same building as us.

2011-05-25 Practicing being bouncers.

2011-05-27 I had met Youyang (left) on the flight over from Chicago. We met up and we returned to Houhai to eat hot pot. It was great having Youyang and her friend Zhang (right) there to help with eating, as hot pot is so user intensive.

2011-05-27 Here is a proper photograph of the hot pot. The middle is filled with hot coals to heat the water, and food is placed around to cook. I was thrilled by the pyramid of lamb pictured here. photo credit - Holden

2011-05-27 After eating hot pot we went to a KTV establishment, which is karaoke, except you rent a private room for the night. It was a blast, although I am terrible at singing. That won't stop me from auditioning for American Idol when it returns! photo credit - Ashley

2011-05-27 We realized that it was approaching sunrise, and we were near Tiananmen Square, so we hurried over to see the flag raising. If you are considering viewing the flag raising, you probably know what will happen already (the flag goes up), and it is really early in the morning! photo credit - Ashley

Summer Palace

The Summer Palace was the next major landmark we made an excursion to. If you want to see pictures of it search Wikipedia instead; it was quite cloudy when we went.

2011-05-29 The North Gate of the Summer Palace, look at all the people! Always in my pictures! photo credit - Holden

2011-05-29 This is an outcrop of rocks where everyone was taking portraits. I could put a picture of one of my friends for the world to see, or I could demonstrate this setting with complete strangers! It diversifies my website. photo credit - Ashley

2011-05-29 Holden broke away and took this picture of us from above in our natural element. photo credit - Holden

2011-05-29 Here is Holden separated from the group!

2011-05-29 I had to include this photo because our smiles look so forced. I assure you, by the end of the trip Taylor and I became best friends! Like a family.

2011-05-29 Another photograph showing how we are all friends! Although if Jon was in my family, he would probably be that crazy Uncle who everyone secretly hopes won't make it to the reunion this year. photo credit - Ashley

2011-05-29 Yup, crazy. I definitely had nothing to do with this photograph. photo credit - Holden

2011-05-29 I don't know why I have so many pictures of Jon. photo credit - Ashley

2011-05-29 These guys are so nice, they let me take my mobile phone out of my pocket before kicking me in the lake. photo credit - Ashley

2011-05-29 A panorama shot of the Garden of Harmonious Interests (Xiequyuan).

2011-05-29 I don't know how I ended up in this predicament, but Holden's first reaction is to document it. photo credit - Holden

2011-05-29 Don't worry, Jon has my back. photo credit - Ashley

2011-05-29 At the North Gate you can walk down to Suzhou Street, with a bunch of vendors along its banks. Pop quiz, can you find Carl in this photograph? Here is a hint: he purchased a fan during our Summer Palace travels.

Around the University

Photos from around school after the Summer Palace.

2011-05-29 We attempted to eat some American food every Sunday. Pizza Hut was in the metro station close to us, so we ate there a few times. The menu is different, putting things like corn on a pizza!

2011-05-30 This is the cafeteria where we normally ate. Dinner was usually not crowded, so we took this photo with the staff. They were so patient with us as there were no pictures on the menu and we didn't know how to read. A few times I just guessed at which one I want.

2011-05-31 Clear days are rare, but they do happen in Beijing. So I walked around campus and took photos. This is the central pond.

2011-05-31 When entering from the South Gate you meet this statue.

2011-05-31 Mao was just outside our hotel.

2011-05-31 This is overlooking the central green area of school. The red building in the middle is the library.

2011-05-31 We returned to MIX again, this time we went with Achang and Comic.

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is a short train ride from Beijing.

2011-06-03 Here you can see the older train car and China's home grown high-speed train which we rode on. photo credit - Carl

2011-06-03 On the way to the Great Wall we passed some Type 88 Main Battle Tanks loaded on train cars. photo credit - Holden

2011-06-03 A HMMWV knock off, although I don't know which one. I enjoy reminding everyone who sees this picture that the chassis is probably American made - most Hummer knock offs are.

