I will show you the tips for China Travel, the Traditional Chinese Culture, Chinese Food and some other interesting things in China here.

August 31, 2008

Choosing Outdoor lighting - 1

There are many good reasons to light your property at night, not the least of which is safety. Beyond safety, though, there are other considerations. Outdoor lighting can completely transform the look of your home after dark. Outdoor lighting has a reputation for being expensive to install and maintain, but it does not have to be. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your budget to install outdoor lighting that makes a statement and turns your home into a nighttime showpiece in your neighborhood.

Evaluate your resources and power sources. If you keep your lighting close to the house, you can save on installing new power outlets and additional wiring. If you do need to install wiring and outlets, there are do-it-yourself kits that you can install on your own. If you opt to install your own and you're not a licensed, experienced electrician, though, do have your work inspected by one before using it.

On the same note, check with your local code authorities before adding any outdoor power sources to be sure that you adhere to regulations. Nothing turns a cheap job into a huge expense faster than fines for violating local ordinances.

August 28, 2008

Beijing Lacquer

Beijing Lacquer engraving, also called "lacquer carving" is one of Chinese traditional arts and crafts. The lacquer ware is decorated with exquisite engravings, has a radiant luster, elegant shape, and the pieces are usually resistant to humidity, erosion and heat. The technique involves applying a natural lacquer on a wooden surface, then engraving delicate designs on the lacquer.

Traditional Chinese lacquerwork has a time-honored history. It was proved to be used early in the Xiayu Period over 4200 years ago. Lacquer engraving technique is derived from the Tang Dynasty and experienced improvement in the Ming and Qing Dynasties on the basis of inheriting the styles prevalent in the Song and Yuan Dynasties. It had the golden age in the Ming Dynasty when the technique of lacquer engraving reached such a high level that in Beijing, the capital of the Ming Dynasty, a government-run lacquer engraving workshop named "Orchard Plant" was specially established, which was specialized in making lacquerwork for the imperial court. Afterwards, being inherited and developed by lacquer engraving handicraftsmen in Beijing, lacquer engraving technique attained continuous improvement and was finally developed to be a kind of industrial arts with distinctive Beijing features.

With solemn designs, sedate colors and exquisitely engraved decorations, the lacquerwork perfectly integrates the fine characteristics of lacquer and the ancient exquisite engraving craft. It is endowed with supreme artistic values and is an oriental treasure and artistic prime exclusively possessed by China.

August 27, 2008

Beijing Cloisonne

Cloisonne is a unique art form that originated in Beijing during the Yuan Dynasty, which we know it has nearly thousands-year history already. It culminated during Jingtai period in the Ming dynasty. It gains the fame "cloisonné" by the main color of blue.

The design of cloisonné is made by pinching fine and oblate brass wires, weld them on the copper body, then fill in color ceramic glaze and burn it. The products are dazzlingly brilliant resplendent and magnificent, with strong, soberminded, gorgeous and elegant characteristic. They include vases, bowls, plates, wine sets, smoking sets, lamps and lanterns, sugar bowls, spice boxes, trophy cups, birds and beasts, etc. more than 60 kinds. We may say, the technique of cloisonne is used not only the bronze crafts, but also the porcelain crafts, meanwhile, fetching in plenty of traditional and carving technique, which is the combination of Chinese traditional arts.

Trust me! When you come to Beijing, this is another thing that you should not miss.

August 26, 2008

Peking Duck

Along with the grand view of the Great Wall, travelers to Beijing shouldn't miss trying the Peking Roasted Duck. To enjoy the famous duck, the restaurant Quan Ju De(全聚德) is the best choice for you. It has multiple outlets in Beijing. The old restaurant first opened in 1860. The duck here is said to be the best in Peking, and the service is very good as well.
Peking Duck is always served in well-cut slices. The whole duck must be sliced into 120 pieces and every piece has to be perfect with the complete layers of the meat. Normally there are many dishes served with the duck, including a dish of fine-cut shallot bars, a dish of cucumber bars and finally a dish of paste-like soy of fermented wheat flour. Without these the dainty duck is surely in the shade.

When first served Peking Duck I hesitated to take up my chopsticks, not knowing what to begin with. There is a knack to it: first, pick up a slice of duck with the help of a pair of chopsticks and dip it into the soy paste. Next, lay it on the top of a thin cake and add some bars of cucumber and shallot. Finally, wrap the stuff into a bundle with the sheet cake (a thin pancake). The real secret of Peking duck's flavor lies in your carefully nibbling away at the mixture. You will find all the different ingredients very compatible. Of course, beer is the popular drink for the dinner. It helps to fade away the greasiness of the duck. But it is not necessary to order extra soup, for the duck-bone soup is always included in your order. It will be served as the rear dish for the dinner.

