Up until 2011, I had never been to China. In 2011, somehow I ended up going twice! The first time was to speak at a protein conference in Shanghai - after which Wayne Patrick and I had an epic trip. Then, in October, Ann and Jane and I headed to Beijing for the 4th Asia-Pacific NMR meeting. The meeting was good, and we had a little bit of time to check out a couple of the attractions of Beijing - mainly the Forbidden City (a palace) and the 798 Art Zone - a whole block of derelict warehouses that have been turned into a huge art district.

We were struck by the amazing rate of change here - there was a whole underground train system with more than a dozen lines I think - which was hardly there at all when Ann was last here in 2004 or so. We love the food too - and the best food (for us anyway) was to be had in the tiny noodle/dumpling places that were for the local workers - fortunately, having Ann with me meant that we could easily go to those places and I wasn't choosing the pickled sea squirt etc...

[Click on the thumbnails to get a caption and a larger image]
Singlespeeds are in *everywhere*! (120kb) Train station in Beijing. (84kb) Taxi? (61kb)
Beihai park (155kb) Beihai park (183kb) Beihai park - these are part of a very long mural telling a story (106kb)
Beihai park (128kb) Beihai park - part of the mural (144kb) Succulents at Beihai park (151kb)
Year of the rabbit (and the elephant?) (124kb) Forbidden City (71kb) No shortage of roof decoration (82kb)
Apparently Japanese soldiers scraped all the gold off these! (92kb) This allows you to have a video of you taken flying through the Forbidden City (48kb) Forbidden City (66kb)
Curious sculpture at the Forbidden City (107kb) The Lump Tree! (141kb) The museum in the Forbidden City (88kb)
I need one of these - a gold and jade back massager... (27kb) Forbidden City (84kb) Ann deciding which way to go... (87kb)
...and choosing the opposite way to everyone else! (86kb) Ancient game (56kb) A picture of servants attending the emperor - note how long the pic is! (87kb)
Waiting for our meal at a restaurant specializing in spicy food - and it was hot! (62kb) Wasn't Ann there a minute ago? (69kb) They *might* taste good... (78kb)
This is what *our* supermarkets should be like too! (72kb) The pickle section at the supermarket (116kb) The 'bean curd product' section of the supermarket - yum! (126kb)
Apparently, it is made-on-demand soup! (91kb) More of the supermarket - seafood anyone? (77kb) ...or frogs? (69kb)
You don't see museums like this every day. (100kb) Managed to find some trails to run on, even in the middle of Beijing! (88kb) Dog raincoat! (105kb)
Art at 798 ArtZone - well, they *call* it art... (46kb) 798 Art Zone (143kb) 798 Art Zone (104kb)
798 Art Zone (95kb) Ann didn't like this one so much... (65kb) 798 Art Zone (73kb)
798 Art Zone (59kb) 798 Art Zone (62kb) Ann found somewhere incredibly dodgy looking for lunch - great food though! (73kb)
Drying greens. (94kb) The Cat shop - complete with real cat! (71kb) Product of the wrapping machine at the airport (all our camping purchases). (73kb)