An unforgettable urinating experience in the Land of the dragon

It may sounds a bit weird or perhaps utterly nonsense to have such an exceptional eye-opening experience during my inaugural and virgin trip to the Land of the dragon which somehow has something related with the loo. In fact it is aptly unfitting to discuss this intimate subject matter in an open forum especially in the first paragraph of a would-be epic journey that I will remember in years to come. The loo by itself presented me with a new life perspective and invaluable insight into what our life would be without a toilet.
This time around the visit to this part of the world really tickled and aroused all my senses. I can still smell that signatory pungent odour even when I type this particular paragraph, or at least the smell kept lingering in my subconscious mind, perhaps for the time being until I come across some other form of life-changing moment.
Modern China was a new territory for me. All this while I kept hearing about the Chinese majestic and huge stone walls and gates, the legendary and hidden myth of the many opulent palaces, the serene and splendour of beautiful landscapes, the food, the people and all the unique cultural splendour associated with that big continent.Those vivid images became like a moving wall paper in my head. This time I got to see them all with my own eyes.
At the time of my visit to Beijing- the Northern capital of China, it was quite chilly, dusty and overcrowded mainly with Peking duck eating dim sum. My first impression on this inanimate metropolis was quite monotonous and lifeless. Perhaps because there was not much colour to feast my eyes during this cold season of the year.Or probably I had already embedded in my mind a preconceive idea that all big metropolis are similar – pollution, rush hour, shellfish and lack of warm hospitality.
One thing for sure, Beijing is no more a sleeping giant and really geared up to become another world economy superpower. Everywhere I turned my head to there were new commercial high-rises being erected. These uninviting sight was really an eyesore to me though. Hutong, a collective name that describe traditional and ancient courtyard residences that was build thousands of year ago is fast disappearing to make way for modern but nondescript skyscrapers. I was actually looking forward to spend some time mesmerized myself with the old China, walking slowly in the narrow Hutong alleys and blending myself with the local people. It never materialised. Five days in Beijing was never enough to deeply get to know this place. I should have spent my entire life there to do so.
I think my bladder is quite full now and it is time for me to visit the loo – this time minus the smell of course.
If you can’t speak a word in Mandarin or any local dialects of which could be hundreds of them, I am very sure you will have the highest possibility of going nowhere or worst thing get lost. I was quite lucky because one of my fellow companions can speak Mandarin very well (as he should be)- somehow he told me, he himself got so confused and found out it was sometimes very difficult to communicate with the local. That’s the way to go Mr OCW and thanks for being a good traveling companion and our indispensable translator!

Niujie mosque is the oldest and largest mosque in Beijing (996 AD) and was innitiated by an Arabic scholar Nasuruddin. The chinese influence was heavily incorporated – at the first glimpse from outside I thought this was a Chinese temple.

As it was almost past noon, my empty tummy had more command than my head. I was quite pleased to know that the whole surrounding area of the Niujie mosque was lined by halal restaurants. We just gatecrashed into one of the nearest restaurant and the meal here was very
appetizing and tasty.

Tuck in Mr OCW! We didn’t realize the portion was that big and even though the three of us were very very hungry that day, still we could not finish and wallop all the dishes. Tapau meh…

It seemed finding a good and halal restaurant was not that difficult after all. That was the only time when I didn’t require the service of my mandarin-speaking friend as the signage was written in Arabic. This one was right across the road on the east side of the Tiananmen square, only a few meteres from the National Museum of Beijing. The oxtail soup was marvellous – my friend told me, for me as usual I went for nasi.

This pair of insulated glove permanently mounted on the handle of a moped symbolised the creativity of people in China. Probably the most common sight during winter. I wouldn’t try to put my hand inside those gloves though.

I like this photo especially my good-friend pose of which reminded me of the yesteryears in the high school. Leaning against the ornate wooden wall of the Hall of Supreme Harmony inside the Forbidden city, he posed just like a pop yeh yeh stud.

Beijing has a rich history and a fair share of foreign invasions. This big gold jar which meant to contain water for fire-fighting inside the Imperial palace was scrapped for its precious

The sad remnant of Hutong around Beijing. It was not a good sight to see and I was really hoping the next time I visit Beijing there are still some preserved Hutong that survive the brutal onslaught from Beijing fast modernization.

This almost post-card perfect photo (by my own definition) was taken in the Beijing Botanical garden. The water of the lake was frozen hard and almost ready for some nickampook to ice-skate on it.
As I strolled slowly following the quiet path around the lake inside the Botanical garden I noticed this man gracefully practising some form of martial art. Perhaps a Tai Chi. I sat down and watched this man performing his unique moves until one of my colleagues asked me to join in “ajak le dia bersilat bro”

The day we visited the Summer palace it was predicted to be covered with snow. It never happened (the snow fell two days after we left Beijing). It was ear-biting

On our first night, after a few hours of self-acclimatization in the comfort of our hotel, we took a 40 minute trailblazing taxi ride north to the Olympic village to see this beautiful architecture called the Watercube. I personally thing this building looks much better in the night and very photogenic too with lot of distinctive curvy shapes.

