Looking at the eastern wall from the western wall - March 1983 and August 2004.

Badaling Great Wall – 八达岭长城

I have written about the Great Wall before, but mostly in general. Today I am writing about one particular section of the wall – Badaling. My parents visited in 1983, I first visited in 1999, and most recently in 2012. Comparing the photos is fun!

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Chinese tongue-twisters

In my last post I introduced THIRTY common words all pronounced “shi”. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that with so many homophones, Mandarin has some fantastic tongue-twisters. And by “fantastic” I mean “utterly impossible to recite”.

A whole lot of shi

Today I’m going to introduce you to words pronounced “shi” – a great example of the wonderful confusion that is homophones in Mandarin. There are TWO HUNDRED characters for the sound “shi”and I use at least 30 of them. They are split up between different tones, but still that’s a whole lot of shi.

Beautiful pavilions in Yu Gardens. Top row: 1983, 2004; Centre row: 1983, 2004, 2012; Bottom row: 1983, 2012.

Shanghai’s famous Yu Gardens

The Yu Gardens, one of the most famous tourist attractions in Shanghai, were built nearly 450 years ago. I visited three times between 1999 and 2012; my parents also went in March 1983. I very much enjoyed Yu Yuan – there is so much to find and see and take in. It is a lovely, peaceful place with lots of history.

Tian Tan – the Temple of Heaven in Beijing

Tiantan is a large temple complex and one of my favourite tourist spots in Beijing. I’ve seen it in dusted with snow, full of blossoms, shrouded by pollution, and sparkling in sunlight. I love the peaceful stands of trees, the beautiful old temples, and also the chaotic noise of many groups of (usually older) people doing exercises or enjoying music together.