During the 16-days-Olympics, the Beijing delicacy Peking duck as a favorite amongst athletes stay in the Olympic Village. A spokeswoman for the Olympic Village reported at a press conference that the supply of the duck dish was doubled from 300 birds per day to 600 to satisfy the demand of the 10,000 or so athletes living the village.

August 25, 2008

Beijing Olympics Closing Ceremony

After the last 16 days of sporting extravaganza, 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic games - the worlds biggest sports event comes to the end.

The gala began amid a display of fireworks that form a huge circle in the sky which symbolizes the complete success of the Beijing Games.In traditional Chinese culture, circle is a symbol of perfection, harmony and renewal.

Following are some pictures about this ceremony.

August 24, 2008

Lighting Your Way

Outdoor lighting is so important in a few aspects: for Safety and for Orientation. Many of us work during the day and do not arrive home until near or after dark. However, your landscape can be used and enjoyed during the evening by utilizing an outdoor landscape lighting system in your property. And outside light installations can actually create a new way of looking at your home by becoming part of the decor itself. There are some basic things you can do to add charm to your yard, here are a few and you can read more in my articles.

Your landscape could benefit in multiple ways with the installation of an outdoor lighting system. With a properly installed system that utilizes the right light in the right way, yet also done with a creative flair, your property would literally glow with beauty come nightfall. A lighting system for your landscape has some other benefits as well. Do you find your garden looking rather bare during those sparse winter months? A few well-placed lights can highlight the architectural side of those bare trees. Do you feel nervous during that after-dark walk from your car to the front stoop? A well-lit landscape makes for a significantly safer property. Treating your landscape to an outdoor lighting system will add many useful features to your property. This is a very popular trend: by using recessed lights, lanterns, and lamps, you can now see your landscape at night. While the lights themselves can remain invisible, your plants and trees become highlighted, giving them a unique nighttime look.

The most important benefit of landscape lighting, safety, is also one of the most overlooked. Not only are burglars warded off by a well-lit property, it makes you feel safer when you're outside at night, which gives you peace of mind. Having a lighting system also keeps you safe from yourself. With some path lights illuminating your way, you are less likely to trip over the flagstones, or run into the arbor. A landscape lighting system helps provide safety from others and your own occasional clumsiness.

Outdoor landscape lighting enhances buildings architectural features, gardens, walkways, patios and decks. Your property can be enjoyed at all hours of the day and any time of the season.

August 21, 2008

Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony – the Best Experience of My Life

BEIJING Olympics Opening Ceremony, held in the National Stadium known as the Bird’s Nest, was attended by thousands, and watched by millions more on television. Below are some highlights of the nearly 4-hour performance.

The opening was an artistic mix of performance and light depicting China's 5,000 years of history.

Fireworks shot off across the Chinese capital as thousands of drummers, acrobats, martial artists and dancers performed under a light display at the National Stadium. Children representing each of the 56 ethnic groups in China marched out into the stadium, called the "Bird's Nest" because of its notable appearance.

Dancers merged with objects that depicted China's ancient Silk Road, its Great Wall and ancient imperial past. Acrobats swirled around a giant sphere, depicting China's ambitions in space.

Twenty-nine colossal footprints, created by firework explosions in the sky and symbolizing the successive summer Olympics, traveled all the way along the central axis of Beijing, from the ancient city gate of Yongdingmen in the south to the futurist steel-framed Bird's Nest.

Sparkles fell into the stadium and "lit up" a huge LED screen that showed the Olympic five rings. Embraced by "flying fairies" in shining costumes, the five rings, also made up with LED beads, were lifted in the air before the unbelieving eyes of some 91,000 spectators.

To the melodious rhythm of the song "A hymn to the motherland," the Chinese national flag was ushered in the stadium, and hoisted with the excited and proud home crowd singing the national anthem loudly.

August 20, 2008

The Drum Performance in Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony

Everyone was impressed by the amazing rhythmic rumble of 2,008 percussion drums that produced a pulse-pounding start at the beginning of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic game. The drums also turned into a giant set of cascading LED lights, shuffled from one end of the Bird's Nest to the other, as a roaring crowd climbed to its feet. There was something primal yet elegant and powerful about the drums at the start. However, very few people can recognize the drum inside or outside China. Indeed, it is a modern variation of an ancient instrument called Fou (缶).

Indeed, Fou is not originally a music instrument. It is indeed a large pot like container to store wine or other liquid. Since most Fous are made by earth, few of them have make it to today after thousands of years. You can find one made by bronze in Shanghai Museum as the photo below. It must be used by aristocrats since it is covered by gold.

