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Meesa gonna kill you!

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

N. China - Day 8, Part 3 - Beijing: Niujie Mosque

"The truth that makes men free is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear." - Herbert Agar

***

N. China
Day 8 - 6th November - Beijing: Niujie Mosque
(Part 3)

As it was quite late (almost 3:30pm - during winter most places closed by 4:30pm or so) I headed towards the mosque, in Beijing's Muslim quarter. 牛街 mosque, the oldest mosque in China, was first built in 996.

I felt very retarded. To visit the Temple of Heaven, I had gotten off at 天坛东门
(Temple of Heaven East Gate) - and had then walked to the North Gate, when the East Gate was behind the station. I realised how near it was when I left for the mosque.

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Subway sign: "No vendors". The T-shirt is very cute.

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"who has seen this ad contributes to the environment"
Mere "awareness" is useless as it is, but this is even more ridiculous.

For a country that recklessly destroys the environment, China has great environmental ads:

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"请别让它们只留下名字. 购买=杀戮. 对象牙制品说“不”"
("Don't let their names be the only trace of them left. Buying = Massacring. Say 'no' to ivory products")
Even better, the picture of the elephant is composed of the Chinese characters for "elephant"

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Mysterious atmosphere: what do you think the PSI is?

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"Return of Famous Smokes, Famous Alcohol, Western Alcohol, plantworms/entomophyte"
Which of these items does not belong? To me it's plantworms/entomophyte. Because everything else degrades your health (then again, perhaps we'll discover that consuming plantworms/entomophyte will kill you - the first page of Google search results only lists Chinese-language sources).

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"Personal Business: Monday to Sunday. 9:00~18:30
Corporate Business: Monday to Friday. 9:00~12:00. 13:30-17:00"
Postal Savings Bank of China: Where You are more important than the interests of Big Business.
Who said the Little Guy was always screwed?

I tried to enter a Muslim school (北京市回民学校) to have a look (there were interesting sculptures in the carpark), but the security guard chased me out even though I told him I was only staying in the carpark. Maybe he was afraid I would blow up the place.

There was a stall selling Muslim food.

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Lamb eyes are on the menu.

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Arabic (I think) sign at eating establishment

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Mosque entrance. I thought it was closed, but it turns out the original facade is just not used as the entrance nowadays.

In the mosque there were many headscarved women asking for alms. And all of them had tubes up their noses (cannulae - like what you see on some patients in hospital wards who don't have the strength to clear their noses). This was puzzling; I know this was to evoke sympathy for them, but presumably there was a plausible medical reason ALL of them had it. Then again ALL of them had it, and it was unlikely they all had the same condition needing it...

Interestingly enough, I didn't find people asking for alms at religious sites elsewhere in China. Though this probably had something to do with entrance fees (entrance to the mosque was free for Muslims).


Guy with cannula up nose

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Plaque on the Niujie Mosque.

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“和谐社会 和谐清真寺建设 靠我 靠您 靠大家”
("A harmonious society. A harmonious Mosque building. Depends on me. Depneds on you. Depends on everybody")

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South Stele Pavilion

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Minaret

Notice that the Chinese Fire Protection Charms are present in the complex. I'm sure this counts as idolatry (the plant designs too - instead of calligraphy like elsewhere in the Islamic world). Also what struck me was how Chinese the architecture was. If not for the lack of proper idols you wouldn't know it was a mosque.

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Worship Hall plaque and discriminatory plaque. I suppose I should be happy that this does not apply the same rules as Mecca.

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Worship Hall

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Path

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North Lecture Hall

Of course women were herded into the Women's Hall:

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Mosque Stele, 1613.

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Shaykh Tombs - of Shaykhs who came in 1270

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The original grave steles

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Cock vehicle

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Moon observation tower

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Calligraphy

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Stone thingy.

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"No admittance if you wear shorts or skirts"

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Barrier wall protecting the mosque's ceremonial entrance

I then returned to the lamb eyes place.

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Muslim food window

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I asked for "一点点" (a little) lamb. This was 6¥, and wasn't bad.

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I was shocked to find the cheapest Kirin Milk Tea in the world (4.50¥ for 500ml - in Japan ~2.5 years before this it was maybe 150¥ for the same).

Why was it so cheap? Some clues were that it was "flavoured milk tea" (and yet low fat) and "pleasuring milk tea with rich taste of milk" - it had the *taste* of milk, but perhaps not real milk.

The answer? It was made in Shanghai, not Japan. And surprisingly there were a few katakana characters on the bottle (given how Yoshinoya is not Yoshinoya this was surprising). And yes, it wasn't quite as nice as the real thing (it was a bit less well-blended, but it was close).

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Lots of condoms in Watsons.


One disadvantage of travelling solo - you can't split taxi/pedicab fees. And in a country speaking a foreign language, it can be a comfort to have someone who speaks like you (and with a similar level of proficiency).
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