September 06, 2012

A Tour Through China: Beijing 3

A tour through Beijing of course would not be complete without a stop at Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. This was the only day that we had that was HUMID…it had started to rain a little bit in the morning and it was enough to wet the ground and make everything sticky for the rest of the day. But that did not stop us!

Again, we felt like we were walking in such a historical area. There are so many stories, both ancient and modern of Tiananmen and the Forbidden City. Some, but not all, have a happy ending. We thought there were cameras everywhere else. I could not even begin to describe how many cameras were around this area. There were poles every 10 feet or so and each pole was decorated with at least ten cameras! WOW! Not to mention all of the police in the area.

Look at all the cameras!

We followed the crowd from Tiananmen square into the first entrance to the Forbidden City. The smooth red walls were so high you had to crane your neck to see the top. The inner courtyard was massive and the pathways were lined with trees and the expanse was paved with bricks. That court yard opened into another courtyard that looked similar, and that one opened into ANOTHER court yard. YIKES I thought we must have seen it all by then, but NOPE, there was more! We bought tickets and went into the next court yard, followed by the next and the next and next. The place is HUGE.

We began to see that with each courtyard was decorated more elaborately than the one before. The brick court yards were surrounded by red walls and detailed ornaments in many colors. Each of the 8000 rooms around the Forbidden City were full of beautiful furniture, large hand paintings and silk cushions and drapes.

It was so great to walk through the halls and imagine what it must have looked like when it was full of Emperor’s people.

This guy just popped out of the pot...totally scared us!

After several hours of walking and hundreds of photos, we left the Forbidden City tired and hungry. We decided to attend the lunch at a famous Peking Duck restaurant—Whenever we travel Lady Hiva likes to try the food. One of the last foods we had to try was duck. We had done dumplings and noodles and other Chinese foods. (I LOVED the vegetables and vegetarian dumplings!) They brought out the menu and you could eat duck in a variety of ways. Although I would rather have vegetarian foods I wanted to try it with Lady Hiva. The room was beautiful. The chef would come out and filet your duck at your table and then you could eat. We only ordered half a duck because we did not think we could eat a whole one. I watched as the nice chef fileted our duck and I was ok until she was splitting the head open so we could have the brain. It did not cut the first time so she started hacking at it viciously…I had to turn away or I was not going to be able to eat any of it. HAHA…weak! I know.

In the evening we went to a traditional tea house at night for a Peking Opera show. Lady Hiva has wanted to see one since she was little. The Lao She Tea House was near Tiananmen Square and inside was completely traditional. We enjoyed sitting around a table with other families as if we had been friends the whole time. At first I was annoyed because the guy next to me was putting all his stuff in front of me and invading MY space. I think he could tell I was annoyed and moved some of it back. Later, as he noticed I needed a place to put my bag, he tapped me on the shoulder, moved his bag over and with a smile offered for me to put his next to his bag. What a good person and here I was annoyed. I sat corrected.

It was entertaining to see the Opera part, although Lady was disappointed because the show ended up showcasing several types of Chinese entertainment not just the Opera. It was fun, but just not what she expected. We went home to get ready for our high speed train ride to Shanghai in the morning.

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