The Fou used in the opening ceremony is indeed quite a departure from the original Fou. First, it is in fact a drum, or a Fou-shaped drum. If you hit a Fou with the force shown by the actors, the Fou will be pieces. Second, Fou was not considered a real music instrument, or a musician's instrument, even in its hay days. However, it is often used to show the warm welcome of the host in a party.

"I have attended 10 Olympic Games inaugurations and had never seen an opening with such a display of technology. It was impressive. I really congratulate the Chinese people who have always been highly regarded by Mexico," Vargas – a Mexico director said.

August 19, 2008

The Application of LED in Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony

Did you happen to catch broadcast of the opening ceremonies from the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing? What a sight it was!
Five thousand years of Chinese history flowed on a huge LED scroll that unrolled to chapters of China's 5,000-year civilization. "Whales" swam in the tank-like inner walls of the stadium. Human beings roamed on an elevating "globe", and dancers dressed in bright costumes formed a brightly-lit "Bird's Nest".
"We have combined creativity with the most complicated technologies in Olympic history to maximize the visual and sensory impact on the audience," said Yu Jianping, technical team leader for the opening.
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) were installed across the 20,000-square-meter National Stadium, better known as the Bird's Nest, to create an ideal multimedia environment, with storage cells backing up electricity supplies.
An LED screen 147 meters long and 22 meters wide was laid at the center of the ground, and about 44,000 colorful LED beads were embedded with a distance of 600 millimeters between each two.
Tiny LED beads were also embedded on the costumes of performers who fan out to create a falling starry sky and a brightly-lit Bird's Nest.
Four years ago Athens opened the Games with a dreamlike Aegean Sea. Today, Beijing opened a scroll to present China's history.

August 18, 2008

Tips for Home to Save Electricity

We've all heard often enough that it's time to start thinking and saving electricity. We're depleting the Earth's resources in record amounts, and it's becoming more and more clear that we need to start thinking in terms of protecting and preserving the Earth and her resources when we build.
I suppose we could take the position that every little bit helps. I can't deny that no matter how much or how little we save, it is better than doing nothing!

1.Turn off devices that you're not using
That seems obvious, but how many times do we forget? And it's not just inside lights. Do you leave the porch light on when you go out for dinner and a movie? Over the long run, you'll save money by installing a motion sensor to turn the light on when you come home. Timers are also available to replace switches, so that the lights will go off after a preset time.
And there really aren't many electrical devices in a home that need to be left on 24/7. In my own case, just the fridge stay on all the time. That's about it.

2. Don't heat or cool to extremes
No matter how much you hate the heat (or cold), you'll save a lot of money if you keep your house around 28° - 29° in the summer and about 21° or so in the winter. I keep my house right at 28° during the summer and 21° (a much more pleasant temperature) in the winter. If you don't feel comfortable at those economical temperatures, adapt your clothing. It's your house, you can wear cut-offs or a sweatshirt if you like. And you'll love the money you save haha...

3. Lower water heater temperature and put it on a timer
You'll save energy by lowering the temperature of your water heater. Many times the heater runs just to maintain a tankful of water at a temperature much higher than you'll ever use.
Installing a timer on your electric water heater is one of the best ways to save big bucks on your electric bill; that is, once you take care of the "simple" methods such as adding extra insulation to the tank and lowering the water heater temperature. For most families, that's in the morning and the evening. No need in running the heater when everyone's asleep or at work or school.
I think the best way is changing your electric water heater to a solar water heater.

4. Use electricity on off-peak time
Off-peak time means 21:30-7:00 every day. During this period, the cost of electricity is half.

Tears in Bird's Nest

Liu Xiang, our most popular track athlete, withdrew from the 110 meters hurdles at the 2008 Summer Olympics. He walked off the track after a false start by Qatar's Mohammed Issa Al-Thawadi. I felt very sad when I heard about this news. It is said that he had been suffering from a pre-existing injury to his right Achilles tendon, the same injury that forced him to pull out of a race in New York on May 31, 2008.

It was unknown that his pre-existing injury was so severe, but it quickly became apparent as he looked to be in agony when he got in the blocks for the race. His coach Sun Haiping was very emotionally unstable in the subsequent press conference, coming to tears numerous times. Sun told reporters afterward that Liuxiang has been hampered by a tendon injury for six or seven years. "We worked hard every day, but the result was as you see and it is really hard to take," Sun said. Yes, it is incredible to all of Chinese people. But we could understand him and will support him at all times. I hope and pray that he could recover as soon as possible.

