Event date: 3rd December 2006
The city's history dates back three millenia. As the last of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, Beijing has been the political center of the country for much of the past seven centuries. The city is renowned for its opulent palaces, temples, gardens, tombs, walls and gates, and its art treasures and universities have made it a center of culture and art in China. Few cities in the world have been the political and cultural center of an area as immense for so long.
Six years ago, I was supposed to write the journal of our China-Hong Kong family trip when we return on the same year. The journal to China is supposedly to be my first blog entry. However, I get exhausted easily whenever I saw the photos; it was nearly 650 taken in China and 300 in Hong Kong. So, I did not pursue due to no motivation. I did not even write the travelogue of my first vacation in memory of my late parents in 2004 to Turkey. The Turkey photos now 95% lost except few that I save in my facebook account. After my solo trip in 2004, we had our family vacation abroad in 2005, so, a trip to China was not our first time. Please note how different we look 6 years ago, young and younger :)
|My brother snapped the family photo at KLIA before checked-in|
We booked the tour from the travel agent at the MATTA fair for initial destination to only China. The tour agent (forgotten their company name) had offerred a reasonable tour package to Beijing-Tianjin-Chengde. Due to some discount and the charged services was lesser than our initial budget, we had extended another 3 days 2 nights in Hong Kong. It was not a "Muslim package" as we wanted our children's to appreciate being in a multi races nation. Our group turn out to be the most amazing group. We are really thankful to their kindness and friendships.
|A home of Cathay Pacific Airline, Hong Kong International Airport|
It was a tough preparation in the beginning to get everyone attired with their first winter gear. It was our first time being in country of 4 seasons and December was definitely with cold weather, winter without snowing at the time of visit. Finally, everybody had their own long john, thick coat and a comfy walking shoes by November 2006. We did not met anyone in our group till we reached Beijing Airport and gathered to pass through the immigration point.
|Syahirah at Beijing arrival hall, waiting for our luggage|
However, the toughest part vacationing with 4 kids pampered with maid back home was to wake them up every morning for breakfast in time so that we will not make the bus and everybody waiting for us. It happened many times and hubby was feeling so bad (partly due to a guilty feeling of not able to discipline our children to be independent @ get ready on their own in time). Second, I had to get their clothes ready whenever we reached our hotel and before leaving the next morning. It was a nightmare if the hotel did not provide adjacent room which is accessible from our room, but most of the time, we asked for spare key. You cant expect them to tidy up the dirty clothes too. I found a workable method by separating all dirty clothes to separate bag and put a fresh clothes every night so that it would be faster for them and us to be ready.
|Nasrul at Tianmen Square|
The tour agent had provided a proper itinerary covering mostly majority of Beijing places of interest, suited for our family. Beside an acrobatic show on 4th December provided by the tour company, we had opted to take additional show, a cultural performance of the legendary Kung Fu of Chun Yi the following night. Their show was superb and entertaining.
|Naim at Panda zoo|
We had to go to places that we do not wish, arranged by the tour company, such as a visit to Crystal, Jade and Pearl factory. Beside, we were also brought to a Chinese Medicine centre for free foot massage and later we were convinced to buy various prescribed Chinese traditional medicine after being diagnosed by the center medical practitioner merely using palm reading. It was insane. Husband and I decided not to go to any tour agent after our bad experience in China.
|Nazhif at Pearls factory|
Our tour guide in China is Lily, a single mother of 1. She is a very knowledgeable lady and very fluent in English too. Her time keeper was good and gladly that most of the promised places was met with her perfect coordination.
|It was tough to get everyone at the breakfast table, like this|
Well, why Beijing? Beijing is known to me as Peking, a capital city of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world. Beijing population is nearly 20 million people. The metropolis, located in northern China, is governed as a direct-controlled municipality under the national government, with 14 urban and suburban districts and two rural counties. Beijing Municipality is surrounded by Hebei Province (Chengde) at the northeast with the exception of neighboring Tianjin Municipality to the southeast. After Beijing, we were in Karachi in December 2007, a city housed about 18 million people. But Beijing is not as crowded as Karachi.
|Hubby and the kids at Forbidden City|
Beijing is the second largest Chinese city by urban population after Shanghai and is the nation's political, cultural, and educational center. It is home to the headquarters of most of China's largest state-owned companies, and is a major hub for the national highway, expressway, railway, and high-speed rail networks. The Beijing Capital International Airport is the second busiest in the world by passenger traffic. In 2006, there's a lot of ongoing construction works in preparation for 2008 Beijing Olympic.
|Looking for Genghis Khan footnote|
|Family photo at Summer Palace, Chengde|
I personally wishes to visit China for many historical reason. The story of China Emperor's Chin, Qing, Ming etc were seen in drama series, movies and read in history book. Genghis Khan who conquered nearly 1/3 of the world was also here. Marco Polo was in China for many years. Ibn Battuta was in Zayton (Quangzhou) and many parts of China too. Well, the proverb by Prophet Muhammad "go, explore and learn from young age till you reach the mainland China".
|Not allowed to seat - "Little Potala Temple" in Chengde|
Enough saying, our 8 days 7 nights in China (Beijing-Chengde-Tianjin) had indeed being a memorable trips.
|Waiting for the bus at Tianjin Hotel lobby, after breakfast|
|Back in Beijing, at the hotel lobby|