Day By Day

Monday, June 08, 2009

China Diary -- Part 2 The Egg

Beijing is huge -- about twenty million people, of whom thirteen million are classified as permanent residents. It dwarfs New York. And it is dynamic. Old China hands among our group kept remarking on just how much the city had changed in recent years, mostly due to massive government investment in preparation for the 2008 Olympics. Ultra-modern structures are everywhere, but traditional styles still hold on. The result is a fascinating mix of the old and new. Here's a picture of a traditional structure I snapped on the way from the ultramodern airport to the slightly less ultra hotel.

Our first destination on the second day of our journey was the National Grand Theatre of China, better known as "The Egg".

You don't get any more modern than this. The Egg, designed by French architect, Paul Andreu, seems to float on water and the entrance is by means of a long underwater corridor.

Here's a shot down the length of the entrance corridor. Note the water overhead. At one point I looked up and saw the feet of maintenance workers standing knee-deep in water, cleaning the overhead pool.

The hall is lined with interesting and beautiful scuptures, representing the various arts.

But we can't linger in the entrance too long -- we're on a short schedule and the real treat is the interior of the egg itself.

All I can say is "Wow!" I rode escalators to the top of the structure, snapping pictures all the way.

But no sooner had I reached the top than the call went out -- reassemble at the entrance, we're off to our next destination. That's the great disadvantage of being with a tour group. Time after time you find some place you want to linger, but the schedule must be kept. There were many more things to do and see in Beijing before the day would be over.