Another architecture wonder, Beijing National stadium which is also known as The Bird’s nest just a few steps away from The Water cube.
Scaling the stone path of the Great wall is not a joke. It really requires stamina and determination. I only managed less that one kilometer and I know age is catching up too. I should have jogged

Another great view at another section of the Great wall. It is the Badaling section of the wall which is quite popular by tourist for its ‘friendliness’ and considered quite forgiving for an ageing traveller like me.


33 Responses to “An unforgettable urinating experience in the Land of the dragon”

  1. always a muslim traveller's favourite sign- ha lam alif lam πŸ™‚

  2. Assalamualaikum,Dr.Sam,Seronoknya bercuti. Aliff di bulan Disember 'standing order" semua pegawai tidak dibenar bercuti gara-gara SBPA.Teringin hendak ke Cina terutamanya mahu panjat tembok besar. *Tandas di pejabat Aliff dapat penilaian Cemerlang dalam 5s ha!ha! (boleh tidur bersihnya dan wanginya).

  3. WSM aliff, SBPA ada beberapa klausa yang saya suka dan saya tak suka. Tapi pikir banyak-banyak sampai pening kepala pun tak guna sebab 5-6 tahun lagi entah apa-apa skim baru akan keluar lagi. Panjat tembok besar tu kalau ada stamina memang bagus dan boleh merewang jauh sikit dan pemandangan dan lanskap pun lagi cantik. Saya semput sebab kontour mukabumi dia ikut gunung ganang, ingat panjat aja penat, turun kalau 60 degree menjunampun satu cabaran juga. Habis adrelin.*Senang tempat kerja macam tu, kalau overtime jauh malam boleh terus bawa bantal πŸ™‚

  4. Wow a huge challenge for the leakies or would you prefer old valves.. the loo I mean..Nice pics and very good entry.. Doc

  5. Wan Sharif,the old valves if fully polished and well lubricated should be no problem Ayoh wang – could even be better than a new kapcai.

  6. Tiananmen square,Beijing National stadium,Hutong dan mosque in Beijing.. woooo mmg best kesemua tempat tersebut mmg mesti pergi kalau singgah kat sana….walaupun dapat tengok gambar ajerr… satu hari aku harap dapat kesana melihat dengan mata kepala aku sendiri….~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Story terbaru blog kami…tip hadapi temprature naik kereta

  7. Dr Sam..I wonder, does life without a toilet over there is similar to life without a toilet in India?err…ohh Great Wall of China….. kecik2 selalu berangan nak pi sana;)

  8. satu hari ingin sampai ke sana …

  9. Afzainizam,seperti biasa perjalanan kali ini pun kerana urusan resmi. Oleh kerana cuti memang banyak terus sambung dengan cuti ambil peluang melihat negara orang. Pembangunan memang pesat dan saya yakin dalam beberapa tahun terdekat ini wajah Beijing pasti akan bertukar seiring dengan mentaliti dan attitude penduduknya. Afida,That is one good question Afida. India is another interesting country to explore. One thing I am sure, the smell/aroma should be very much different :)Insyaallah. Kita doakan semoga kita semua dimurahkan rezeki dan dapat berjalan dimuka bumi Allah ini mencari petunjuk dan kebesaranNya.Zino,Insyaallah abang zino.

  10. Dr.I like the photo with the tai chi man.Have a good year ahead.

  11. Great experience. Thanks for sharing:)

  12. Salam Bro! :-DWell, at the time when we are thinking of escaping the cold Bro,…well, the gloves on the bike speaks volume on the temperature.Anyway Bro, I am not commenting much – I know you are a very good travel writer, and you took great pictures, but Bro…, jangan maraa…ah… is that you gaining more weight now?!… Never thought you will === Sorry!:-D

  13. Indeed Beijing is rich in cultural heritage and relic.Unforgettable magnificent Great Wall; majestic Forbidden City;sacred Tiananmmen Square; as well as the verdant gardens of the Summer Palace.You are such a great writer that makes me lost in tracking down memory lane of being there. And I believe, to others who haven't experienced the ancient City,reading this is like a beautiful calling to being there.HNY 2012 to you & yours (me out of hibernating season for now πŸ™‚

  14. waaahhh…. beautiful pics & trip..

  15. 3yearshousewife,thank you. I was actually quite mesmerized by the graceful moves of that man. He was not alone. Actually beside him was another elderly woman practicing a different style of martial art. It was very interesting and I could have spent more time observing both of them (kawan kacau ajak ronda taman cepat-cepat :)Afaf,thanks for dropping by and your comment. Have a nice day.

