• Ritan 2001 It was evening and one of my last days in Beijing. It was still hot even when sun almost went behind Xishan. In Beautiful Ritan park many older people from nearby neighborhood gathered like every evening. As always there was a group of older ladies in colorful clothes who were dancing with fans on a very dynamic Chinese music. In some spots you could see individual exercisers  of tai chi with or without swords. Some people were sitting next to lake or under trees with hung wooden cages in which were cheerful thrushes.  It was very nice evening and me and my brother run around lake and I was climbing across rocks. Later night fell and we went to a restaurant in a park to celebrate my friends birthday. It was really beautiful evening with a young crescent moon reflected in lake . Watching on a moon behind a pavilion next to willow branch was really magic and a scene from Chinese poetry. Even at that time I remember how I was wondering whether there is some pavilion nearby with hang out lanterns and some old people sitting next to lake until late night.

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  • Cookie or Mr.Wang 2000 and 2013 He was a cook in our embassy. An older Chinese man who often was coming to our flat to fix radiator or some other appliance. He always seemed silent and rarely smiled and thus he was very interesting to me and I was bit afraid of him. When I was child I was very misbehaving boy and I enjoyed to make some mischief and annoy other people. Cookie seemed perfect for that. Mostly I remember one event in 2000 when he was fixing radiator in my room. I came to him and I was stretching him for a t-shirt in order to expel him from my room. But obviously he was refusing as he wanted to finish the job. Since he understood only Chinese I remembered trick how to make him angry and I started to course him in Chinese. He got so angry that he took a gum snake and wanted to beat me but I run away out of my room. I got so scared and I never again tried to curse him. Since 2001 I didn’t see him until 2013. In 2013 we saw him by coincidence. In June 2013 me and my family were crossing bridge over Beijing canal towards Sanlitun. Among cyclers my father recognized Mr.Wang and shouted “Cookie”  and he significantly shocked stopped and came to us. Thing which stunned me even more than fact that I see him randomly after 12 years was that he completely correctly and clearly pronounced my name. He said “Danilo” with surprised view and smiling voice. We starred on each other for a while.  I couldn’t believe that he remembered my name after 12 years, name  of  boy who used to make him troubles and curse to him for entertaining himself. I got one funny idea on my mind about reason why he remembers my name- maybe he had often nightmares for 12 years in which I was cursing and jumping around him like monkey, and he tries to catch me, but he wakes up every time when he had almost caught me.
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Cookie,  another employee at embassy, my brother and me June 2013

 

  • Beihai Park 2000

It was an spring afternoon in one of my favorite parks in Beijing.  It was during visit of my grandfather to Beijing and we took him on many nice places.  We went to old wooden 12th century temple. It is oldest construction in Beihai park. As always there we went to 9 Dragon Wall. As a child I always wondered whether dragons really existed. After that we were sitting in 5 Dragon Pavillion next to large lake of Beihai park. We were watching sunset reflection in water, boats in shape of duck and a white 14th century Buddhist pagoda. This white pagoda is one of my favorite constructions in Beijing. We were sitting with grandfather, eating chips and drinking plum juice. Wind started to blow and we watched harmonized move of waves of the lake. Also dozens of swallows were freely flying around pavilions and beeping cheerfully.\

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  • )Botanical garden 2000 If I remember well this was spring 2000. With our family friends we went together on one beautiful and sunny spring day. Beijing Botanical garden is definitely one of largest and most beautiful botanical gardens that I ever saw. It is located below Western Hills and very close to Xiangshan. It is so large that it more reminds on a forest and a natural reservoir rather than on a park. There is also one large lake within the garden.Day was perfect and sun was shinning. We were passing over stone path among bloomed cherry and plum trees and other interesting trees. On a small hill we set up a picnic and we had a lunch there in nature. I really felt like a camper as we set a small tent where children could enter to play. Me and my friends played there and run around tent and parents after lunch. We played that we are fighting against monsters and I was jumping over some remains of some ancient wall with some carvings. There was a large stone turtle next to pieces of wall and it really seemed interesting to me and I wandered what was that before together that wall and carved turtles. The most interesting fact in Botanical Garden is that there is a temple within garden. It is Wofo temple or temple of reclining Buddha. Wofo Temple dates from 14th  I was in that temple several times and this always seemed mystical to me as appeared to be too silent and calm. In hall where reclining Buddha statue was it was quite dark and it was scary a bit for me. I remember very well old and large trees in temple courtyard. Once I fell and hit the tree with my nose when I was misbehaving. Last time we were there in 2001. In 2013 we tried to enter the temple gate was closed since temple was open until 5pm only. Simply as I say in China there will be always some temple which gates will be closed so you have to come next time.

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  • Qianmen 2001 It was last time when I was on Qianmen and last time when I saw old Qianmen. Parents took me there one evening. At that time main Qianmen street wasn’t so well maintained like today. It was neither pedestrian area. It was street for traffic where except cars a lot of buses and trolleys were passing. It was quite noisy and messy street. Old buildings were not in good condition. They were quite faded. Instead of todays H&M, Sephora and other branded shops, very well maintained and colored facades there were shops for cheap clothes. Most of you know Qianmen from today. Also you can find my stories about Qianmen of today too. Side street going parallel to Qianmen stayed unchanged. Area is still tight and overcrowded and amazing at night like before. Like in 2001 now you can find there street food, several restaurants and a lot of shops offering clothes and souvenirs. Its perfect place for shopping and bargaining at night. After shopping you can take amazing bao zi or Beijing duck.

