First stop of the day was to go to Tian'anmen Square and let me tell you it was crowded. It's name in English is The Gate of Heavenly Peace. Basically it's a super large concrete area with many communist buildings surrounding it, and one side that goes into the Forbidden City. It's a popular place for everyone to gather because it's cool in the summer. If you don't have AC you can go here and feel more comfortable. In the middle is the Monument to the People's Heroes, a granite tower made in 1958. It's a very communist monument, basically. Mao's mausoleum is also around here, and so is the Great Hall of the People (Chinese legislature) but we didn't go in any buildings. Just walked through the square and headed into the Forbidden City.
|Great Hall of the People|
|This building should be Zian Men, formerly part of a city gate, it is now a museum on the history of Beijing|
|China is so cool! I'm excited!|
|Qian Men again|
|A guard in front of the Monument to the People's Heroes. Couldn't get up close.|
|Monument to the People's Heroes|
|China National Museum|
|Entrance to the Forbidden City!|
|Monument to the People's Heroes|
|Here's the entrance to the Forbidden City|
Also a crowded place, the Forbidden City was an amazing sight to see. It's crazy to think that ancient Chinese emperors lived here- so much history! Everything was impressive and beautiful, except the huge picture of Mao slapped on the front gate (in my opinion). There's many gates within gates here so you'll see a lot of the same kind of buildings.
|Don't ask me to read this yet. I only get a few characters of it. :(|
|Some of the many aggressive vendors.|
|Soldiers drilling in the Forbidden City!|
|This is for the next picture- a famous sundial|
|This is the emperor's throne!!!!|
|This cauldron used to be all gold on the outside but when the Westerners (Europe?) invaded the Forbidden City they scraped it all off. These cauldrons are stationed all over the "city" to be used to put out fires. Ancient firemen!!!|
|This is a mama lion because she's playing with her baby. (I think it looks like she's crushing it)|
|A local, looking cool|
|This rock is supposed to super precious because it was found this way (with all the holes).|
|I love trees!|
|This tree was apparently special- it would give you something if you touch it... fertility? boys? It's fenced off now so no one can bother it.|
|These people were playing Chinese chess.|
|Here's the temple. The red and blue are symbolic. Red is an imperial color and blue is for heaven. Supposedly it was built only using wood, no nails!|
|These are tablets on the inside of the temple that represent the emperor's ancestors.|
|It started to sprinkle here. This marble platform was for sacrifices to take place. (Don't ask) It was built with accoustics in mind so if you stand in the very middle you can say something and it echoes really loud in your ear.|
Then came for the amazing Peking Duck Dinner! It was the best food I had all trip, and that says two things: 1. Peking duck is really good, and 2. food in China was not that satisfying.
|You put the duck and some green onions with a sauce inside a wrap and enjoy the tastiness!|
|I ate so much that night. I kept eating after I was full until I started to feel sick. It was that good!|
Next we saw a famous Kung Fu Show. It was interesting. The story was very Eastern so it was a little difficult for me to appreciate.
So My Review of Beijing:
* Vendors are really aggressive- they heckle you if you walk by, and if you look at their stuff they will make you buy something. The pressure is so bad! They even grab you.
* Too many foreigners- It takes away from the experience seeing so many tourists. You come to China to see Chinese people and experience a culture totally different from your own... not to hear English everywhere you go.
* Very crowded- Hard to take good pictures or even imagine what things would have been like in the Forbidden city back in the day
* Everything's too spread out- I guess I'm spoiled being used to getting places in 15-30 minutes and being able to walk to get food. Here it seemed like it took forever to get anywhere.
* Hard to get a taxi- No need for much else explanation
* Food too greasy, saucy. Too much bone, not enough meat...everything felt like an appetizer. Oh and by the way they serve rice last in China. That was a big shocker for the tour group.
More to come! Sorry it's taking so long! Took too many pictures I guess!