Lama Temple

On April 4th, 2012, during the Qiming festival, we had a great time exploring the Lama Temple. The Qingming Festival (also known as Pure Brightness Festival or Tomb-sweeping Day), which falls on either April 4th or 5th of the gregorian calendar, it is also a day of paying respect to the dead, a spring outing, and other activities.  The Yonghe Temple, also known as the “Palace of Peace and Harmony Lama Temple”.  It is one of the largest and most important Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in the world. The building and the artworks of the temple are a combination of Han Chinese and Tibetan styles.

Shane and Max ringing the huge sacred bell.

Making a wish with coins.

Kids at Temple spinner.

Happiness….Max making the coin onto the lucky ledge.

Click here for video 1.    Click here for video 2.

There are five main halls which are separated by courtyards: the Hall of the Heavenly Kings (Tian Wang Dian or Devaraja Hall), the Hall of Harmony and Peace (Yonghegong), the Hall of

Hundreds of visitors burning incense.

Everlasting Protection (Yongyoudian), the Hall of the Wheel of the Law (Falundian), and the Pavilion of Ten Thousand Happinesses(Wanfuge).

The Hall of the Heavenly Kings is the southernmost of the main halls, it served originally as the main entrance to the monastery. In the center of the hall stands a statue of the Maitreya Buddha, along the walls statues of the four Heavenly Kings are arranged.

Buddha of the ages.

Blessing the incense.

The Hall of Harmony and Peace is the main building of the temple. It houses three bronze statues of the Buddhas of the Three Ages,  (Buddha of the Present) is in the center,(Buddha of the Past, right) and the  (Buddha of the Future, left).

The Hall of Everlasting Protection was Emperor Yongzheng’s living quarters as a prince and the place where his coffin was placed after his death. Today, a statue of the Bhaisajya-guru (healing Buddha) stands in this hall.

The Hall of the Wheel of the Law functions as a place for reading scriptures and conducting religious ceremonies.  The hall also contains the Five-Hundred-Arhat-Hill, a carving made of red sandalwood with statues of the arhats made from five different metals (gold, silver, copper, iron, and tin).

The Pavilion of Ten Thousand Happinesses contains an 26m tall (18m above the ground and 8m underneath) statue of the Maitreya Buddha carved from a single piece of White Sandalwood. The statue is one of three artworks in the Temple which were included in the Guinness Book of Records in 1993.

Buddhas of the ages.

Shane & Sandra.

Beautiful Buddha.

Amazing Buddha made of sandelwood.

The temple is said to have survived the Cultural Revolution due to the intervention of Prime Minister Zhou Enlai. It was reopened to the public in 1981.


The Water Cube

On Saturday, April 14th, 2012, we went to The Cube, The National Aquatic Center in Beijing, where the 2008 Olympics were held.  They changed the facility by adding this cool water slide park.  As a family, we had a blast playing and going on lots of slides together.

Happy Magic Water Slide Park



Sliding on the blue slide.

This was an insane slide! SCREAMING ALL the WAY DOWN!

15 Meter drop slide

They lock you in this capsule, then the platform drops out from under you and you drop 15 METERS then continue sliding 75 meters!

The Cube at night….

Changsha Business Trip

Sandra took her first business trip on February 29- March 1st.  She went with Kevin Tsang (Zen Yua), who is the President of Clarion International Hotels China, and who was awarded the 2010: the title of China Hotel “International Hotel Person of the Year”; and China Vogue “Mr.Fashion of 2011” Award.
She went as the token “Western” (meaning American not meaning cowboy) Designer for the meetings.  Sandra, Zen Yua, two associates and the President’s secretary, Kristina, who was Sandra’s translator (she speaks Mandarin, German, and English).
The meetings were with a new client in Chang sha, in Hunan Providence,   The city is recognized as a famous area where many government official are from including Chairman Mao.  For this occasion, the client invited, so they paid for the hotel, luncheons and coordinated transportation to and from all the meetings.

Wyndham Grand lobby.

They stayed at the Wyndham Grand Plaza Royale downtown which was so luxurious.

Group photo of everyone at the meeting. Sandra is between the Zen, and his secretarty, Kristina.

Sandra thoroughly enjoyed the meetings and learned a bit of how Chinese executives do business.  Her favorite part was the elaborate and exotic luncheon which included turtle, smoked fish, fried scorpion and 15 other modern Chinese entrees.  


Fried Scorpions - taste like crispy onion rings.

 On the image of the scorpions you can see “me”.  The chef wrote “Welcome” with hoisin sauce which is behind the sculptural noodle bowl on the platter ( but can not the full word).

 The food was wonderful, and she tried it all.  The client wanted to impress us.  Sandra even tried Baijiu (Chinese: 白酒;  is a Chinese distilled alcoholic beverage. The name baijiu literally means “white liquor”.  Many toasts were made which was a positive sign for Zen, the boss.

The client even took us on some tours around the area.  We saw beautiful architecture.

Mao monument and women.

They took us to the Chairman Mao Monument on Orange Island( or Long Island) which is in the heart of the Changsha along the Xiangjiang River.

Mao monument and gardens.

We also went and toured the campus of Yuelu Academy, which wa named one of the four famous academies in China.

Famous scholars and officials who attended the academy.

Yuelu is well-known not only for its long history and many famous scholars, but also for it’s spectacular architecture.

Academy building.

Academy tour.

Kristina & Crystal.

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, in the northwest part of Hunan Province is listed in the World Heritage List. Zhangjiajie is where they filmed the mountain scenes in the movie Avatar.

But they did not have time to go there. We were picked up, dropped off and generally driven all around by a driver with our hosts which was really nice.

Here are other interesting foods which were served on the trip.

Lotus seed and white fungus flower dessert.

Pigs Blood. Basically like spicy liver and blood sauce.