August 14, 2008

Choosing the Right Bath Accessories

If you want to draw the attention to the look of your bathroom, you have to accessorize. Choosing bathroom accessories such as shower enclosure and cabins is not easy. The right accessories can make or break any interior design scheme, which is why designers place such emphasis on having the right accessories. If your accessories are wrong, it can spoil the whole look of a place. In the bathroom, the right accessories are even more important, as many people regard this area of the home as their own personal space somewhere they can shut out the world and truly be themselves. This means that it pays huge dividends to spend the time that it takes to have the right accessories.

When it comes to your bathroom, having the right bath accessories not only says something about the design of your house, it says something about you, personally. The bathroom is one of the most personal spaces in any house and, therefore, it should not only reflect your personality, it should give you comfort and happiness when you are in there. The right bath accessories help you to personalize your bathroom in a way that no other design tool can.

There are now specialist retail outlets and online stores that are dedicated to providing you with the right accessories for your bathroom. The most popular lines in bath accessories at the moment are towels and mirrors. The type of mirror that you have in your bathroom can make the space appear smaller or larger it can echo aspects of the decor in other areas of your home or it can look as though it shouldn't be there. So, it pays to take the time and care to choose the right mirror for your bathroom. Towels are very popular, not only for their primary purpose, but as bath accessories in their own right.

Towels can give your bathroom that look of luxurious comfort. Thick, fluffy towels that fit with the rest of your color scheme are an essential part of any well designed bathroom. Large, fluffy towels speak of luxury in ways that no other accessory can hope to match.

Bath accessories cover all aspects of the extras that are needed in most well designed bathrooms. Some suppliers have whole ranges of accessories, from shower room to soap dishes, all meant to compliment each other and to ensure that your bathroom fits in with the rest of your decor. These range from serviceable chrome bins, shelves and shower heads with white linen, to frothy pink bath mats, shower curtains and toilet roll holders. It's up to you to decide what best suits your needs and the rest of your home design.

You can also install a large cabinet at the end of your sink. Set a microwave and mini-fridge in it. You'll need something to keep that wine cold while your relaxing.

When choosing your carpet be sure to get a natural color you might want to chance you color later on and not the carpet. The sink, counter, stool and tub should all match too but try not to have the same colors as your flooring. To much of one color will make the your room dull and not exciting to be in. It will also make you depressed sometimes if everything is the same color. So, mix and match. When choosing your tile make sure it is small maybe 1x1. The small the tile the less change you have of slipping when getting out of the tub and down the steps.
Some stores and sites have expert help on hand to assist you in choosing the right bath accessories that fulfill your needs and fit in with your design scheme. If you're not sure which products are right for you, professional advice can be invaluable in helping you to make the best choices. Not sure whether your shower curtain fits in with the rest of your bathroom? Then consult the experts. They will be able to advise on the best color and style mixes. You'll find out how choosing the right bath accessories can update the most tired looking bathroom and help it to fit in with the design in the rest of your home.

Bath accessories can change the whole look and feel of your bathroom. They can make the difference between a cold and uninviting space to a warm and welcoming one. So, if you are looking for an inexpensive way to update your bathroom and make it more inviting choose the right bath accessories.

The Summer Palace

The last scenic spot of Beijing I want to share with you is the Summer Palace. It is a typical Chinese garden, and is ranked amongst the most noted and classical gardens of the world. It is also a monument to classical Chinese architecture, in terms of both garden design and construction. Borrowing scenes from surrounding landscapes, it radiates not only the grandeur of an imperial garden but also the beauty of nature in a seamless combination that best illustrates the guiding principle of traditional Chinese garden design: “The works of men should match the works of Heaven”.

The Summer Palace landscape, dominated mainly by Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake, three quarters of which is under water. Centered on the Tower of Buddhist Incense (Foxiangge) the Summer Palace consists of over 3,000 structures including pavilions, towers, bridges, and corridors. The Summer Palace can be divided into four parts: the court area, front-hill area, front-lake area, and rear-hill and back-lake area.

Front-Hill Area: this area is the most magnificent area in the Summer Palace with the most constructions. Its layout is quite distinctive because of the central axis from the yard of Kunming Lake to the hilltop, on which important buildings are positioned including Gate of Dispelling Clouds, Hall of Dispelling Clouds, Hall of Moral Glory, Tower of Buddhist Incense, the Hall of the Sea of Wisdom, etc.

Rear-Hill and Back-Lake Area: although the constructions are fewer here, it has a unique landscape, with dense green trees, and winding paths. Visitors can feel a rare tranquility, and elegance. This area includes scenic spots such as Garden of Harmonious Interest and Suzhou Market Street.

Court Area: this is where Empress Dowager Cixi and Emperor Guangxu met officials, conducted state affairs and rested. Entering the East Palace Gate, visitors may see the main palace buildings: the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity served as the office of the Emperor, the Hall of Jade Ripples where Guangxu lived, the Hall of Joyful Longevity, Cixi's residence, the Hall of Virtue and Harmony where Cixi was entertained.

