Saturday, October 13, 2012

Day Two - My 8D Beijing/Chengde/Tianjin Highlight Tour (8天皇城北京/承德/天津精选游) with Hong Thai Travel [康泰旅行社]

Our first stop after finishing breakfast was to visit the jade shop! This is part and parcel of the agent commissioned shopping trips i touched on a few weeks ago.

Instead of simply bringing you to a shop with a wide array of expensive jade pieces nicely displayed in glass counters for sale, there were always educational talks on these ornamental stones which can turn out to be quite interesting.

Given our past experiences we had in China, we were smart enough not to buy anything that would likely be dumped at one corner of the house and forgotten for a long time. 

Brought to Dingling - one of 13 imperial tombs that hailed from the Ming Dynasty! This might have been more enlightening if we were spared time to visit the museum that was located onsite. Click my post here

The fertile land surrounding the 13 Ming Tombs was very conducive to grow fruits and the opportunity for some fruit picking was highlighted in our travel itinerary.   

Please don't get your hopes high and thought we could have our free pick of high value fruits like peaches, persimmons etc. If you have no idea what it is, you are not the only one as I was equally clueless! They are Chinese dates! 

Key to picking the ripe dates was to select those with a reddish shade. And we were given a limit of at most twenty dates although adherence to this rule was not strictly enforced. 

I ate a few on the spot and found the taste to be somewhat similar to apples albeit crunchier! 

Of course of course, nothing is ever free in China and there must be a 'price' to pay for the twenty dates; the tour guide had prepped us beforehand that we could buy fresh, insecticide-free fruits like apples, peaches etc straight from the owners!

Leaving the area for lunch! Two Ming Emperors' mausoleums can be seen from the above photograph. Can you spot them?

Makan time! I would not be blogging on my meals (except for Quanjude) taken during this Beijing trip as i have no absolutely no idea where the restaurants are located, what the dishes are known and the price of each dish!

Our next stop - scaling the Great Wall of China! It was tiring but so worth the effort! More details have been posted here

Driving back to central Beijing! 

Had dinner at this posh restaurant. Out of my three China trips, i was most satisfied with the food offered in this trip to Beijing. Having said that, i was having a serious craving for Singapore food when i was there. 

No night activity (thank god) as i was still suffering from a lack of sleep! By the way, want to guess what the structure in the picture is? I would be covering it in Day Four! 

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