 

  • Tiananmen evening 2001 Flag Lowering

It was in April 2001. Red sunset was perfectly matching with importance of the square. As always there were hundreds of people walking around and taking pictures. I was flying a kite like many people do here who come there. Later we saw a group of Chinese PLA soldiers marching towards main flag which stands in front on the edge of square. Over a street directly from flag there is portrait of Chairman Mao hung on Tiananmen Gate. With honor and pride a group of them was standing in front of flag while two of them were lowering it. Everyone was silent and with respect was looking at their direction. Flag was lowering slowly while sun was going beyond Tiananmen gate. When flag was lowered soldiers took it in proudly and carefully and marched away. This ceremony is performed every day since 1992. With sunrise and waking up of China soldiers rise flag with sunset they lower it.

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  • Xiangshan memories Definitely my favorite place in China about which I wrote many times.  In my texts you can find information what to visit there and what makes it specific. I recommend it for hiking and spending time in nature. Also about personal meaning of this place for me I wrote several times and why I love it as well.  I mentioned memories often too.  We were there for the first time in 1997. I always loved to come there since there were a lot of paths and grass areas where I could ran and play. Me and my younger brother used to play there on grass when I imitated anaconda and I was playing that I was catching and eating him. We used to come there on cold winters too when area was completely covered with snow and lakes with ice. I enjoyed walking on ice of Jingcui lake. I remember very well taste of Gongbao chicken , roasted spicy bacon or noodles with vegetables on a cold winter day when we enter restaurant after long walk. Since 2000 we used to come there almost every weekend with our friends. We often started our day at Jingcui lake where we always tried to catch little tadpoles as lake was full of them during springtime. You could hear many frogs in a lake and occasionally every 10-15minutes you could see some of them jumping.  Once I fell down from a rock into the lake because big hornet came and I got so scared. Everyone was laughing at me.

 

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Zhao Miao before reconstruction

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We used to play in front of Shuangqing villa where Mao Zedong resided and we played around Yuhua imperial villa with a nice viewpoint. Because of a lot of hiking and few mysterious temples we always imagined that we are adventurers, researchers or archeologists. We were imitating that we are on expedition. We also enjoyed to play pokemons. Often we went to 14th century old Azure Clouds Temple. With its mysterious halls and courtyard we enjoyed the place even more. We liked to run around Vajrasana pagoda of the temple. In a rounded pavilion with a pond we always fed large goldfishes. It was a real game for us but we were also a bit scared to fall down in a lake since fishes were not small at all.  Also we liked to enter a small cave with waterfall and watch on lake, bridge and pavilion through the falling water. But probably biggest adventure for us was a Zhao Miao Temple or as we used to call it “Castle of Ghosts”

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At that time it had faded red walls and entrance of the corridor in middle of hall was open. Dark corridor which was leading to inner garden was very scary. At end of corridor was always visible mystical light from sun which was falling into inner garden and passing through dark corridor. We often imitated sounds of ghosts here. Once one Chinese man replied through corridor with similar sounds, we were scared but still we continued going in through corridor to  inner garden.  Garden was surrounded from inner side by grey burnt and damaged walls. Especially it was frightening at dusk when parts of temple looked even more mystical and strange because red rays from sunset were falling on roof and door and tall paifang which was in front of temple.

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Zhao Miao Temple is under reconstruction now. As I said bigger parts of main wall and hall are recolored in original white, behind I saw new walls which were excavated in recent years still not reconstructed- more walls which were around inner garden of temple.  Except history of this temple on guide board which was standing next to temple it was written that plan is that it will be completely reconstructed until 2018 or 2020.  Pity that inner garden was closed this time  as I would like to walk inside again. Who knows what will workers and scientists find during excavating and reconstructing temple. I am sure that under destroyed walls are interesting bronze or jade statues of Buddha or some other religious subjects. Also probably there can be found out interesting carved stone Buddhas hidden under ruins.

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Sounds of mysterious bird were all the time present and were following us during walking through this area. Some stairs which lead down from Zhao Miao Temple were taking us to small pond with old white stone bridge in middle. Over that bridge we used to run and chase each other when we were children- Me, Milica and Danica. We  were often sitting under apricot tree next to pond, and telling stories about ghosts, Serbia, China, Pokemons, airplanes, fishes, frogs. Mine and their parents were speaking nearby too. At that time my small brother Dushan used to run around pond and he tried all the time to jump into water to undo high temperatures.  I never wanted to imagine swimming in that dark green water, full of frogs. Once we caught one.  One Chinese man tried to explain us that this type of frog isn’t for eating, he had full package of frogs which he caught  for dinner in same pond. In China frog meat is considered as healthy and pure and as I heard from my father it reminds on chicken meat. Once we stayed overnight on Xiangshan  which was great experience. We stayed in a hotel near Jingcui lake. We heard a lot of owls from the forest. We went at night at Jingcui lake and we got really scared as children we believed we could see a wolf or ghost. We saw one fisherman fishing at the lake in night hours.  Simply when I rethink of these memories from 2000-2001 it wasn’t just a place to have fun and play but also to better meet nature. It was real adventure for me as in Beijing you couldn’t see much animals or plants like in its outskirts such as frogs, tadpoles, butterflies, dozens of birds, fishes and bloodsuckers.

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