Front Lake Area: covering a larger part of the Summer Palace, opens up the vista of the lake. A breeze fluttering, waves gleam and willows kiss the ripples of the vast water. In this comfortable area there are the Eastern and Western Banks, the Seventeen-Arch Bridge, Nanhu Island, and so on. On the western bank float six distinct bridges amongst which the Jade-Belt Bridge is the most beautiful.

In the end, give you some tips. One is the best season to come here is April to October. The other is the Summer Palace is now under large scale restoration and refurbishment. Attractions such as Foxiangge (the Pavilion of Buddhist Fragrant) and Paiyunge (the Pavilion of cloud) are also under renovation. So you should adjust your traveling schedule:-) All the 5 scenic spots that I introduced these days are all the best famous spots in Beijing. Next I will introduce another charming city – Nanjing in Jiangsu province, where I live in now.

August 12, 2008

The Temple of Heaven

Today I will introduce you the Temple of Heaven. It is also a worthwhile visiting place in Beijing. It is much bigger than the Forbidden City and smaller than the Summer Palace with an area of about 2,700,000 square meters. The Temple was built in 1420 A.D. during the Ming Dynasty to offer sacrifice to Heaven. As Chinese emperors called themselves 'The Son of Heaven', they dared not to build their own dwelling,’ Forbidden City' bigger than a dwelling for Heaven. It is the largest group of temple architecture in China and also the largest heaven- worshipping building in the world.

The Temple of Heaven is enclosed with a long wall. The northern part within the wall is semicircular symbolizing the heavens and the southern part is square symbolizing the earth. The northern part is higher than the southern part. This design shows that the heaven is high and the earth is low. In imperial days, the Chinese people believed that the sky was incircular shope and the earth was square. On the basis of this tranditional concept, the circle was widely adopted in the design of the temple's main building. It is in accord with people's imagination of heaven.

Built as a place of worship, the temple is different from any other imperial structures. There are two parts in the temple zone - inner part and outer part. The main buildings of the Temple lie at the south and north ends of the middle axis line of the inner part. The most magnificent buildings are The Circular Mound Altar (Yuanqiutan), Imperial Vault of Heaven (Huangqiongyu) and Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest (Qiniandian) from south to north. Also, there are some additional buildings like Three Echo Stones and Echo Wall.Almost all of the buildings are connected by a wide bridge called Vermilion Steps Bridge (Danbiqiao) or called Sacred Way.

The Circular Altar has three layered terraces with white marble. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368 A.D. - 1911 A.D.), the emperors would offer sacrifice to Heaven on the day of the Winter Solstice every year. This ceremony was to thank Heaven and hope everything would be good in the future. The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest is a big palace with round roof and three layers of eaves. Inside the Hall are 28 huge posts. The four posts along the inner circle represent four seasons-spring, summer, autumn and winter; the 12 posts along the middle circle represent the 12 months; and 12 posts along the outer circle represent 12 Shichen (Shichen is a means of counting time in ancient China. One Shichen in the past equaled two hours and a whole day was divided into 12 Shichens). The roof is covered with black, yellow and green colored glaze representing the heavens, the earth and everything on earth. The Hall has a base named Altar for Grain Prayers which is made of three layers of white marble and has a height of six meters.

The Vermilion Steps Bridge connects the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest and the Imperial Vault of Heaven. The south end of the Bridge is lower than its north end. The emperors in the past believed that they could go to heaven through this Bridge, which is why this bridge is also called Sacred Way. A Yu Route and a Wang Route are on two sides of the Sacred Way. The former one is only for the emperors to walk on and the later one is for the princes and the high officials to pass.

Another interesting and famous place for you to visit is called Echo Wall owning special feature. The wall encloses the Imperial Vault of Heaven. Its perimeter is 193 meters.

If you and your friend stand at the east and the west roots of the wall respectively and you whisper a word, then your friend will hear clearly what you say. Isn't it interesting? The phenomenon utilizes the theory of sound wave.

August 11, 2008

The Great Wall

Today I will talk about the Great Wall in Beijing, which includes some famous sections: the Badaling, Huanghuacheng, Mutianyu, Jiankou, Gubeikou, Jinshanling and Simatai sections. But I want to introduce the Badaling section here.

As we all know that the Great Wall is a symbol of Chinese civilization, and one of the wonders that the Chinese people have created. Badaling Great Wall is virtually the most representative part. So if you want to experience the culture and enjoy the beauty of the Great Wall, meandering along the bricks of the Badaling Great Wall is your first choice.

