Curious English in the Capital City

Posted in Beijing, Curious English, Travel Log (Asia) at 5:09 pm by Benjamin Ross

In preparation for the 2008 Olympics, the Chinese government has launched a campaign to rid Beijing of all improperly translated English signs and replace them with correct ones. Based on my recent trip to Beijing, it appears they still have a lot of work to do.

My parents get their first taste of curious English just outside the Forbidden City.
Once we were inside the Forbidden City, I took immediate alarm to the impending perilous hills inside.
Behold…the Perilous Hills!!!
Fortunately, there was a “way out.”
Everybody likes to get noticed from time to time, even this lonely sign at Badaling.
Anybody know where I can find a “help protect the railings” bumper sticker?
This shot was taken 2 years ago at Simatai, so I’m not positive whether or not it is still there. Nonetheless, it takes the cake.

note: Did anybody else notice that in the aforementioned China Daily article they misspelled “Chinglish” in the first line? Irony at its best.



Which Wall is Greater? Si Ma Tai vs. Ba Da Ling

Posted in Beijing, Travel Log (Asia) at 9:57 am by Benjamin Ross

The Great Wall is unique. Of the various tourist attractions I have seen around the world, the Great Wall is one of the very few for which I had high expectations, and I walked away feeling my expectations had been met. The only other place I can think of like this is the Grand Canyon. In terms of Chinese tourist attractions, I believe even the Forbidden City and especially the Terracotta Army in Xi’an all pale in comparison to the world’s largest security system ever built.

This past week, I took my parents to visit the Great Wall. When I first visited the Great Wall in 2005, I went to Si Ma Tai which is 3 hours outside of Beijing. This time I took my parents to Badaling. Here are some pictures to compare the two.

For the most part, Si Ma Tai has been left untouched by restoration efforts.
Badaling has been restored to look all spiffy and new. They even have cool Ming Dynasty security cameras on top of the towers.
The Wall at Simatai has been left to fend against the forces of nature.
At Badaling, nature has been cleared away to make room for droves of tourists who visit daily.
At Simatai you can meet locals like this old Chinese farmer.
At Badaling you can meet Korean tourists dressed up in Chinese monk outfits and rice paddy hats.
Here’s a long view of the Wall at Simatai
…and a similar one from Badaling, check out the cool ski lift!
Simatai was peaceful and quiet. I felt all alone with the Wall.
Badaling was…well…let’s just say I didn’t have to look too hard to find an “I climbed the Great Wall” T-shirt.

For more pictures from Simatai click here.

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