I am hoping I can recapture the AWE of being in Beijing. I let this go WAY too long and am thankful I have my pictures to help rekindle this old brain.
Corey always wants me to “name” my pics…but I am hesitant to do that b/c I might lose the “order” of the day…Now is a day I am happy I left all in order…w/a little internet research…I am fairly confident I have the names of the places correct!
Our day dawned BEAUTIFUL yet windy. There was still a need for those lovely wind-breakers…the bane of EVERY picture…sigh, but we were glad to have them!
Doyle picked us up at 9, and our first order of business was to head to Tiananmen Square. Traffic was not too terrible, so we easily made our way through the streets.
I saw quite a contrast passing one neighborhood:
Our driver dropped us and we walked a little bit to get to the Square, it just made everything easier…but we didn’t mind b/c we got to see fun signs like these:
Of course they would have bike parking!! Read the 2nd sign carefully…why is it WE make English so darn hard?
First stop was the National Centre for the Performing Arts. This BEAUTIFUL building was added in the 1990’s to “finish” the Square.
We went inside, sad they did not have shirts or some type of souvenirs to buy. We made our way over to Tiananmen Square itself.
I do remember having chills being there. For me I think it even passed the Great Wall (which WAS pretty great..remember??) It was this moment I turned to Mary Ann and said “Can you believe we are here??”
And the obligatory “moving” shot from the car:
In the Square is also:
We did NOT go to Mao’s Mausoleum. The line that day was off the hook. Even our guide said he had never seen a line that long. So after pictures, we moved on.
First, we waited for the Soldiers to move on. It was decided pulling out The Terrible Towel would be a BAD decision here…just sayin’
Next, we went on a tour of a Hutong. Hutongs are alleys formed by lines of traditional courtyard residences.The word hutong is also used to refer to neighborhoods. These are mostly found in Beijing.
Our poor Rickshaw Driver was a real trooper. The wind was REALLY against us, and it’s not like Corey and I are the smallest people on the planet.
We rickshawed…then walked.
Here is me at the beginning of the neighborhood. Next is an entrance to one of the homes. The homes have separate areas…w/a common courtyard, and common kitchen. I didn’t’ take pictures in their homes…I still feel funny about that. I am sure we could have…but…
THIS young lady RAN up to us for a picture!
Well…since the soldiers were gone…
Next was lunch, courtesy of Doyle. It was a local place …down the street…down the ally…SO yummy!!!
At this point we were still working on Mary Ann using chop sticks. But a fork was found and brought to us!
After lunch it was off to The Forbidden City. The Forbidden City was the Imperial Palace from the Ming Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty. That is almost 500 years! It is right in the middle of Beijing (makes sense huh?)
I admit to going over to Wikipedia and checking out some history. There are over 980 buildings…It took 15 years and over a million workers to build.
It is Surrounded by walls! And Water.
It is truly an incredible place to visit with acres and acres of walkways and buildings (with 980 of them…the acres and acres part also makes sense!)
You can stand in some areas and just see rows and rows of rooftops.
There are of course beautiful collections that show how pottery changed over the 500 years. (Use of color, etc)
You can tell how important a person is by how many “protectors” are on their roof!
There were specific buildings and bed chambers for all. Even the Emperor’s courtesan.
The wind picked up tremendously as we were here. It made it hard to even move through the tunnels to the next area. We found out the next day that many people were hurt throughout the city by debris and trucks falling over (yikes)
After our day of touring, it was off to a traditional Roasted Duck dinner w/Doyle!
It was as advertised. YUMMY!
Sadly, this was Mair and Stew’s last night with us in Beijing. They were off on their cruise, but we would see them again in Hong Kong. Corey and I had one more fun filled day!