Badaling Great Wall is situated in Yanqing County, over 70 kilometres (43 miles) north of Beijing. It is the most well-preserved section of the Great Wall, built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). This section with an average altitude of over 1,000 meters (3,282 feet) is the outpost of the Juyongguan Pass. The mountain slope is very steep and the roads are tortuous. These features made it a military stronghold. Badaling Great Wall is like a strong dragon winding its way along the mountain ranges.

The Great wall originally functioned as a fortification. As early as the Qin Dynasty (221BC-206BC), Qinshihuang, the first emperor of Qin Dynasty unified the whole nation and began to build the Great Wall to protect China's borders from the intrusion of the northern nomadic tribes. Most parts of the preserved Badaling Great Wall were built and reinforced during the Ming Dynasty to defend the capital against the intrusion of these Mongolian people. The structure of the wall consists of huge bar-stones and bricks. The inside of the wall has been formed by tampering earth and small stones, which makes the wall very firm and strong. Internally, the wall is about six meters (20 feet) wide, which would allow horses to gallop five abreast. A number of small holes have been drilled on the wall to allow archers to shoot arrows. There is a barrel-drain and a moat both inside and outside the wall. In a word, military fortification has been paramount in the consideration of every wall detail.

Badaling Great Wall was the earliest part of the great Wall opened to tourists. It has drawn tens of millions of tourists both from home and abroad. More than 370 foreign leaders and celebrities have visited there.

Travel Tips:
1. The cable car can take the tourists to the fourth balefire tower, 40 Yuan/ person for one trip and 60 Yuan/person for a return trip. If you do not want to enter the Great Wall Park and want to take the cable care only, buy the round way ticket, namely, the 60 Yuan ticket for the cable car, because at the end of the cable trip on the mountain you will not get off the cable car except you go through the park.
2. The Badaling Great Wall was built on a very sharp and sheer slope. In such a windy place where temperature is normally a few degrees lower than in the city, t is highly suggested that bring a good windproof jacket along and put your high heels away. Best shoes for climbing the Great Wall are apparently good quality sneakers.

Introduction of Tiananmen Square

Today I will introduce you the Tiananmen Square. Located at the center of Beijing City is Tiananmen Square - the largest open-air square in the world, where you can visit Tiananmen Tower, Monument to the People's Heroes, Great Hall of the People, Mao Zedong Memorial Hall and watch the daily national flag raising ceremony early in the morning (the time varies subject to the sunrise). The above picture shows you the Tiananmen Square before the national flag rising ceremony. Thousands of people come to the Square every day. It is the must place to visit in Beijing City.

The Tiananmen Rostrum, standing to the north of the Tiananmen Square, precisely in the south – north central axis of Beijing, was the main gate to the Forbidden City-Palace museum for emperors of Ming and Qing dynasties. The magnificent gate has five passages. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the passage in the middle leading to the Forbidden City was particularly reserved for the emperor himself. The emperor went through the central passage on the way to the altars for rituals and other religious activities, for instance. The high-ranking government officials and the empresses, concubines, princess and princesses could only enter the Forbidden City through the side passages, while the ordinary subjects were banned from entering the Forbidden City. That's why the palace complex is called" Forbidden City".

The granite Monument to the People's Heroes is just at the center of the Tiananmen Square. Built in 1952, it is the largest monument in China's history. ‘The People's Heroes are Immortal' written by Chairman Mao is engraved on the monument. Eight unusually large relief sculptures show to the people the development of Chinese modern history. Two rows of white marble railings enclose the monument, simple and beautiful.

West of the Square is the Great Hall of the People. This building, erected in 1959, is the site of the China National People's Congress meetings and provides an impressive site for other political and diplomatic activities. Twelve marble posts are in front of the Hall which has three parts--the Central Hall, the Great Auditorium and a Banqueting Hall. The floor of the Central Hall is paved with marble and crystal lamps hang from the ceiling. The Great Auditorium behind the Central Hall seats 10,000. The Banqueting Hall is a huge hall with 5,000 seats.
Mao Zedong Memorial Hall is at the south side of the Square. This Hall is divided into three halls and our dear Chairman Mao's body lies in a crystal coffin in one of the halls surrounded by fresh bouquets of various famous flowers and grasses.

Another important place for the tourist to visit is the China National Museum at the east side of the Square. It just came into existence in 2003 and is a combination of Chinese History Museum and Chinese Revolutionary Museum. This National Museum faces the Great Hall of the People. Inside the Chinese Revolutionary Museum are a lot of material objects, pictures, books and models to present the development of modern China. The Chinese History Museum shows a large number of cultural relics illustrating the long history and glorious culture of China from 1,700,000 years ago to 1921 when the last emperor left the throne.

