Tuesday, August 7, 2012

July 14 A

Early this morning we headed to Tienanmen Square and the Forbidden City (called such because the common guy was forbidden to enter there, they prefer "Imperial Palace," now.)

This was hanging in the van, this guy
was just everywhere
around there.

As we were entering Tienanmen Square, I got emotional. I remember watching the news reports in 1989, they made a big (negative) impact on me and I could not believe that I was about to enter the site.  In 1989, right after I graduated high school, China seemed to be an exotic far away place where the likes of someone like me would not be allowed to go. Today I was there.  (No one says A WORD about The Tienanmen Square Protests in China, in fact I didn't hear anything about it until we got to Hong Kong and on one of their newscasts they were discussing pushing for an educational system which valued free thinking about many things, for example, The Tienanmen Square Incident.  I knew then that Hong Kong really was a country within a country.)

Nancy warned us that, while people in Beijing, over the last 20 -30 years, have become accustomed to seeing foreigners, the people from the provinces have not- they may see a foreigner once a year. She warned us that since we were about to enter one of the largest tourist sites for the Chinese people, to prepare to be noticed. Sure, enough. We were like celebrities.  People often came up to us, "Take your picture?" and then they'd put their kids right up next to us and snap several.  More often than that, I'd notice that when we'd stop as a group to listen to Nancy that the people around us would take photos of us and they'd also do it nonchalantly as we walked by.

Little group of tourists.

My hubby, the foreigner.

Taking a picture of a picture being taken. :)

Tienanmen Square is HUGE, it can hold up to 1 million people when it’s full. That is just really hard to wrap my head around, even after I've been there.  Chairman Mao’s Tomb is there and people wait in line two or three hours to see his body.

This is near the queue for the line to see Mao's body, 
it's housed in a tomb within the square.
(And,that's not a billboard, that's a screen with moving images.)

This scene has become sorta the quintessential one for tourists in China, to me.
Large crowds with their umbrellas against the sun.

Tienanmen Square goes on forever, in fact there is a city street that runs through one side of it and we had to take an underground tunnel to continue our journey.  The Forbidden City is also super HUGE.  For some reason, when I've seen it in the media, I got the idea that it was just sorta one little section of beautiful buildings and that's it.  But, no. I had no idea how very very large it is. And very beautiful. We kept saying to Nancy, "So, we're there?"  She'd say, "No, this is where the _______ lived  (- soldiers, civic officials, eunuchs, etc.)"

Going through yet another big set of doors, 
it was considered good luck to touch all nine nails
 ( 9, the perfect number in China) in a row as you went through. 
Oh, and to continue your good luck, step over the thresholds, NOT on them.
Women should step over with their right foot first, men with their left.

They were working on part of the City (always working on part of it.)  
I got the biggest kick out of the bamboo scaffolding. 
Even in the middle of town, on the newest sky-scraper - bamboo scaffolding.
It makes sense, bamboo is VERY strong but it was just nifty to my mind.

Out of respect, we had to be at least six feet away from the soldiers to take photos. 

Ready for the Forbidden City? We're almost there..

No comments:

Post a Comment