Bell and Drum Tower - Cantonese - Glamour Shots
Trip Start Oct 06, 2011
41Trip End Nov 05, 2011
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
Sadly it would seem that any good weather for this trip is behind us. We leave Saturday (five more nights) and the weather forecast for the rest of the week is gray and then heavy rain on Saturday. In Beijing, gray can mean dark gray. Not the best for picture taking. Yet, this is what we've got so we will continue to enjoy the city and explore our new neighborhood.
We began our day with a short trip to the Drum and Bell Towers. They are a short walk north of our location and are big landmarks for this area. These two towers sit high and served ancient functions (like telling time). These are short stops and not major attractions. Each tower has a very steep set of long stairs. At the top either sits a bell or some drums. On a clearer day, the view might be very nice. The highlight for our visit was the Drum Tower demonstration they offered. Five drummers came out and performed for 10-minutes. Interestingly enough, we heard them rehearsing with a Dr. Beat (fancy metronome used by classical musicians for rehearsing) before the performance. As always, Kaela loved the show.
Sony Explora Science
We found ourselves near Chaoyang Park in the mid afternoon. Hsing-ay had read about a new science center where kids get to interact with sights, sounds, and computers. We began in the basement and checked out several very cool optical displays. Then we fooled around with some computer animation on the ground floor. This was a great diversion.
Since we were in the Chaoyang area near dinnertime, we decided to take advantage of the cool restaurants that are readily available. Our B&Bs have been in the heart of the city where many of the historic sites are located. As the city has grown and grown, the more modern buildings lie further out. The centers of commerce and the neighborhoods that are populated by wealthy Chinese and expats are also further out. These neighborhoods host the trendy restaurants with modern décor and more progressive dining. We decided to eat at a modern Cantonese restaurant with an Italian name (we don’t know the story on that). Cantonese is believed by many to have the finest Chinese food. It’s a perfect balance of subtle and refined flavors. The natural flavors of the foods are the primary colors and the sauces and seasonings bring out these flavors perfectly.
Bellagio delivered in spades. It was a wonderful meal with outstanding steamed fish, perfectly cooked Chinese broccoli, pan-fried wide noodles with beef, and some appetizers. The really fun part was the fancy mixed fruit drinks and the excellent desserts also featuring fresh fruit. Interestingly, this restaurant also only hires female wait staff and requires them to have short haircuts. Its not a sexual thing like Hooters, but rather an extension of the sheik décor.
As part of our work as professional classical musicians, we need to have professional photos for our various concerts, articles, brochures, and websites. Every couple of years they need to be updated. In past visits, Hsing-ay has gotten some great photos at really good prices in Beijing. They offer full service studios, which include professional lighting, make-up, outfits, and post-production touch-ups. Hsing-ay went last week and the results were so good that I decided to go today. I have a hard time being in front of the camera, but my managers have been prodding me to update my photos for a couple of years, so it was time. I had my freshly made suit and shirts and I got a new haircut this morning. Hsing-ay came along to translate (they rarely get non-Chinese customers). I felt a little like Bill Murray in Lost in Translation as a professional photographer talked to me in a language I couldn’t understand. The results were quite good although some of the poses and expressions seem almost comical. We’ve included a couple of the more interesting shots below. We also took a moment for a family portrait.