John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Wednesday 25 June 2014

[Tuesday 24 June 2014]

4* The Landmark Hotel, Beijing
Day 14, Beijing (B/L/D)
Stroll around the impressive Summer Palace, China’s largest and best preserved royal park,
[i] followed by a trip to the iconic Great Wall. Winding across deserts, grasslands and mountains, and stretching over 5,000 miles, it was constructed over 2,000 years ago to guard the Chinese Empire against the Mongol invaders from the North. We’ve also included a cable car trip to a viewing point. In the evening enjoy a mesmerising Chinese Acrobatics performance.
[i] The visit to the Summer Palace was done on 26 June 2014.

Day 176 2 Kings 5; Mark 6
It was Janet’s “pig-out” day, so although we weren’t due to leave the hotel till 9am we were down in the breakfast room ca.7am. After I’d finished I left her to it.… Janet returned, but shortly afterwards went off again to look at the shops round the corner from the hotel.… Edited 22 photos from 14 June 2014 in addition to those done on the day (07:50–08:43); that left 14 still to do.





Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 09:16:48
“Serious Steve”, our guide for the day


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 09:23:02
Crawling in heavy traffic

Not far from our destination, I saw a Bactrian camel (i.e. two-humped), with a smaller one which didn’t appear to have humps, certainly not two. If the brief glimpse was correct and didn’t deceive me, maybe the two humps develop later.


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 10:24:16
Mutianyu Great Wall


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 10:28:06
Mutianyu Great Wall


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 10:29:02
Passing vendors’ stalls…


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 10:33:00
…on the way to “the best cable car of the Great Wall”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 10:34:00


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 10:43:20


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 10:52:42


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 10:56:02


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 10:57:32
Passing a car going in the opposite direction


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 11:06:30
“National Tourist Attraction of Mutianyu Great Wall”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 11:05:26
Mutianyu Great Wall


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 11:07:40
Mutianyu Great Wall


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 11:12:16
Mutianyu Great Wall


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 11:15:42
View from the Mutianyu Great Wall


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 11:18:10
Mutianyu Great Wall: in one of the watchtowers


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 11:21:16
Mutianyu Great Wall


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 11:24:48
View from the Mutianyu Great Wall

In one of the watchtowers there were steps leading towards a rectangular opening. They didn’t go all the way up, though, but a young man gave me a hand up. Janet wrote: “We met a couple of very polite and pleasant young men from Singapore who were studying Business Management at Manchester University and were on a two-month internship in Beijing. One of them was helping us… to climb up a tower for a panoramic view.”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 11:25:24
Mutianyu Great Wall: We climbed to the roof…


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 11:30:32
…helped by a couple of guys from Singapore.


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 11:27:42
Mutianyu Great Wall


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 11:29:42
Mutianyu Great Wall


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 11:30:22
Mutianyu Great Wall


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 11:33:22
View from the Mutianyu Great Wall


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 11:34:02
Mutianyu Great Wall


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 11:36:10
Mutianyu Great Wall


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 11:39:58
The other guy from Singapore


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 11:40:06
The other guy from Singapore


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 11:43:00
Mutianyu Great Wall

We shared the cable car down with two young women from Taiwan.


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 12:00:58
After the descent from the Great Wall: Mules feeding

I paid too much for a pack of Great Wall picture postcards. The seller asked for [I can’t remember how much], and like a fool I halved it, instead of offering a quarter or third of the amount. Janet advised me to leave it, but I felt that in opening my mouth I’d made a deal. We were in need of a drink, so sat at a place among the lines of vendors’ stalls, where a man, one of our fellow Mercury Direct tourists, was initially seated. He was drinking Tsing Tao. “Don’t pay any more than [I can’t remember how much],” he advised us, before he finished and went on his way. I took his advice. “How much?” I asked, and when the proprietress said so much I proposed the amount the man had suggested.


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 12:13:56
After the descent from the Great Wall: Refreshments


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 12:21:44
Descriptive plaque


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 12:22:46
Information in Chinese


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 12:22:58
Information in English


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 12:23:18
Information in Japanese


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 12:23:30
Information in Korean

We met up with our cable-car companions again briefly.