Five Star Red Flag-the Chinese national flag, flies high in the sky above the Square. To see the guard of honor raise the Flag is a must for the tourist visiting Beijing City. You have to get up very early and arrive at the Square before sunrise. Only by doing so can you see the ceremony clearly as there are crowds of people attending the ceremony every day.

August 7, 2008

Share my traveling experiences in Beijing

Today is 8th Aug, 2008. A major international multi-sport event - 2008 Summer Olympic Games is being celebrated in Beijing. Beijing is becoming the focus of the world. Except for ten thousand, five hundred athletes, I think there are a huge number of travelers will come to Beijing. So here, I will share my traveling experiences with you.

Beijing has abundant tourist resources, with more than 200 scenic spots open to visitors throughout the world; good examples are the Forbidden City – the largest royal palace in the world; the Temple of Heaven where the emperors paid their devotional admiration to the Heaven hundreds of years ago; the imperial garden – Beihai park; the important holiday resort of the royal family – Summer Palace; the most magnificent defense project on this globe – the Great Wall as well as the Mansion of Prince Gong – the largest Siheyuan (the compound with houses around courtyard). Beijing has 7, 309 listed historical sites of varying importance, among which, 42 are at the national level, 222 are at the municipal level. At present Beijing boasts 456 star rated hotels with a total of about 84, 000 guest rooms. The 456 travel services in Beijing have more than 5,000 professional tourist guides who speak 21 languages and serve visitors from every corner of the world. In 2000 Beijing had received 2.821 million tourists from abroad, with total tourism revenue of about 2.77 billion US dollars. Beijing is listed by the National Tourism Administration as one of the Superior Tourist Cities in China.

Today I will talk about the Forbidden City. Lying at the center of Beijing, the Forbidden City, called Gu Gong in Chinese, was the imperial palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Now known as the Palace Museum, it is to the north of Tiananmen Square. Rectangular in shape, it is the world's largest palace complex and covers 74 hectares. Surrounded by a six meter deep moat and a ten meter high wall are 9,999 buildings. The wall has a gate on each side. Opposite the Tiananmen Gate, to the north is the Gate of Divine Might (Shenwumen), which faces Jingshan Park. The distance between these two gates is 960 meters, while the distance between the gates in the east and west walls is 750 meters. There are unique and delicately structured towers on each of the four corners of the curtain wall. These afford views over both the palace and the city outside. The Forbidden City is divided into two parts. The southern section, or the Outer Court was where the emperor exercised his supreme power over the nation. The northern section, or the Inner Court was where he lived with his royal family. Until 1924 when the last emperor of China was driven from the Inner Court, fourteen emperors of the Ming dynasty and ten emperors of the Qing dynasty had reigned here. Having been the imperial palace for some five centuries, it houses numerous rare treasures and curiosities. Listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 1987, the Palace Museum is now one of the most popular tourist attractions world-wide.

Construction of the palace complex began in 1407, the 5th year of the Yongle reign of the third emperor of the Ming dynasty. It was completed fourteen years later in 1420. It was said that a million workers including one hundred thousand artisans were driven into the long-term hard labor. Stone needed was quarried from Fangshan, a suburb of Beijing. It was said a well was dug every fifty meters along the road in order to pour water onto the road in winter to slide huge stones on ice into the city. Huge amounts of timber and other materials were freighted from faraway provinces. Ancient Chinese people displayed their very considerable skills in building the Forbidden City. Take the grand red city wall for example. It has an 8.6 meters wide base reducing to 6.66 meters wide at the top. The angular shape of the wall totally frustrates attempts to climb it. The bricks were made from white lime and glutinous rice while the cement is made from glutinous rice and egg whites. These incredible materials make the wall extraordinarily strong.

Since yellow is the symbol of the royal family, it is the dominant color in the Forbidden City. Roofs are built with yellow glazed tiles; decorations in the palace are painted yellow; even the bricks on the ground are made yellow by a special process. However, there is one exception. Wenyuange, the royal library, has a black roof. The reason is that it was believed black represented water then and could extinguish fire.

Nowadays, the Forbidden City, or the Palace Museum is open to tourists from home and abroad. Splendid painted decoration on these royal architectural wonders, the grand and deluxe halls, with their surprisingly magnificent treasures will certainly satisfy 'modern civilians'.

August 6, 2008

How to Cut Home Electricity Cost

Did you know that you can lower your monthly utility bills by reducing the amount of regular electricity that you use at home? Most family homes spend around a third of their energy budget on heating water for daily uses. Heating water for showers, baths, cleaning clothes and a host of other things is done by electricity or gas supplied by utility companies.

You know, the average electric water heater serves a family of four uses 6,400 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, and release eight tons of CO2, according to the University of Wisconsin's Solar Energy Laboratory. That's more than a typical automobile! Gas-fired heaters release about two tons of CO2 a year.