2011-06-03 This has everything I could ever want, build right into the name.

2011-06-03 Can you spot Carl in this photo? There he is: it looks like Ashley and Carl wanted to buy hats and forgot to tell us.

2011-06-30 We took this photo while waiting for Carl and Ashley. I was so excited to go to the Great Wall of China with my best friends! photo credit - Taylor

2011-06-03 We made it to the Great Wall!

2011-06-03 I love panorama shots!

2011-06-03 Ashley is blonde, so she is everyone's favourite to take photos with.

2011-06-03 During my Korea travels I made a rule to always take the cable car if offered, as there is probably a good reason for a cable car.

2011-06-03 Sticking out of one of the guard towers. photo credit - Jon

2011-06-03 Ashley loves jumping photos and made this happen. The nice thing about the Great Wall is there are plenty of Americans you can ask to take your photo.

Video of walking on the Great Wall!

2011-06-03 There are very steep portions of the Great Wall which make it difficult to walk down. Luckily I'm an expert at walking. photo credit - Holden

2011-06-03 Even with my walking expertize, Holden and I searched for more innovative ways of navigating the Great Wall. Sliding down the handrails is VERY effective, and lots of fun. I'm sure that is how ancient defenders of the wall deployed rapidly. photo credit - Jon

2011-06-03 He who has never been to the Great Wall is not a true man photo credit - Jon

2011-06-30 I got to fly my kite on the Great Wall. It was windy, however flying the kite was difficult because I was on a wall, and the air wrapped around very oddly. Click to watch a video! photo credit - Taylor

2011-06-03 Finishing the Great Wall trips with a group photo!

2011-06-03 Bears! The Great Wall feels like a huge tourist trap in many places.

2011-06-03 Get ready!

Barry de jia

This is when we discovered our regular hang out location. The owner reminded us of Barry Manilow, so we named the location Barry de jia (Barry's house).

2011-06-03 Here is the cuisine, lamb on a stick and cold beer. A great way to end the day. I think we only ate four items from the menu, and just kept coming back to the lamb. photo credit - Ashley

2011-06-03 I'm at dinner with two beautiful women!

2011-06-03 There might have also been three other guys with us. photo credit - Ashley

Lama Temple and Olympic Park

Another major site to see in Beijing is the Lama Temple. If you only see one holy temple, this is probably the best choice. We weren't supposed to take photos, but some people did.

2011.06.4 Whenever you read about a famous temple it will claim to have the largest Buddha*. A disclaimer is required because there are many Buddah statues, such as the largest sitting Buddha, tallest standing Buddha, largest indoor Buddha, largest granite Buddha, on and on and on. I'm sure this one is famous as well. photo credit - Holden

2011-06-04 Jumping photos. photo credit - Jon

2011-06-04 After the Lama Temple we went to the world famous silk market. Haggling is important to shopping and considered exciting to most tourists. I can't stand it. Jon and I wandered through the entire market in a little under an hour and preceded to find a bar across the street to wait for everyone else. photo credit - Carl

2011-06-04 Lots of expensive brands at the Silk Market, FOR CHEAP. I'm glad that there is this sign reassuring me of the quality of the products.

2011-06-05 The next day Frank took us to the Olympic Park. Here he is teaching the Chinese version of Chess as Holden had bought a set the day before. photo credit - Holden

2011-06-05 It started raining, so we created a hat to protect Carl.

2011-06-05 Mascots are everywhere in China.

2011-06-05 This is what the inside of the Bird's Nest looks like.

2011-06-05 Holden accidentally took this excellent panorama of the Olympic Park. photo credit - Holden

2011-06-05 As we went through security Carl decided to buy an ice cream, so we were a little separated. Can you find Carl in this photo?photo credit - Holden

2011-06-05 Inside the Water Cube, there are several large pools. Take my word on it. But in half of the building, there is a water park! photo credit - Carl

2011-06-08 At the supermarket we found Party Beer. photo credit - Holden

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