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 12:24:50
Our two Taiwanese fellow passengers from the cable-car descent


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 12:24:58
Our two Taiwanese fellow passengers from the cable-car descent

The arrangement was to meet back at the Subway restaurant, so Janet and I sat under an umbrella or awning at a table outside. “Some of our group were fed up with Chinese food,” Janet wrote, “and wanted something else. Morons!” Before we departed I showed Max the pictures I’d taken of the information on the wall. “Is that Chinese? Japanese? Korean?” I asked. He answered in the affirmative each time. “At 12.45pm we boarded the coach and went to a restaurant for lunch,” Janet wrote. “It was good.” I assume she wrote that because on other days she didn’t make full and comprehensive use of what was available at meal-times. She continued: “I discovered [that] a couple in our group were from Cleethorpes. We left there around 2pm and were back in Beijing just after 3pm. And then, our worst nightmare again. Again we were dumped — at a huge shopping market.” From the outside it looked like a large department store. Inside, it was a collection of separate market-stalls, with pushy, groping vendors cajoling you to buy, on three or four floors linked by escalators. Despite my need of a new jacket, we didn’t look for one; after going up perhaps to the top floor we immediately went back down again and out of the doors. Outside, we turned right, and right again down the first street we came to, a shopping street with, among other things, tailor’s shops on it. The one opposite the bench we sat on caught my eye: “Ammanda tailor,” the sign said. I thought, “Amanda Taylor: I know that name!” Janet wrote: “We were not impressed [with the market]. We went out, bought a couple of Magnums, found a bench, and sat and watched the world go by until we met up with the rest of the group at 4.30pm. In the square was a guy carrying a tray of “genuine Rolex watches”, and somehow Frank got hold of it, asking for “one dorrar!”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 16:41:26

We re-boarded the coaches and went through the busy city. According to Katie Melua,

There are nine million bicycles in Beijing.
That’s a fact,
It’s a thing we can’t deny,
Like the fact that I will love you till I die.

But I think in 2014 that that has to be revised from “bicycles” to “electric scooters and mopeds”. The so-called “big pants” building, the headquarters of China Central Television, was pointed out; indeed, we stopped briefly to get out and have a look at it. CCTV, Max told us, in each of its news bulletins, tells the truth once — when it says what time it is!


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 17:06:46

When Max asked who wasn’t interested in an optional tour tomorrow we put our hands up, because Janet wanted to get the packing done. Only four of the “Coach A” group, including ourselves, did the same. Our next visit was to the Beijing Chaoyang Theatre for an impressive acrobatic show, especially the last act: “globe of death” motorcyclists — eight of them at the end!


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 17:29:52
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 17:32:22
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 17:33:36
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 17:34:22
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 17:36:04
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Drum”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 17:36:28
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Drum”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 17:37:28
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Drum”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 17:37:32
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Drum”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 17:37:38
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Drum”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 17:39:12
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Drum”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 17:40:30
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Umbrella”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 17:41:28
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Umbrella”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 17:41:34
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Umbrella”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 17:42:38
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Umbrella”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 17:42:46
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Umbrella”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 17:45:22
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Umbrella”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 17:49:04
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “High Chair”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 17:49:34
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “High Chair”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 17:49:42
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “High Chair”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 17:50:56
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “High Chair”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 17:51:58
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “High Chair”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 17:53:12
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “High Chair”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 17:53:50
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “High Chair”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 17:57:12
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Straw Hat”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 17:59:10
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Straw Hat”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 18:00:24
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Straw Hat”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 18:03:12
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Partner Stunt”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 18:04:06
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Partner Stunt”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 18:05:38
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Partner Stunt”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 18:05:48
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Partner Stunt”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 18:07:02
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Partner Stunt”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 18:07:48
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Partner Stunt”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 18:10:26
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Wheel of Life”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 18:11:12
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Wheel of Life”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 18:11:50
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Wheel of Life”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 18:17:12
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Bicycle Skills”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 18:18:50
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Bicycle Skills”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 18:18:58
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Bicycle Skills”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 18:20:02
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Bicycle Skills”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 18:21:22
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Bicycle Skills”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 18:21:34
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Bicycle Skills”




Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 18:22:40 (movie screen-capture)
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Impact”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 18:22:?? (movie screen-capture)
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre: “Impact”


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 18:30:40
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 18:30:46
Beijing Chaoyang Theatre

I was so impressed that I wanted one of the souvenir books with DVD on sale in the foyer.



“Then off for dinner,” Janet wrote. “The smog in Beijing is dreadful. I could taste it! I couldn’t live in a place like that.” I would use the word “smaze” rather than “smog”. “Another good meal. We were back in our room at ca.8.15pm.” (Not quite: I took the photo below at 8.16pm just after we left the restaurant where we’d had dinner.)


Wednesday 25 June 2014 — 20:16:06
Restaurant where we had dinner

Transferred the 83 photos and 20 videos from today from my camera to the WD Elements HDD (20:51–20:57). Rotated those photos that needed it (21:19–21:23). Went to bed shortly afterwards, while Janet was still writing up her diary, etc.

[Thursday 26 June 2014]



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