Solar water heaters are very reliable and can work in any climate. There are several different types, including those with pumps and those that work passively. You'll need a storage tank and some type of solar collector. Some homeowners use the devices exclusively (sometimes with a gas or electric tankless water heater as a backup), while others pair them with other systems as pre-heaters.

The good news is that home solar water heating systems cost an affordable $1,500 to $3,500, and pay for themselves in four to eight years. Why not schedule one into your next renovation?

If you want to convert your home to solar power, there are a few things that you should consider. How much energy do you use in your home? What types of appliances would you need to power? Do you have a good location to place the solar power panels?

Purchasing a good, reliable solar power kit is the first important step to converting your home to solar power. If you purchase a kit that comes together the installation will be much easier, then you won't have to worry about trying to figure everything out and buy the individual pieces that are needed.

If you haven't decided where to place the panels, you should consider putting them on the roof because it is a great place that is still discreet. The roof is closer to the sun so it makes it an ideal spot for them-- the panels will need to be directly in the suns rays so that they can gather energy from the sun, then transfer that energy to a converter to store the energy until it is needed. It is very important to make sure that the solar power panels are placed in a location where they will be in direct contact with the sun as much as possible. Look at the surroundings around your house to avoid placing the panels in a spot that is covered by other buildings or over-hanging branches.

The advantage of converting your home to solar power is to help protect the environment. Fossil fuels that are used such as coal and oil pollute the air and harm the environment, but the solar power kits have no negative effects on the environment.

If you decide that you want to help protect the environment by converting your home, make sure that you purchase a good solar power kit that includes all of the necessary parts. It is a very easy process and you will be thrilled with the results!

August 5, 2008

Great dining enjoyments in Qingdao

Qingdao, a coastal city on the Yellow Sea on East China’s Shandong Peninsula, is famous worldwide for its famed Tsingtao Beer, but another constant delight of locals and a beautiful memory for tourists is the city’s excellent seafood cuisine.
Seafood choices abound in Qingdao, and its residents’ cooking skills have been highly regarded for centuries. Trepang, abalone, sea snails, clams, oysters, squid, shrimp and crab dishes are common choices whether at a seaside snack bar, in one of the city’s many excellent “ordinary” restaurants or fine dining at a luxury hotel. Clams are a local favourite, and many people like to cook at home. Clams can accompany cold dishes, be served in a hot soup, or prepared as spicy fried dishes. Delicious and nutritious soups are also highly recommended.
Because of Qingdao’s rich seafood resources and its culinary legacy, there are special seafood fish dishes for each time of the day. Trepang is considered indispensable for local fine dining.
Some of the best places to sample the freshest seafood are found in fishing villages in the city’s mountainous Laoshan District. The seafood there is often fresh-caught, good to eat and relatively inexpensive. Summer and autumn are the best seasons to visit Laoshan. Its scenery, temples and seaside amusements make this a place for unforgettable sightseeing and dining experiences.
Another delightful place well-worth visiting is the Yunxiao Lu Food Street. Seafood there is reasonably priced and comes in a wide variety. Dumplings (jiaozi) with tasty seafood fillings are quite popular.
Newcomers to the area and its cuisine, however, should take special care of their stomachs. Often, an appetite is easily satisfied, but such pleasures can come at a price; the stomach sometimes suffers. Since vinegar can help protect the stomach and make the seafood more delicious, remember not eat too much at once, and ask for some vinegar and vegetables with your meals. Try especially pucai, a vegetable grown in ponds. Pucai is crisp and nutritious, and it is treasured by local residents.
But, since Qingdao is an exceptionally diverse city, because of its unique history and culinary history, if you get bored with seafood, there are many other treats available. On May 1¨C7 each year snacks from home and abroad are featured for tasting on Qingdao’s Huiquan Square; the 2007 instalment will be part of the Eighth China Food Festival. Chefs from more than 20 countries will show off their best dishes, and lectures on healthy dining will be given by experts.
Beer lovers look forward to August in this famed beer-producing city, because this is the time for the Qingdao International Beer Festival. Beer is a big part of life in Qingdao, and if you visit at other time of the year, the newly opened “Dengzhou Lu Beer Street” is ready to welcome you. The street is home to the original Tsingtao Beer Factory, established about a century ago by German residents in Qingdao. There are now about 40 beer bars and restaurants lining the nearly 1,000-metre-long street. Of special note, all the buildings on the street are in the late 19th century¨Cearly 20th century European-style. Fresh beer produced in the factory is available daily in the area’s bars, the freshest in the city. At the Tsingtao factory, the Tsingtao Beer Museum contains a detailed history of Tsingtao Beer and its production processes. Here you can sample the best in beer with others from around the world.