This is my experience in Beijing, China in the Summer of 2009.
If you came to this webpage first, it's better if you
start from the beginning of the story.
Tuesday, July 14
Tang Dynasty Show
So Joan Caesar calls me at 7am. They just got in at 6am!
They`ve been on the road for 48 hours! Evidently, they
couldn`t land in Beijing because of the weather. (it was
very overcast when I landed) Then they detoured to
I tell Joan about the Hanyangling Museum (Han Museum) which is not on our official tour
but, since we have the morning free, I was thinking about going there to see it.
There are also terra cotta statues. They are smaller but more sophisticated
because they came from a later dynasty.
Would she like to come with me?
Joan doesn't want to go to sleep right now
because it will mess up
her sleep cycles.
She`s game about going to the Han Museum.
I`m meeting her for breakfast now!
What a day so far! Met Joan and Paulette for breakfast and told them about
the Han Museum. They were game to go even though they had almost no sleep
in 48 hours(!) We were going to meet in the lobby in half an hour.
During that time, I talked to the Concierge about getting a taxi to the
He suggested we hire a car for $300RMB. The driver will take us to the museum, wait
for us, and then take us back to the hotel. That sounded good to me so
I booked it. With 3 of us going, it only costs $100RMB each.
The museum itself was worth seeing. It actually was two museums, one of which
was underground. Both museums were about the Han Dynasty.
It turns out
the Han Dynasty also had its own terra-cotta army for burying
their emperors. Their clay statues are about 2 feet high. They don't get as much hype
as the full-sized Terra-Cotta Warriors in Xi'an. I suppose partly because they are
not as impressive looking.
But historically, they are just as important.
And the size of the burial sites are just as impressive.
Also, the Han Dynasty occurred later in time and their
clay objects are more sophisticated.
The first museum mentioned Emperor Jingdi also known as Liu Qi, one of the
emperors of the Han Dynasty.
This museum had all sorts of clay statues and actually showed
a working mechanism for the crossbow! It was very interesting and I took lots
of pictures. A small sampling is below.
I must apologize for the identification watermark
on the pictures of my China website.
It was an extra hassle for me to put them there.
But some people have no qualms about stealing pictures
that don't belong to them and that ruins it for the rest of us.
Just be glad I didn't put the watermark in the middle of the picture
like some of the more paranoid websites. :)
The underground museum was really a cover for the dig site. They made us wear
plastic coverings for our shoes and it wasn't clear why until we stepped on a
glass floor overlooking the various dig sites. Very cool. Unfortunately, the
glass at the dig site was anti-flash and so I couldn't take good pictures
with a flash. Also, the inside of this museum was rather dark.
And taking pictures without a flash was too dark.
This museum also had a cool film about the Han dynasty. The film was shown
on various transparent screens which gave it a 3D effect.
At the museum gift shop, I ended up buy a 100 year silver ring with a dragon
design on it.
I also bought two "Xun". It's the Chinese equivalent of the European ocarina but
it looks like a work of art.
I should mention I took just over 200 pictures (I'm a flaming tourist!)
and my camera "burned" through 3 sets of
AA batteries. That was fast!
We're back at the hotel now and we are supposed to meet our tour group at 6pm
for dinner and a show.
Tang Dynasty Show
Back from dinner and the Tang Dynasty show. It was a different dinner
and show than the one I went to 10 years ago. The food was definitely
better with much more dumplings. They didn't give you enough to drink
though. A few cups of jasmine tea, a cup of rice wine, some sprite and
a small bottle of water after dinner. That was it.
The assorted dumplings were many and varied though.
The show itself was OK. I remember the show in 1999 had much more pageantry
than this show. So compared to the last time I was here, the food was much better but
the show was worse!
Steve, our tour guide, suggested that we cut our visit to Jiuzhaigou short
to spend a day in Hangzhou. He went through this very detailed change of
plans which was very confusing. It made me think I would rather not change plans and
keep the current tour
the way it is.
03/18/11 Update -
I added a video of one of the acts in the Tang Dynasty show! Check out the link below.
I just looked at the video made by my video camera. The colors in the picture are
flatter than what I remember in the show. The colors were much more vibrant in the show.
Also, the camera is not that sensitive
to light. Pictures are darker than in reality. I'm kind of disappointed in
In fact, this whole trip will be giving both my digital camera and video camera
a real workout. And the strengths and weaknesses of each device will be very apparent.
For example, I know my video camera is not that sensitive to light but the zoom capability
is outstanding. My digital camera takes great pictures within 13 feet but not beyond.
So it's zoom capability is not that good.
I just looked up the solar eclipse that Joan was telling me.
It will happen on July 22th in China at around 9:40am and last about 6 minutes.
I had to find a webpage to convert UT to local time for China (which is UT+8)!
That day, we will be in the vicinity of Hangzhou so we will be in the
band of the total eclipse too! Cool.
I also looked up the International Space Station and Space Shuttle sightings
which I wanted to see.
Although the shuttle will
flyby Beijing on July 24-28, the best nights to see it are the 25th around 8:49pm and
the 27th around 8:02pm because of the elevation of the sightings in the sky. The shuttle flyby will
be fast, only 2-3 minutes. This will be during the FISM convention in Beijing.