  16. Mia's mom,Long time no hear sis! Good to see you here in this blogosphere.Winter is not a winter if it is not cold! Frankly speaking I am not that fancy traveling during winter time because I know my luggage will be extra heavy than usual. I like to travel light. Another downside traveling during the cold season is, I have the tendency to frequent the loo more :)Are you looking at the right person sis? ha…ha….I have to admit though since our last meeting 3 years ago I have accumulated 2 kg of muscle plus fat of course. It is hard to resist nasi when you are surrounded by all those nasi-eating-zombies around. Good luck to you.

  17. MariaFaizal,Yes you are right. Beijing in particular and china in general are very rich in cultural heritages and ancient history to marvel. Beijing as a city is nothing much to shout about though perhaps its surrounding yes. I spent five days in Beijing and I didn't get the feeling of wanting to be there one more time as other few foreign places do. As it was and it is, I am not charmed by this place and the people.But if for the sake of taking my kids to feast their eyes on one of the seven wonders of the world in the future, I will.

  18. MULAN,Kena ajak cik abang dan anak-anak pergi Mulan.

  19. I haven't been there doc and plan to. Well, I can't be sure when as last minute plan can suits me anytime haha. I'm waiting for the best deal to be grabbed in Air Asia website, of course.By the way Doc, is that you in the picture with your friend leaning on the wall? If it's you, you look so different. Haha… in a good way!

  20. great shots u have there. sometime it is nice to go to a less touristy area as the experience will be raw and less pretentious.agree?happy new year to you

  21. EEMMM ada urusan resmi… sambil menyelam minum air lah kiranya…rasanya antara banyak-banyak negara yang menjadi kuasa ekonomi paling pesat …. so mmg tak dinafikan…cuma tertariknya… masyarakat kat sana tak meninggalkan adat resam china yerr… kira seiring lahhh…semoga hari mendatang lebih baik dan semoga tercapai apa yang diimpikan :)~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Story terbaru blog kami…goodbye 2011 and welcome 2012

  22. assalamualaikumterima kasih atas gambar2 yg sgt best ini πŸ™‚

  23. Faisal Admar,I think you are not the only person in our Bolehland who do the last minute holiday booking, well at least me too. But with our Low cost carrier hard-to-resist promotions every now and then, I think China is within everybody's reach now. There is only one photo of myself in this entry and if you were referring to the right me, then I take it as a compliment bro.Have a nice day Faisal. Going to visit your Island next week. Probably we can have our long-pending mengeteh session?W. Hidney,I always like nice open landscape, fresh air, serene environment,close to nature sort of thing…those usually make the journey more intimate.Have a good and prosperous year ahead.

  24. sahromnasrudin,wsm. cerita dan pengalaman yang menarik kita kongsi bersama dengan harapan ada yang boleh diambil iktibar dan panduan.

  25. Assalamualaikum Dr SamIt would really be nice if we can 'modernize' ourselves our way. Our ex PM had earlier said the right thing, we should have our own mould, our own path in order to develop (although I think 'acuan kita' has never been clearly defined especially in terms of its methodology). I think we can and we need to emulate the West in certain things, but certainly not in everything that we do. Let's hope that in many decades to come people who visit China will continue to say that China is highly developed but is certainly different from the West in terms of its paths towards modernization.

  26. Temuk,WSM. You certainly have the point and I concur with your opinion. Modernization itself is a debatable subject matter. Do we really need to come out from our comfort zone just because everybody does? That is another question. There is no denying that every coin has two sides, pros and cons and sacrifices have to be made but does it really worth? As nothing is constant in this world and somehow or rather will inevitably change let the change take it course naturally and slowly. Natural is always good.

  27. mane like button..huhuuh

  28. Liyana,Raasnya pernah ada. Agaknya dah kena buang kot…

  29. betapa byk memori indah…memori ber-urinate juga yg lebih wonderful. wonderful pd perpekstif berbeza la tu kan doc??

  30. Fantastic journey with you, bro. Hope that next time we are going to the Heaven's Gate – Legendary Shangri – la. Never ending laughter and experience. Remember the Silk Street and the cloths they sell over there? This time not going to miss that price cut anymore.

  31. ocw,Yes, a memorable one too. It will take thousand of years before this beautiful memory get to be erased from our memory. Next time we gatecrash to the Heaven's gate – I am very sure I will come back alone πŸ™‚ At the time of haggling at the silk street, 70 yuan seemed very expansive, now menyesal tak beli baju tu ha…ha…ha…

  32. this makes me wanna go there, too, changing mind from krabi to china.

  33. The scenes are truly fascinating. I can only envy you.

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